With the cold season well and truly upon us (well some of us anyway) we thought we'd take a look at that essential supplement to help fight off the sniffles.
What does it do?
It's a staple at this time of year because it's best known property is it's ability to strengthen the immune system and fight infection. However, did you know that it's also an antioxidant removing pollutants from our systems and helping to protext against cardiac disease and even cancer. Vitamin C also makes collagen which helps to keep bones and joints firm and strong. Not only that, but helps convert food into enegery and helps with the release of anti stress hormones (something we could all do with a bit of on the run up to Christmas!)
What happens if we don't get enough?
Common signs of Vitamin C deficiency include regular colds and frequent infections, a loss of energy, bleeding gums, easy bruising, nose bleeds and slow wound healing.
So how much is enough?
The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is 60mg per day, but most people recognise now that the RDAs, created many decades ago, are significantly flawed, so aim instead for the ODA (Optimum Daily Allowance) of 2000mg.
That's not to say that you should supplement 2000mg per day. You need to look first at what you get in your daily diet and then supplement the difference. There is no harm either in increasing one's daily intake by up to 50% in the event of a cold or infection. While you can't really overdose on Vitamin C if you start having loose bowel movements you may need to cut back a bit!
How can we get it in our daily diet?
Lots of foods contain Vitamin C but some of the best sources include peppers, watercress, cabbage, broccolli, tomatoes, caluiflower, strawberries, lemons, kiwi fruit, oranges, grapefruit, limes, peas and melons; in that order. Now how many of you were surprised to see oranges so far down the list? In actual fact, peppers have twice as much Vit C in them as our citrus friends.
You should avoid smoking, alchohol, pollution, stress and fried food all of which needlessly use up Vitamin C. You may want to consider upping your intake if you find yourself with any of these 'vices' or under stress.