Vitamin C found in citrus fruits and green vegetables helps increase the body’s immunity, which in turn helps keep unwanted cold and flu at bay. Let’s take a look at the different benefits this vitamin furnishes to our bodies.
The health benefits of vitamin C have been known for centuries. It is known to boost the body’s immunity, increase gum health, and also prevent premature aging. Let us find out more about the health benefits of vitamin C found in fruits like lime, oranges, etc. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water soluble vitamin needed by the body on a regular basis. Before getting into its health benefits, let us take a quick look at the mandatory dietary intake of vitamin C in the body.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C
Source: Food and Nutrition Board (The Institute of Medicine)
|Children (0 – 6 months)
|Children (7 – 10 months)
|Children (1 – 3 years)
|Children (4 – 8 years)
|Children (9 -13 years)
|Women (above 19 years)
|Men (above 19 years)
According to the source mentioned above, women who are pregnant or lactating should take a daily dose of 100 to 135 mg of vitamin C, similarly habitual smokers also need a dosage of around 100 to 135 mg/day.
Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Citrus fruits have antioxidant properties that destroy free radicals formed as a result of cell metabolism, that would otherwise damage the cells of the body. A slice of apple would normally turn brown when exposed to air due to oxidation, however, a slice of apple dipped in lemon juice takes longer to brown. This is because the lemon juice slows down the rate of oxidation. In the same manner, adequate intake of vitamin C-rich foods will help combat premature aging and various illnesses attributed to free radical damage.
Vitamin C cannot cure common cold, however, it certainly helps reduce the risk of developing colds and conditions like lung infections, pneumonia, etc. Consuming oranges, lemons in fruit or juice form can help strengthen the body and prevent attack from seasonal colds.
Helps Boost the Immune System
White blood cells are the defenders of our body, that fight against infections like bacterial invasions, etc. However, these cells require high levels of vitamin C to do their job, which is why it is important to consume adequate amounts of it. A vitamin C deficiency can result in a weak body, that is susceptible to infections and illnesses.
Treatment of Infections
Vitamin C assists in the treatment of the respiratory system like asthma, chest colds, bronchitis, etc. It also helps the mucous membrane in the lungs to dry during times of infection. It is also known to treat urinary tract infections.
Formation of Collagen
Collagen is a long, fibrous, structural protein in the body, whose primary role is tissue development. Its abnormal functioning can result in several medical conditions like muscular pain, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation of blood vessels, gout, aging, rheumatoid fever, etc. All these conditions can be prevented if the collagen has the ability to regenerate quickly. By consuming large amounts of vitamin C as required by the body (not overdose!), one can help collagen regenerate quickly and keep all these conditions at bay. It also slows down skin aging.
Scurvy is a gum condition caused due to a vitamin C deficiency in the body. Besides bleeding gums and bleeding mucus membranes, this deficiency also results in spots on the legs. Acute scurvy is deleterious as it can lead to loss of teeth and infection of wounds. Thus, vitamin C helps maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Since vitamin C is not produced by the body, it needs to be provided from external sources from time to time. Vitamin C is available in sources like oranges, lemons, gooseberry, papaya, grapefruit, cabbage, broccoli, etc. However, since the vitamin gets washed out while cooking and storage, eat them fresh to avail their benefits. If your body lacks adequate amounts of vitamin C, then take supplements to bridge the gap.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.