Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that keeps your body functioning smoothly. A deficiency in Vitamin C can lead 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 energy levels. Moreover, it is vital to maintaining 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 that your body cannot produce it on its own or store it. Thus, taking it in sufficient amounts daily would be best to keep your body functioning correctly.
Foods to help you keep away from Vitamin C deficiency
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg. You can easily avoid vitamin C deficiency by taking the right foods. 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 daily could lower healthy people’s blood pressure and total cholesterol levels.
All you have to do is eat one guava, which gives you sufficient amounts of this vitamin. Eat it; you may no longer need vitamin C therapy to get fresh, youthful skin.
Moreover, you will undoubtedly receive a boost in your immune system.
2. Chili Peppers
It is good news for you if you like spicy food. 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 shows that around one tablespoon (10 grams) of red chili powder can help increase fat burning.
So, it is time to go for Mexican food, which is mainly filled with chili peppers. It can help you with consuming more vitamin C.
3. Sweet Yellow Peppers
They make your food more exciting and colorful and provide vitamin C. Bell or sweet peppers 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, a higher Vitamin C intake reduces the risk of cataract progression by 33 percent 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 the impression that oranges may contain extravagant amounts of the vitamin.
While oranges contain reasonable amounts of vitamin C, they are not just as good as those in the foods mentioned above.
Oranges are one of the most widely eaten fruits. A medium-sized orange contains 70 mg of vitamin C, 78 percent of the DV.
Apart from the oranges, other citrus fruits can also help you with your vitamin C requirements. Mandarin contains 24 mg or 39 percent of the DV. Moreover, half a grapefruit provides 44 mg, or 73 percent of the DV, and the juice of one lime has 13 mg, or 22 percent.
Thyme contains three times more vitamin C than oranges. It is one of the culinary herbs with the highest vitamin concentration. 28 grams of fresh thyme includes 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, 1-2 tablespoons, to your diet. It takes care of your vitamin C needs, improves immunity, and helps fight infections.
Thyme is also known to help in sore throats and respiratory conditions. 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 now they are called the factory of vitamins. They are good in desserts and cookies and benefit your health.
56 grams (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 in 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.
Like other leafy greens, it is a great plant-based, non-heme iron source. You may know that vitamin C helps with the absorption of 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 twice daily 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 that gives 80 mg of vitamin, i.e., 89 percent of the recommended DV when chopped raw. 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 antioxidants, whereas cooking provides fewer antioxidants and reduces leafy greens’ vitamin C content.
Therefore, consuming raw vegetables instead of boiled or steamed kale will be more beneficial to you. However, boiling or steaming it can provide more antioxidants. 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, 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 filled with vitamin A, fiber, manganese, calcium, folate, and potassium.
One lychee gives around 7 mg of vitamin C, 7.5 percent of the DV. Moreover, one cup of lychee provides 151 percent of the DV.
This fruit contains ample vitamin C and is believed to play a role in collagen synthesis. However, studies focused explicitly on lychees are unavailable.
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Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency
It is also essential 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 related supplements.
Here are the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency you should look out for.
1. Damaged, Dry Skin
There is a reason most skin care products contain vitamin C. 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 from exposure to pollutants like the ozone or cigarette smoke.
Furthermore, it makes your skin look youthful and plump. According to one study, a lower Vitamin C intake can increase the risk of developing dry, wrinkled skin by 10 percent. Thus, if your skin becomes 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 easily, 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 an increased risk of infection. However, slow healing is a 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. Moreover, the pain was usually so severe that it caused difficulty walking and even limping.
Vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding within the joints, which causes swelling and additional pain. If you have 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 indicate 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 the 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 structures around teeth.
You must have heard that food proves to be the best treatment sometimes. Whether taking certain food items or abstaining from consuming some, the 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. The same goes for Vitamin C deficiency.