Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for health. Although most animals can make vitamin C from scratch, humans have lost the ability and must get it from food, chiefly fresh fruits and vegetables. Recent research studies are showing many health benefits for vitamin C.
Some of the top sources of vitamin C foods are strawberries, tomatoes, cherries, guavas, parsley, bell peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and white potatoes.
Vitamin C helps maintain blood vessels, strengthens bones and teeth, heals wounds, fights infections, and supports heart and eye health. Vitamin C is a key player in the production of collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body and is a component of muscle, joints, bone, skin, hair and nails.
The daily value (DV) of vitamin C is 60 milligrams. Daily values are developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help people determine how much they should take of vitamins and minerals. However, Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, famous for his work with high levels of vitamin C for disease, suggests higher levels.
According to a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, recent scientific evidence indicates an increased intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and cataract, probably through antioxidant mechanisms.
An antioxidant is a nutrient that counteracts the harmful effects of oxygen in the body. An unhealthful diet, as well as the normal processes of digestion and metabolism, can produce excess oxygen which contributes to aging and disease. The key antioxidants are vitamin C and vitamin E.
A Scandinavian researcher conducted a review of 21 studies that tested between 1 and 8 grams (1,000 to 8,000 milligrams) of Vitamin C for the common cold. He concluded that “in each of the twenty-one studies, Vitamin C reduced the duration of the cold and the severity of the symptoms by an average of 23%. Even much lower amounts of vitamin C such as 100 milligrams have been found to be beneficial.
Cataracts are an eye condition where the clarity is reduced in the lens, resulting in blurred vision. Research was recently published in an eye health journal which found that high daily intakes of fruit and vegetables provided greater blood levels of vitamins C and E and decreased the frequency of cataract and cataract surgery.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, two observational studies discovered that vitamin C from the diet is associated with better skin appearance, with significant decreases in skin wrinkling. In addition, using topical applications of vitamin C in a skin cream for several months has been shown to increase the production of collagen in skin, reduce signs of skin roughness and reduce wrinkling.
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