Lifestyle: The Health Benefits Of Vitamin C, Food Sources And Its Benefits In Fighting COVID-19

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Sliced oranges. Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient found in different fruits and vegetables. It contributes to several biochemical processes that support the immune system and its function.  Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant that neutralises free radicals, preventing cellular damage which leads to premature ageing. Check out anti-ageing foods you should include in your diet.

Although Vitamin C deficiency is not common, it can occur due to under nutrition or a poor diet. In the same way, this essential nutrient tends to be used up very fast especially, after an infection. This can lead to a weak immune system, leaving an individual vulnerable and at the risk of infections. The list below provides the best natural sources of vitamin C.

Food sources rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C is water-soluble meaning it is passed out through urine. This also means you cannot over consume vitamin C by eating foods rich in this vitamin since only 18% of it gets absorbed in the body. Nonetheless, you can optimise the levels of vitamin C in your body by eating the following different fruits and vegetables. 

Fruits 

Check out the 6 reasons to include apples in your diet 

A variety of fruits and vegetables. Image from Photo by Trang Doan from Pexels

Vegetables 

  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Tomato and tomato juice
  • Spinach, kale and turnip greens
  • Chilli peppers – both green and red
  • Cruciferous vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts
  • Bell peppers (yellow)
  • White and sweet potatoes.

Benefits of Vitamin C

  1. Immune boosting

Vitamin C plays a major role in building the immune system. It encourages the production of white blood cells, such as lymphocytes, which attack harmful bacteria and protect the body against infections. It’s antioxidant properties decrease inflammation improving the health of your immune system and preventing diseases such as arthritis, cancer and heart disease. This is an important benefit of taking Vitamin C rich foods to increase your immunity and fight off the Covid 19 virus.

Lifestyle: 6 Immune Boosting Foods You Should Eat More

2. Collagen production and wound healing

Vitamin C has a great impact on the process of wound healing. It boosts collagen production, prevents skin wrinkling and stabilizes this collagen for the repair of damaged skin. As such, vitamin C helps the skin serve as a barrier, preventing the invasion of harmful compounds into the body.

Check out: How to restore collagen in your skin naturally.

3. Promotes fast healing of the common cold

Although vitamin C cannot prevent you from getting the flu or treat a common cold, it has great anti-inflammatory properties that help you lessen the severity of symptoms and the duration of the cold. This is very helpful when you have Covid 19. Read on to find out how to treat a common cold at home

4. Lowers high blood pressure

Vitamin C is water-soluble and hence it promotes diuresis. This is the increase in the amount of water and salt expelled from the body, through urine.  This process relaxes the blood vessels, lowering the blood pressure and curbing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Nonetheless, even though effective, vitamin C shouldn’t be taken as the sole treatment for high blood pressure.

What You Need To Know About Hypertension And High Blood Pressure

5. Improves iron absorption

Vitamins C improves the absorption of iron, especially for those following a plant-based diet. Since vegetarians don’t eat meat which is the main source of iron, 100 mg of vitamin C supplements can increase the absorption of iron by 67%, improving overall blood iron levels. This lessens the risk of deficiency diseases such as anaemia and manages this condition for people who already have it.

6. Reduces the risk of dementia

As we age the brain tends to show signs of impaired thinking and low memory. This condition is referred to as dementia and it is attributed to inflammation and oxidative stress along with the central nervous system – among other reasons. Vitamin C being an antioxidant decreases oxidative damage, protecting the thinking and memory ability. 

7. Protects the skin against ageing

Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which block and reverse the damage caused by free radicals. Both dietary and topical treatments using vitamin C promote collagen synthesis preventing and treating photo-damage which leads to ageing.

Check out anti-ageing foods you should include in your diet.

Vitamin C and COVID-19

In China, high doses of vitamin C have been used to decrease lung inflammation a common adverse effect of COVID-19. The outcome is improved lung function, which may help keep hospitalized people with COVID-19, off mechanical ventilation and life support. 

However, no evidence yet supports vitamin C as a treatment for COVID-19. It may enhance the treatment outcome (as it does on a common cold) but vitamin C is yet to become a standard treatment plan for the coronavirus. 

Research papers have suggested that vitamin C may help treat inflammation and symptoms associated with COVID-19 with at  least one clinical trial testing this underway but the study ends in  September 2020. A 2018 study compared people with severe pneumonia who received a vitamin C, thiamine, and hydrocortisone infusion with those who did not. The study authors found that the vitamin C group had better outcomes. Specifically, they were less likely to die and had better improvements in their lung scans. Medical News.

If you chose to take oral vitamin C supplements, get counsel from a doctor as high dosages could lead to an upset stomach, nausea or diarrhoea. According to Healthline, the maximum dosage should not exceed 2000 mg in a day.

Also check out the benefits of Lifestyle: The Health Benefits Of Zinc, Food Sources And Its Benefits In Fighting COVID-19

Here are more foods you should eat to boost your immunity

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