Although required in small quantities like other vitamins, vitamin C is indispensable for proper functioning of the body.

You all must have studied during your school days that deficiency of vitamin C is related to skin problems, which is true. But recent and ongoing studies on the role of vitamin C in maintaining good health gives us more reasons why we should include sources of Vitamin C in our diet. Here’s why you need to eat vitamin C rich foods this winter.

How much vitamin C should you consume?

The daily recommendation of vitamin C is different for all age groups (Adult men: 90 mg, Adult women: 75 mg, children between 9-13 years: 45 mg). You can obtain vitamin C from several sources like oranges, chilly peppers, papaya, strawberries, cauliflower, pineapple etc. One medium sized orange contains about 75 mg of vitamin C. Bigger ones contain as high as 100 mg of vitamin C. Here are 10 natural sources of vitamin C

1. Helps treat common cold symptoms: The role of vitamin C in preventing cold has always been controversial. Although there is no evidence that vitamin C can prevent cold, several studies have shown that vitamin C can reduce the severity of cold symptoms and the duration of cold. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine and therefore helps in controlling allergies by reducing the levels of histamine.

2. Natural cure for skin problems: Since olden times, vitamin C has been used to treat a lot of skin-related problems. Today, vitamin C is used in a lot of moisturizers, face packs and masks for rendering natural glow to the skin. Vitamin C is helpful in reducing wrinkles and preventing sagging skin by improving the elasticity of. It also helps to protect the skin from harmful UV rays of the sun. Here are some tips to prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.

3. Helps heal wounds: Vitamin C is an essential factor required for the production of collagen, a protein present in connective tissues of the body (skin, tendons, muscles, ligaments etc). Therefore, vitamin C is especially helpful in healing wounds of all types. From minor cuts to deep wounds, broken bones and burns, vitamin C speeds up the healing process and helps you to recover faster.

4. Protects against ill effects of stress: It is official that vitamin C has an important role to play in protecting the brain and nervous system from the harmful effects of stress. This is because sufficient levels of vitamin C are required for the synthesis of stress hormones like adrenaline and nor-adrenaline, which play a role in fight-or-flight mechanism of combating stress.

5. Helps lower cholesterol: Vitamin C plays a crucial role in reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood. It is basically boosts the conversion of cholesterol to bile salts which can be easily eliminated from the body. Here is how you can reduce cholesterol levels naturally.

6. Improves blood flow: Most of the damage caused to the blood vessels during a heart attack is because the blood vessels do not dilate, obstructing the blood flow. Chest pain or angina is also caused by the inability of coronary arteries (arteries that carry blood to the heart) to dilate. Studies have found that even small doses of vitamin C can help in improving dilation of blood vessels in people suffering from angina pectoris, congestive heart failure and high blood pressure.

7. Lowers the risk of heart diseases and stroke: Vitamin C has an excellent antioxidant property. It scavenges free radicals that can cause damage to the wall of arteries and increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Plus, it also lowers cholesterol and improves blood flow, which also helps to prevent heart diseases.

8. Regulates sugar levels in diabetics: Although diabetics have a lot of food restrictions to follow, they can surely benefit from foods containing vitamin C. It regulates blood sugar levels and also protects against the complications of diabetes.

9. Helps cancer treatment: A study had suggested that high-dose of vitamin C can enhance the cancer-killing effect of drugs used in chemotherapy for cancer patients. Vitamin C has also been found to be target specific unlike other drugs which can harm normal cells as well. Researchers believe that vitamin C can be a safe and cost-effective treatment for ovarian, lung and some other cancers.

10. May reduce the development of neurological disorders: A German study found that the blood levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene are were extremely low in patients having with mild dementia. This suggests that boosting vitamin C levels may help in reducing the progression of dementia and other neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

11. Helps reduce breathlessness: A study from University of Helsinki, Finland suggested that vitamin C substantially reduces bronchoconstriction, narrowing of airways, caused by rigorous physical activity and exercise. Brochoconstriction can cause symptoms such as cough, wheezing and the shortness of breath.

12. Improves asthma symptoms: People having chronic asthma can benefit a lot from vitamin C. Vitamin C, being an antioxidant and antihistamine, improves the function of lungs and airways. It is found that vitamin C doses of 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day may reduce the production of histamines, which contributes to inflammation in asthmatic people.

13. Helps reducing arthritis symptoms: Arthritis is caused by the collapse of cellular processes that help in the production, maintenance and repair of cartilaginous tissues. Physical stress on the cartilage can cause destruction of collagen and can also interfere in its production. Since vitamin C is required for collagen production it helps to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling of joints in people with arthritis. It also helps in maintaining healthy joints and keeping them flexible.

14. Reduces risk of cataracts: Vitamin C plays a role in improving vision but it also prevents the development of cataracts (clouding of eye lens) that causes blindness in older people. This is because your eye lens needs high amount of vitamin C to eliminate all the free radicals that generate due to direct exposure to sunlight.

15. May help treat tuberculosis: One of the recent studies published in Nature communications found that vitamin C can kill the bacteria causing tuberculosis. Although the antibacterial potential of vitamin C is still to be tested in humans but the findings were striking and worth exploring.

The daily recommendation of vitamin C is different for all age groups (Adult men: 90 mg, Adult women: 75 mg, children between 9-13 years: 45 mg). You can obtain vitamin C from several sources like oranges, chilly peppers, papaya, strawberries, cauliflower, pineapple etc. One medium sized orange contains about 75 mg of vitamin C. Bigger ones contain as high as 100 mg of vitamin C.

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