Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has a number of health benefits. It helps to fight against free-radicals thus prevent cell damage. It is required to keep body tissues and the immune system healthy. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron (non-heme) from the plant food sources.
Vitamin C is easily found in many fresh fruits and vegetables and green leafy vegetables such as all citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, lime, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, green chili, broccoli, kale, and spinach, etc.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN C IS ENOUGH?
According to ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C for Indian adult population is 40mg/day, but pregnant women need an extra 20mg/day (I.e total 60mg daily) whereas, breastfeeding women need an extra 4 mg (I.e total 80mg daily). People who smoke need an extra 35 mg/day above the recommended daily amount for your age. However, many research studies suggest taking a daily dose of 500mg vitamin C to achieve all the health benefits which also considered safe to consume.
Vitamin C is safe in almost any amount from foods as being a water-soluble nutrient, Vitamin C get not be stored in the body meaning excess amounts are excreted, therefore, overdose or toxicity is not a concern. However, it is still important not to exceed the safe upper limit of 2,000 mg/day to
avoid stomach upset and diarrhoea.
TOP FOOD SOURCES
As our body cannot make Vitamin C, therefore it must come from the foods we eat every day. Here are the top foods high in Vitamin C:
Vegetables: Red and Green Chili Peppers, Parsley, Thyme, Dark Green Leafy Vegetables including garden cress, kale, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, potatoes, green chilies, turnip greens, beet greens, mustard greens, collard greens, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc.
Fruits: Guava Blackberries, Strawberries, oranges, sweet lime, lemon, Papaya cherry, kiwi fruit, mango, grapefruit, cantaloupe, Pineapple, Raspberries, etc.
VITAMIN C LOSS DURING COOKING
Vitamin C is an extremely sensitive nutrient to heat, light, and air and can be easily destroyed during food preparation, cooking, or storage. Many common cooking methods, like boiling, can cause this water-soluble vitamin C to leach out of food. It means the water in which you boiled spinach or broccoli, which you poured down the drain, is way rich in Vitamin C than spinach or broccoli on your plate.
Boiling reduces vitamin C content more than any other cooking method as it can leach out of vegetables when they're immersed in hot water. Green vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and bell pepper may lose up to 50% or more of their vitamin C when boiled.
Research has shown that stir-frying can significantly reduce the amount of vitamin C in broccoli and red cabbage. Whereas, steaming broccoli, spinach, and lettuce reduces their vitamin C content by only 9–15%. Meanwhile, microwaving 20–30% of the vitamin C in green vegetables is lost during which is less than most cooking methods.
TIPS TO MAXIMIZE VITAMIN C RETENTION IN FOOD
Here are some tips to reduce the loss of Vitamin C:
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables that can be eaten in its raw form so that no vitamins are lost through cooking such as use it in salads, juices, smoothies or shakes, etc.
- Use pan-frying, roasting, and searing method as they do not involve water. Although the food may still lose some vitamins (due to heat exposure), but still is typically less than you would lose with a method that uses water.
- For better nutrient retention, it is advised to cooked foods as fast as possible with less heat and water.
- Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamin B and C. Scientists have found that steaming green vegetables reduces vitamin C content by only 9–15%.
- Try to eat any cooked vegetables within a day as their vitamin C content may continue to decline when it gets exposed to air.
- Don't use baking soda when cooking vegetables as vitamin C will be lost in the alkaline environment produced by baking soda.
LOOKING FOR A VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENT?
Although, the best sources of vitamin C are still fresh fruits and green vegetables. But it is just not practical for most individuals to eat the required servings of fruits and vegetables needed on a daily basis. On top of; water, air and heat contribute to the destruction of Vitamin C from cooked food, thus we cannot rely on the nutrition labels that only specify the nutrients content of the food in its raw form.
So if you are concerned that you are not getting adequate Vitamin C from foods, consider taking a once-daily multivitamin supplement including Vitamin C, which is safe, effective, and easy to do.
Few factors you can keep in mind before choosing a vitamin C or Multivitamin supplement:
- Look for a supplement derived from organic natural whole food sources.
- Choose one with ascorbic acid form, as it has a higher bioavailability rate means your body absorbs it easily and effectively.
- Additionally, choosing vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid along with multivitamins such as zinc, iron, B Vitamins will not only boost your vitamin C uptake but also your intake of other nutrients.
- To ensure getting an adequate amount of vitamin C from the supplement, look for a supplement that provides up to 500mg vitamin C per serving.
Consider Daily-Greens Effervescent tablets. It delivers complete wholefood nutrition including key vitamins (along with Vitamin C) and antioxidants in the most natural way. One effervescent tablets serve you 400mg of Vitamin C in Ascorbic acid form. Effervescent formula increase the bioavailability
of nutrients means it activates the nutrients so that it gets absorbed and utilised in body well.
Overall, it is probably best to add more raw and fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and not to rely on cooked vegetables to meet your Vitamin C requirement. While for better retention in cooked food, it is recommended to cook the vegetables at low heat with small amounts of water for short periods to minimize the loss of vitamin C. You may also consider taking a vitamin C or multivitamin supplement as it is a great, simple and convenient way to boost your vitamin C intake if you struggle to get enough from your diet.