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Vitamin C Food Sources for Immune System Health
- Vitamin C s best known for its antioxidant properties, its anti-aging effect and the positive effect it can have on the immune system health, particularly in fighting viruses.
- The best vitamin C food sources are fresh fruits, vegetables, and even some herbs. Parsley, broccoli, oranges, bell pepper, oranges, lemons, strawberries, papaya, kale, cauliflower, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts are all good sources.
Vitamin C is undoubtedly one of the best known vitamins, and its many benefits are often written about in the popular press and fitness journals. It is best known for its antioxidant properties, its anti-aging effect and the positive effect it can have on the immune system health, particularly in fighting viruses. Vitamin C is a water-soluble and therefore tends to be excreted quickly from the body, especially when it is in surplus. It is critical to many bodily functions and has many beneficial properties. Almost all mammals can produce the vitamin at the cellular level, however, human beings are an exception.
Vitamin C plays a largely protective role within the human body. The potential benefits of taking vitamin C were explored in the 1700’s. It was found to help prevent scurvy, which was common among sailors because they went on lengthy voyages (both in time and distance) and were eventually deprived of fresh produce as food stores ran out. The British Royal Navy discovered that fresh limes were a good source of vitamin C. As a result, British sailors became known as “limeys”, and the beneficial effects of vitamin C became known as the “antiscorbutic factor”.
Further research revealed that vitamin C has more extensive benefits than protecting against the effects of scurvy. The ingestion of vitamin C has also been shown to protect against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, joint diseases and cataracts. All these conditions can result from a deficiency in vitamin C. Vitamin C is also known as an antioxidant. Antioxidants work by scavenging particles in the body called free radicals. Medical research has shown that free radicals damage genetic material and cell proteins and can leave cells vulnerable to cancer. The aging process has also been connected to the presence of free radicals as well as a variety of conditions and illnesses. Antioxidant enzymes like the ones found in vitamin C can assist in neutralizing free radicals. By doing so, they might prevent some of the damage and associated problems they can cause, and slow the aging process.
The requirement for vitamin C varies greatly between individuals depending, among other factors, on physical characteristics and level of activity . A person’s age and health can also have an important effect on an individual’s vitamin C requirement.
Although there are many good sources of vitamin C, the vitamin content in foods varies greatly. As a general rule, fruits and vegetables that are not ripe have a much lower vitamin C content than those that are ripe. However, during the ripening process, the vitamin C content peaks and then it begins to reduce as the fruit or vegetable gets older. It is also true that vitamin C content reduces as the time between harvest and eating increases. The best vitamin C food sources are fresh fruits, vegetables, and even some herbs. Parsley, broccoli, oranges, bell pepper, oranges, lemons, strawberries, papaya, kale, cauliflower, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts are all good sources.
Vitamin C is very sensitive substance, and vitamin content can be effected by air temperature and water. Processing methods, such as freezing, cooking and canning can all have a detrimental effect on vitamin C content. Raw fresh fruit and vegetables are the best way to maximize vitamin C intake, whilst steaming as a method of cooking preserves more vitamin C than boiling where soluble vitamin C can be lost in the water.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Immune System Health18 Dec 2008|