Since childhood, vitamin C has become a mandatory part of a person’s daily diet. Almost everyone has heard about the miraculous properties of this substance, which can defeat a cold, get rid of unpleasant symptoms of the beginning flu, “spur” the immune system and return vigor and excellent health. That is why all kinds of citrus and other natural sources of ascorbic acid are so popular in the autumn and spring season.
However, you should think about full-fledged fortification of the body not only in the demi-season, when the risk of catching a virus is much higher: the functions of vitamin C are not limited to maintaining the immune system — this substance plays an important role in ensuring normal biological processes that are responsible for full-fledged life activity. This is why a healthy diet enriched with ascorbic acid is important at any time of the year.
What is needed and where is vitamin C contained
The importance of vitamin C was estimated by scientists and physicians long before its discovery. Despite the fact that ascorbic acid was first isolated only in 1928, since the middle of the XIX century, there was an unspoken credo among seafarers and travelers-daily use of oranges and citrus juice. Even without knowing which foods contain vitamin C, they intuitively filled the body’s needs. It was thanks to this diet that they were able to defeat scurvy — an extremely dangerous disease that could lead to death. Later, this observation received scientific justification: in 1932, there were studies confirming the effectiveness of vitamin C against scurvy. And although this disease has almost sunk into oblivion, ascorbic acid still bears the name of an anti-scurvy vitamin.
From the time of discovery to the present day, many scientific studies have been devoted to the properties of ascorbic acid. It would seem that scientists have long decided what vitamin C is and what it is eaten with, but until now, research has confirmed more and more useful properties of this substance. It is regularly used not only in medicine, but also in the beauty industry, because the functions of such a familiar and familiar ascorbic acid are truly limitless.
Vitamin C itself, in its pure form, is a complex organic compound. In appearance, it does not differ much from the familiar pharmacy form, released in the form of a white powder with a sweet and sour taste. However, natural ascorbic acid is much more useful, because it is easily and painlessly absorbed, without causing allergies, hypervitaminosis and other “accompanying” symptoms inherent in pharmacological therapy. In addition, knowing what is needed and where vitamin C is contained, it will not be difficult to competently make a full menu and provide the body with all the necessary substances.
Anti-scurvy vitamin refers to water-soluble substances. It practically does not accumulate in the body, so the intake of ascorbic acid with the diet should be regular and sufficient. However, this property has a downside: hypervitaminosis C is quite rare — in most cases, the excess vitamin is excreted naturally. The exception is taking a medicinal form of vitamin — in this case, regular use of high doses is fraught with unpleasant consequences.
Ascorbic acid is not highly resistant to external factors, easily breaking down at high temperatures and long-term storage, especially under open sunlight. That is why the raw food diet is considered the most enriched in vitamin C — if the wrong heat treatment, even the most fortified product can turn into useless “ballast”. Also, a decrease in the concentration of this vitamin is observed when incorrectly defrosting pre-frozen plant products. In this case, slow thawing is much worse than shock: it is better to put frozen cubes with vegetables in boiling water for a few seconds — so the loss of vitamins will be minimal. Following these simple rules, you can avoid a lack of vitamin C, painlessly survive the lack of seasonal sources of ascorbic acid, maintain the ideal vitamin status and provide the body with everything necessary for normal functioning.
Functions of vitamin C
- The most famous is the property of the anti-scurvy vitamin to support the immune system. It strengthens the body’s protective reserves, strengthens the immune response, and helps resist disease-causing viruses and bacteria. In addition, vitamin C reduces the risk of complications in already developed colds, relieves symptoms of inflammatory reactions and is a mandatory participant in recovery therapy.
- Ascorbic acid is one of the most famous and powerful antioxidants that exist in nature. The substance effectively removes free radicals formed in the body, thereby maintaining its youth and productivity. It is due to this property that vitamin C is actively used in the field of beauty — natural cosmetics with ascorbic acid rejuvenates the skin, making it smoother and tighter. However, with a properly formulated diet, additional intake of the substance through the skin is not necessary — its appearance will be on top.
