Vitamin C is a micronutrient and water soluble vitamin that gets a lot of buzz during the fall/winter (aka flu season) for helping our bodies fight off colds. It’s true, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that does help our bodies fight off getting sick – but it does so much more!
Functions of Vitamin C
- Vitamin C is a cofactor in the reaction that makes a structural protein called collagen. Collagen is abundant in connective tissue (like skin). There’s a lot of skincare products on the market that have vitamin C as a main ingredient – research is looking at how vitamin C might help repair damage from UV light, but more studies need to be done. Hello healthy skin!
- Vitamin C supplements can shorten the duration of common colds if eaten/taken regularly
- Vitamin C helps recycle other antioxidants like vitamin E
- Did you learn about scurvy in grade school? Poor wound healing and gum health…Eating oranges and lemons was used to treat scurvy in the British navy.
- Wound healing – Vitamin C is involved in the healing of wounds and can speed up recovery time. Eating foods high in vitamin C is something I talked about with patients in my rotations as a dietetic intern for post-surgical healing.
Sources of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in a variety of foods – not just the citrus fruits many people typically think of. Here are some of the foods highest in vitamin C to add into your diet:
- Red peppers
- Brussel sprouts
How much vitamin C do you need?
The RDA for men is 90 mg/day and 75 mg/day for women. 1 cup of strawberries is equivalent to 85 mg. It’s always best to get your nutrients from food sources over supplements (when possible). It’s a good idea to work with a medical provider if considering starting a new supplement.