I have a big presentation next week on Vitamin C in my Advanced MicroNutrient class. I figured since I was doing so much research regarding this essential nutrient, I thought I would share some of my information!
Vitamin C is abundant in many fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, kiwi, guava, red & yellow peppers, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, brussels sprouts, and grapefruit. There are plenty more fruits and vegetables that contain good amounts of Vitamin C but these are excellent sources. The average adult needs about 75-90 mg/day. And let me tell you…that is a VERY easy amount to consume in a day. A 1/2 cup of red peppers provides you with 142 mg of Vitamin C – that’s more than the Recommended Daily Allowance. But not to worry. If you are consuming whole food products with high levels of Vitamin C, you won’t reach toxic levels in your body due to the water-soluble characteristics of the vitamin. That means you are more or less going to pee out the Vitamin C that you don’t absorb. Your body is an incredible regulator of such nutrients and will get rid of what it doesn’t need or what it has too much of. So if you eat 5 oranges in a day, your body is going to use and absorb the necessary amount of Vitamin C and then excrete the rest.
It’s important to know that most of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) in vegetables is destroyed in the cooking process. I mentioned that Vitamin C is water-soluble therefore it is easily oxidized by heat (destroyed) and is normally extracted and then discarded after cooking. And boiling is the worst cooking method for vegetables, especially broccoli, because we normally use a lot of water to boil and then leave the broccoli in the water for too long, ultimately eating a vegetable without the nutrients we were striving for in the first place.
Here are some tips for preserving the Ascorbic Acid in your fruits and veggies!
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible
- If you are going to cook your vegetables, microwave steaming in a small amount of water is your best option. If you boil, add very little water and only keep your vegetables in there for a few minutes.
- Store fruits and veggies in an airtight container in your fridge.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables sometimes contain more nutrients than fresh produce. They are often flash-frozen at the source of harvest, sealing in all the important nutrients which are sometime lost in the transportation process of fresh produce.
I also did a lot of research on using Vitamin C as a method to cure the common cold. Everything that I found said it’s a bunch of hogwash. Sure, increase your fruit and vegetable consumption during the cold and flu season because Vitamin C will help boost your immunity. But don’t waste your money on Vitamin C supplements at the onset of a cold. It has more of a placebo effect than anything. Just consume 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies per day and drink lots of water! :)
Now go eat some Vitamin C!!!