- Foods with vitamin C, which are present on the table every day, have a beneficial effect on the state of the nervous system. This vitamin therapy helps the body better cope with stress, withstand high psychological loads and resist depression.
- Full-fledged energy exchange is also impossible without ascorbic acid. This substance is involved in the formation of carnitine, which, in turn, has a positive effect on normal metabolism. Due to this property, it is believed that vitamin C contributes to weight loss. This is partly true, because with normal metabolism, excess weight gradually decreases. However, this does not mean that you should exceed the daily norm of vitamin C in the hope of speeding up the weight loss process — this approach will lead to serious health problems and in no way help to get rid of unnecessary pounds. Simply put your diet in order, enriching it with natural sources of ascorbic acid — and the problem will gradually be solved by itself.
- Anti-scurvy vitamin indirectly participates in the processes of hematopoiesis. Without it, normal iron absorption is impossible, which means that hemoglobin is maintained at the proper level. If there is a lack of vitamin C, the vessels become fragile, so the risk of hemorrhage increases several times.
The essential functions of vitamin C do not end there, because this list is almost inexhaustible. This substance accelerates the elimination of toxic compounds of heavy metals, normalizes endocrine function, prevents the formation of cholesterol vascular plaques, and increases the ability to absorb other vitamins. To date, studies have been successfully conducted linking vitamin C with the prevention of cancer of the digestive and genitourinary systems. Therefore, plant products that are the source of this useful substance are simply required to be present on the table every day in sufficient quantity!
What causes a lack of vitamin C
Hypovitaminosis C is quite common, especially in childhood. The main reason for this fact is poor nutrition, insufficient consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. In this case, adjusting the menu is quite capable of solving the problem. However, there are cases when the lack of ascorbic acid in the body is endogenous. This means that the substance received in sufficient quantity can not be fully absorbed. In this form of hypovitaminosis, you should contact a specialist as soon as possible to find out the causes of the disease and successfully eliminate them.
It is quite easy to recognize a lack of vitamin C — already in the initial stages, this condition manifests many symptoms:
- frequent respiratory viral infections that occur with a high temperature and subsequent complications;
- increased sensitivity and bleeding of the oral mucosa, deterioration of the teeth up to their complete loss;
- reduced vision;
- the appearance of bruises and bruises for no apparent reason, varicose veins and the formation of vascular stars;
- long-term wound healing, ulceration and hypersensitivity of the skin;
- constant unmotivated fatigue, insomnia, irritability, loss of strength, and other symptoms of depression;
- the appearance of excess weight even with a normal balanced diet;
- reduction of skin tone and flabbiness, appearance of facial wrinkles that do not correspond to age;
- painful sensations in the joint area, especially under load.
If you have at least a few of these signs, you should definitely review your menu, making a choice in favor of fortified dishes. Knowing which foods contain vitamin C, you can easily make up for a temporary deficiency and prevent deterioration. However, you should not delay: just two or three months without ascorbic acid will lead to the development of beriberi, accompanied by much more serious symptoms.
Is hypervitaminosis C possible and what is it dangerous for
Theoretically, hypervitaminosis C can not be excluded — although its natural consumption can not cause this condition, uncontrolled use of pharmaceuticals is sometimes accompanied by symptoms characteristic of excessive ascorbic acid content in the body. These include:
- gastrointestinal disorders: nausea, heartburn, vomiting, loose stools, spastic pain;
- frequent headache;
- sleep disturbance;
- formation of kidney stones.
In order not to encounter such manifestations of hypervitaminosis, it is enough to remember that moderation is important in everything, and even the most useful substance turns into poison in large quantities.
Information about what vitamin C is and what it is eaten with is extremely important for everyone who wants to maintain and increase their health, to remain an energetic and active person throughout life. Lack of vitamin C, as well as its overabundance, can cause many violations of vital functions in the body, cause dangerous symptoms and eventually lead to serious diseases, and some of them are irreversible. That is why it is necessary to carefully plan your diet, including fortified seasonal fruits and vegetables, and in their absence-try to fill the deficit with frozen foods and herbal infusions with vitamin C.