Scurvy Be Gone – Vitamin-C-Licious

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I have beef. With vitamin C supplements. For example, these Emergen-C pouches with clever and cute ads.

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These supplements, made by Pfizer, contain vitamin C megadoses (a whopping 1000 mg per day – which is well over your recommended need, as you will see below) as well as other vitamins and minerals. It’s basically a pouch of aspartic acid, maltodextrin, fructose, vitamins and minerals, in dried up form. Niet good! You need only add water and voilà, you have yourself a chemical cocktail. “Kapow time!”, they say.

I have beef with the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is taking a beneficial compound naturally found in fruits and vegetables (vitamin C) and capitalizing on it. Heck, you get enough vitamin C from eating 1 orange or 1/2 cup of red or yellow pepper a day – and how hard can that be? The thing is, utilizing this pouch of vitamin C does not even come close to eating an orange, as the orange has not only vitamin C, but also fiber, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, etc. Within an actual orange, all compounds act synergistically to promote human health. In fact, it is believed that many of the beneficial compounds in fruits and vegetables have not even yet been identified. Therefore, it is safe to say that when you isolate one mere compound (vitamin C), the beneficial and synergistic effects may not be experienced.

Mother Nature has a master plan, which is to package everything us humans need into delicious and brightly coloured foods. Not rocket science. Let’s not toy too much with nature here, people.

Vitamin C is indeed a very special vitamin. It is special not because its mama told it so, but because it is necessary for growth and repair of bones, teeth, skin and other tissues. In fact, vitamin C partakes in the synthesis of collagen, one of skin’s structural proteins giving it its wonderful elasticity. It is the degradation of collagen that leads to wrinkles and other skin issues. Vitamin C has other tricks up its sleeve though, it also helps absorb iron from your digestive tract, when both are simultaneously present and it keeps our immune systems healthy. I think I like this vitamin.

Vitamin C is needed on a daily basis. To be exact:

For adult women: 75 mg per day

For adult men: 90 mg per day

N.B. If you smoke, your body needs an additional 35 mg per day.

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Top sources of vitamin C include:

1) Guava: 1 fruit = 206 mg

2) Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green): 1/2 cup = 100-144 mg

3) Kiwifruit: 1 fruit = 94 mg

4) Papaya: 1/2 fruit = 84 mg

5) 1 orange: 1 fruit = 60-80 mg

6) Kale: 1 cup = 56 mg

7) Broccoli: 1/2 cup = 54 mg

8) Raw red cabbage: 1 cup = 54 mg

9) Strawberries: 1/2 cup = 52 mg

10) Grapefruit: 1/2 fruit = 40-45 mg

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To add a little vitamin C zing to your day, just eat some strawberries. Or an orange. Or a grapefruit. But try to not rely on artificial packets of vitamin C powder. Pa-Tow!!!

Ciao ciao for now!

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