Boost Your Vitamin C With These Foods!
Aside from regular healthy habits, a daily diet with the right nutrients is important in making sure that the body (and its internal processes) performs like a well-oiled machine. And when it comes to the immune system, vitamin C tops the list of nutrients that’s sure to support it. A boost of vitamin C for a boost of immunity? Make sure to have these foods on your regular plate.
Vitamin C and How it Boosts Immunity
Also known as “ascorbic acid”, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that’s tagged as “essential” for 2 big reasons. On one hand, it’s a vitamin that can only be sourced from plants and fortified foods. It cannot be produced and stored in the body, that’s why regular replenishment through diet is recommended. On the other hand, vitamin C is a key component in multiple bodily processes and systems including the nervous system, bone health, blood health and the immune system.
Well-known to boost immunity, vitamin C supports the body’s natural defense system in many ways including:
- Promoting the production of lymphocytes and phagocytes, or white blood cells that eradicate antigens or foreign bacteria in the body.
- Stimulating white blood cells to function effectively while protecting them from damage by free radicals
- Thanks to its role in collagen production, vitamin C also helps strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, keeping harmful bacteria out
Fact Check: Can Vitamin C Treat Colds?
Despite being a popular remedy, more studies are needed to prove whether vitamin C can treat the common cold. What has been observed is that regular doses can decrease the duration and severity of the symptoms.
Still, research shows that low levels of vitamin C is linked to an impaired immunity. Whether it prevents colds or not, a daily dose of vitamin C decreases the risk of infections especially if you are regularly exposed to immune-weakening factors such as excess stress and poor sleep.
Good Sources of Vitamin C
Oranges are not the only sources of vitamin C! For your daily fill of the nutrient, consider including these vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Lemons. It has been observed that lemon juice has antioxidant properties and helps manage blood pressure and blood sugar.
- Calamansi. Albeit small, this fruit is rich in vitamin C, which may help strengthen the immune system and fight viruses that can cause illness.
- Papayas. Vitamin C in papayas has been studied to help improve memory.
- Guavas. Grab a fruit from a nearby tree because guavas are also rich in lycopene.
- Strawberries. Rich in vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds, strawberries may help with brain and heart health.
- Pineapples. This fruit is rich in vitamin C, but may also provide some vitamin A, B vitamins, and other vital nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and beta-carotene.
- Parsley. The popular garnish is also rich in vitamin K and other antioxidants. Adding 2 tablespoons to your meal is said to deliver 11% of the daily value for vitamin C.
- Kale. Aside from vitamin C, kale is also rich in vitamin K and carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin).
- Broccoli. Research shows that a half cup of steamed broccoli may lower the risk of inflammatory diseases.
- Bell peppers. These brightly colored vegetables may deliver many health benefits as they are high in vitamin C, as well as vitamins A, B6, and E, folate, and fiber.
Don’t Forget to Take Your Vitamins!
It’s one thing to eat the right foods, it’s another to eat enough of the nutrients you need. And this is where supplements can help. Keep your immune system up and working at its best! Make sure to consult your doctor for a proper, regular dose of Vitamin C, recommended according to your overall health and needs.