Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that keeps your body function smoothly. A deficiency in Vitamin C can lead you to several health issues, such as gingivitis, impaired immunity, and easy bruising.
Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is present in many foods and vegetables. It is a water-soluble vitamin that behaves as an antioxidant. It lowers the risk of inflammation and neutralizes the free radicals.
Your body needs this vitamin to produce compounds like neurotransmitters and L-carnitine, an amino acid that helps with the energy levels. Moreover, it is vital to maintaining the skin health and immune function.
Vitamin C is also essential for connective tissue, collagen synthesis, bones, small blood vessels, and teeth. Its deficiency can cause many health issues, given the vitality of its functions.
Another thing you need to know about Vitamin C is your body cannot produce it on its own neither can it store it. Thus, you need to take it in sufficient amounts on a daily basis to keep your body function properly.
Foods to help you keep away from Vitamin C deficiency
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C 90 mg. By taking the right kind of foods, you can easily steer clear of vitamin C deficiency. We have compiled a list of ten vitamin-C-rich-foods for you. You can easily add these foods to your diet and fulfill your vitamin C requirement.
Native to Mexico and South America, this pink-fleshed tropical fruit can help you avoid deficiency in vitamin C. One guava contains 126 mg, 140 percent daily value (DV) of the said vitamin. Furthermore, it is rich in the antioxidant lycopene.
In a six-week study considering 45 young adults, researchers found that eating 4000 grams of peeled guava per day could lower the blood pressure and total cholesterol levels of healthy people.
All you have to do is eat one guava, as it gives you sufficient amounts of this vitamin. Eat it, and you may no longer have to go for vitamin C therapy to get fresh, youthful skin.
Moreover, you will undoubtedly receive a boost in your immune system.
2. Chili Peppers
If you are a fan of spicy food, it is good news for you. You can enjoy the food of your liking while keeping your vitamin C up to the required amount.
Single green chili pepper has 109 mg of vitamin C, which becomes 121 percent of the DV. As for the red chili pepper, it can give you 65mg or 72 percent of the DV of this vitamin.
Not only this but also the chili peppers are filled in capsaicin – a compound that is the essence of these peppers and is known for reducing pain and inflammation.
Furthermore, evidence has it that around one tablespoon (10 grams) of red chili powder can help increase fat burning.
So, it is time to go for Mexican food, as it is mostly filled with chili peppers. It can help you with consuming more vitamin C.
3. Sweet Yellow Peppers
Not only that they render your food more interesting and colorful, but they also provide you with vitamin C. Bell, or sweet peppers tend to increase their vitamin C content when they mature.
Only 72 grams of yellow peppers can provide 137 mg of vitamin C or 152 percent of the DV. It is twice the amount that green peppers contain.
Consuming sweet peppers can also be beneficial for your eye health. It may help protect against cataract progression.
Vitamin C can do the same for you. According to one study of 300 women, the higher Vitamin C intake reduces the risk of cataract progression by 33 percent as compared to those who take low intakes.
Oranges having vitamin C has become sort of a cliché now. You may have seen oranges in the advertisements for vitamin C.
This must give you an impression that oranges may contain extravagant amounts of the vitamin under question.
While oranges do contain reasonable amounts of vitamin C, they are not just as good as that present in the foods mentioned above.
Oranges are one of the most widely eaten fruits. A single medium-sized orange contains 70 mg of vitamin C or 78 percent of the DV.
Apart from the oranges, other citrus fruits can also help you with your vitamin C requirements. In fact, a mandarin contains 24 mg or 39 percent of the DV. Moreover, half a grapefruit provides 44 mg, or 73 percent of the DV and juice of one lime has 13 mg or 22 percent of the DV.
Thyme contains three times more vitamin C than oranges. It is one of the culinary herbs having the highest concentration of the said vitamin. In fact, 28 grams of fresh thyme contains 45 mg of vitamin C or 50 percent of the DV.
You can get 3.5-7 mg of vitamin C by adding only 3-6 grams, which is 1-2 tablespoons, to your diet. It not only takes care of your vitamin C needs but also improves your immunity and helps fight infections.
Thyme is also known to help in sore throats and respiratory condition. Consuming thyme can help to make antibodies, clear infected cells, and destroy bacteria and viruses.
Blackcurrants may have been called ‘the forbidden fruits’ in the past, but not they are called the factory of the vitamins. They are not only good in desserts and cookies, but also have benefits for your health.
56 grams (which becomes about one-half cup) of blackcurrants provide 101 mg of vitamin C or 112 percent of the recommended DV. Moreover, they contain anthocyanins, the antioxidant flavonoids, which are also responsible for the fruit’s rich, dark color.
Many studies have indicated that diets containing high amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C and anthocyanins can decrease oxidative damage pertaining to chronic diseases like cancer, heart diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.
A garnish for many and spice for others, parsley can also help you fulfill your vitamin C requirements. Eight grams (two tablespoons) of fresh parsley provide 10 mg of vitamin C, which makes it 11 percent of the DV.
