Revisiting Vitamins: Vitamin C

A while back, we talked about vitamins briefly.  We helped you understand what they were and how our body uses them.  If you need a refresher, just check out that post here.

Today we’re talking about Vitamin C.  You probably hear it mentioned everywhere, whether it’s being advertised in a beverage, in a cough drop, or in certain foods.  So what is it, exactly?  And why is it important?

Vitamin-C-food arrangement

Vitamin C is a necessary player in a lot of our body’s functions, and its other name is “ascorbic acid.”

The word “acid” might make some people initially wary of something, but this is a good acid for us as humans.  It’s a good part of our immune system, as it is stored in our immune cells, and our bodies start to use it immediately once we’re sick.  This is why you probably see some cough drops or powdered fruit drinks advertising their Vitamin C content.  It is an important factor in wound healing.  So you might be thinking just how much Vitamin C we need, and how to make sure we don’t overdo it.  Well, there’s some good news!  It is very difficult to have “too much” Vitamin C.  Whatever excess Vitamin C we have in our bodies is flushed out regularly in our urine.  Remember when we talked about some vitamins being water-soluble and some being fat-soluble?  Vitamin C is water-soluble, so we go through it much more quickly and it cannot be stored as long as a fat-soluble vitamin (like Vitamin A, for example).

So how much do we need at least?  Most of our diets will actually take care of Vitamin C without us making a conscious effort to do so.  However, if you want to be sure that Vitamin C is in your diet, a large orange covers your bases each day.  Similarly, a cup of strawberries, broccoli, or red pepper will do the same.  Now remember, this doesn’t mean just sitting down and eating a cup of chopped red pepper.  Incorporating some of these ingredients into a salad or a cooked dish is a great way of getting that Vitamin in a convenient manner.

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