We’re all pretty familiar with the use of vitamin C for the common cold, but there are a lot of other interesting things about this powerful vitamin that you might not know yet.
Vitamin C is indispensable for normal, healthy functioning of the human body. It’s an ‘essential nutrient’ – which means we need to eat it regularly in our diet because we are not able to make it for ourselves or store it in our bodies.
Here are 5 other things that you may not know about vitamin C:
1. Oranges ARE NOT the best source of Vitamin C
When you think of vitamin C, you think of oranges – right? Well, it appears we’ve all been deceived! Despite the often repeated ‘fact’, it turns out that oranges aren’t the best source of vitamin C!
But don’t write them off altogether; they are a GOOD source. A medium sized orange (approximately 100g) will give you 53mg of vitamin C, but there are other fruits that contain more. Kiwifruits are higher (about 110mg per 100g), as are strawberries (100g contains 40–90mg), and a guava contains 243mg of vitamin C.
Did you also know that vegetables are a also a great source of vitamin C? There are even some that contain more vitamin C than some fruits, such as red capsicum with 152mg of vitamin C per 100g. Other good options are green capsicums (63mg per ½ cup), raw Kale (120–180mg in 100g), cooked broccoli (54mg per ½ cup) and Brussels sprouts ( four sprouts containing 52mg).
2. Eat your vitamin C-rich foods raw
To get the most vitamin C it’s best to eat these foods raw if you can, as many cooking methods can decrease the vitamin C content.
Boiling is the worst culprit as the water can extract vitamin C from foods. Try quick heating methods like stir frying or blanching instead.
3. Vitamin C for healthier looking skin
Vitamin C is important for skin health. It’s integral for the production of collagen and elastin – two of the main fibres, known as connective tissue, found in skin.
Why is this important? These fibres give your skin its ability to stretch and contract and help to keep the skin supple.
One women’s study showed that those who consumed lower amounts of vitamin C in their diet had more wrinkles and had drier skin.
4. Stress support
Vitamin C is found in almost all of your cells and tissues, but your body stores the highest amount of vitamin C in your adrenal glands.
When you are under stress the adrenal glands release hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline to help you adapt and cope.
A little bit of stress is normal, but when the stress is ongoing or intense your body may have difficulty adapting. When this happens your adrenal glands may increase the amount of the hormones it releases, especially cortisol. Long term, excess cortisol can have undesirable effects on your body and mood.
Evidence suggests vitamin C can help support the adrenal glands and thus support your body’s response to stress. Vitamin C may also help to decrease high cortisol levels.
5. Vitamin C may help you burn fat
Vitamin C is needed for the body to make carnitine – which transports fatty acids into cells to be used as a source of energy in a process known as fat oxidation.
People with adequate vitamin C in their system have been seen to oxidise up to 30% more fat during moderate exercise than those with low vitamin C levels. Researchers think that a low vitamin C level in the body might make people less able to oxidise body fat.
Charmaine Sofia: Naturopath at Blackmores
Charmaine has a Bachelor of Health Science (Complementary Medicine), Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy, Diploma of Nutrition, Certificate of Weight Loss Nutrition and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Nutritional Medicine (Mental Health). Her special interests are helping patients with fertility, weight loss, mental health conditions and stress.
The Blackmores naturopaths have been providing health and lifestyle advice for over 25 years. The team are highly qualified healthcare professionals who collectively have a wealth of knowledge and practical experience supporting health and wellness.