Just like other leafy greens, it is a great source of plant-based, non-heme iron. You may know that vitamin C helps with the absorption of the non-heme iron. That is widely used for the prevention and treatment of iron-deficiency anemia.
In a two-month study, people following a vegetarian diet were given 500 mg of vitamin C two times a day with their meals. In the end, the iron levels of those individuals had risen by 17 percent. Moreover, their ferritin (the stored form of iron) and hemoglobin had increased by 12 and 8 percent, respectively.
Another leafy green that comes with a lot of health benefits. It is a cruciferous vegetable, which when chopped raw, gives 80 mg of vitamin, i.e., 89 percent of the recommended DV. It also provides significant amounts of vitamin K and the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein.
As for the cooked kale, it gives 53 mg, which becomes 59 percent of the DV. According to one study, steaming or boiling leafy greens releases more of their antioxidants, whereas cooking provides fewer antioxidants and also reduces the vitamin C content of leafy greens.
Therefore, consuming raw vegetable instead of boiled or steamed kale is going to be more beneficial to you. However, boiling or steaming it can provide more antioxidants. Notably, these potential antioxidants released from boiling or steaming can reduce chronic inflammatory diseases.
9. Mustard Spinach
A cup of raw chopped mustard spinach gives 195 mg of vitamin C, which becomes 217 percent of the recommended DV.
As mentioned earlier, cooking the vegetable will lower the amount of vitamin C in it. Cooked mustard will give 117 mg of vitamin C or 130 percent of the DV in the cooked form.
Furthermore, along with the other leafy greens, mustard spinach is also filled with vitamin A, fiber, manganese, calcium, folate, and potassium.
One lychee gives around 7 mg of vitamin C, which makes 7.5 percent of the DV. Moreover, one cup of lychee provides 151 percent of the DV.
This fruit is known to contain ample vitamin C and is believed to play a role in collagen synthesis. However, studies specifically focused on lychees are unavailable.
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
It is also important to know the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency. Knowing these will enable you to take timely action.
A deficiency in vitamin C can cause many conditions that are a telltale sign you need foods rich in this vitamin and also the related supplements.
Here are the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency you should look out for.
1. Damaged, Dry Skin
There is a reason the majority of the skincare products contain vitamin C. That is because a large amount of vitamin C is found in healthy skin, especially in the epidermis.
Many experts also recommend Vitamin C therapy for damaged skin.
Vitamin C protects your skin from sun-related oxidative damage and effects arising out of exposure to pollutants like the ozone or cigarette smoke.
Furthermore, it makes your skin look youthful and plump. According to one study, lower intake of Vitamin C can increase the risk of developing dry, wrinkled skin by 10 percent. Thus, if your skin is becoming dry and damaged, it may be due to vitamin C deficiency.
2. Easy Bruising
As mentioned earlier, Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production. And collagen production keeps the blood vessels strong and protects the artery from rupture.
You might be aware that bruising happens when blood vessels rupture. If you bruise easy, it can be a sign that your body does not have enough vitamin C for collagen production and ultimately for strong blood vessels.
3. Slow Healing
If there is not enough vitamin C in your body, the rate of collagen formation slows down. This slowed process causes the wounds to heal more slowly.
According to research, people having chronic, non-healing leg ulcers tend to be more likely to have vitamin C deficiency than those having no chronic leg ulcers.
Moreover, in severe cases of vitamin C deficiency, old wounds can even reopen, resulting in increased risk of infection. However, slow healing is relatively advanced sign of vitamin C deficiency. It is usually not seen before a person has been deficient for months.
4. Swollen Joints
Joints have collagen-rich connective tissue. Therefore, vitamin C deficiency takes a toll on them too. Evidence has it that many reported cases of joint pain were linked to vitamin C deficiency. What is more is that the pain was usually so severe that it caused difficulty walking and even limping.
Vitamin C deficiency can even cause bleeding within the joints, which causes swelling and additional pain. If you have such symptoms secondary to vitamin C deficiency, you may resolve them within a week by consuming vitamin C supplements and foods rich in this vitamin.
5. Tooth loss and Gum Bleeding
Bleeding, red, swollen gums may be a sign of vitamin C deficiency. Gum tissues start weakening and get inflamed due to insufficient vitamin C. It causes the blood vessels to bleed more easily.
In advanced stages of vitamin C deficiency, gums tend to become purple and rotten. Ultimately, teeth start falling out because of unhealthy gums and weak supportive structure around teeth.
You must have heard that food proves to be the best treatment sometimes. Be it taking certain food items or abstaining from consuming some, the entire notion is about preventing disease via diet. You may deem it old school, but even research and evidence support the idea.
The main idea behind all this is that food provides the necessary nutrition to your body. When you are not taking the right kind of diet, your body develops different types of deficiencies. That goes without saying that when you take the right food, you can eliminate or even prevent these deficiencies. Same goes for Vitamin C deficiency.