person preparing a cheeseboard with oranges and lemons

All you need to know about Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is one of our most important vitamins. But what role does it play in our overall health and wellbeing?

What are the benefits?

Vitamin C protects cells and keeps them healthy, helps to maintain healthy skin, blood vessels and bones, improves iron absorption, develops collagen and regenerates vitamin E supplies. It also synthesises carnitine, which plays an important role in your body producing energy.

Health benefits of include:

  • Potential reduced risk of chronic disease or heart disease
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Prevents iron deficiency
  • Boosts immunity
  • Helps protect your memory and cognition

What are the symptoms of deficiency?

There are many different deficiency symptoms. These include:

  • Bruising
  • Achy joints
  • Gum infections
  • Lethargy
  • Poor cognitive function
  • Tissue swelling
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dry eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Joint pain
  • Anaemia
  • Poor wound healing
  • Bone fragility
  • Scurvy

This happens because, without enough vitamin C, we cannot make enough collagen and this is required for the structure and function of skin, bones, blood vessels and gums. We are also not able to make enough neurotransmitters for optimal brain functionality either.

How can I get enough vitamin C?

Our bodies can’t produce vitamin C so it must be absorbed from the food and drink we consume.

According to the NHS, all adults aged 19-64 need around 40mg per day.  Whilst a well-balanced diet can usually provide all your vitamin C needs, supplementation may be beneficial for some individuals.

Do keep in mind that taking large amounts of vitamin C (over 1,000 mg per day) can have adverse effects such as stomach pain, so monitor the impact of any supplements carefully.

The best sources of vitamin C

It’s a predictable answer but eating a variety of fruit and veg should give you the levels of vitamin C you need.

Some of the best sources include:

  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Citrus fruits
  • Blackcurrants
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Cauliflower

Easy ways to incorporate vitamin C into your diet

We all know the five a day rule, but many experts suggest our fruit and vegetable intake should be much higher.

Sitting down for an evening meal with eight different servings of veg doesn’t sound practical, does it? Instead, try sneaking in lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers into your lunchtime sandwich or swap crisps for raw vegetable sticks with hummus.

Another great way to incorporate fruit and vegetables is to add fresh or dried fruit into recipes such as muffins or pancakes or sprinkled on top of your morning cereal. Or why not make a healthy smoothie to kick-start your day?

Swapping water for fruit juice can be a high-calorie option due to high levels of natural sugar. Though orange juice would provide a good source of vitamin C, a glass of vegetable juice would be a good low-calorie option.

How can I encourage my employees to improve their vitamin intake?

Offering free fruit to your employees is a great way to encourage your team to lead healthy lifestyles. Instead of tucking in to chocolate biscuits, they’ll be more likely to grab a more nutritious snack.

Educate your employees on the importance of consuming the right levels of vitamins. Knowledge is power, after all! The We Are Wellbeing team are able to deliver informative seminars on a number of topics, including nutrition. Get in touch to see how we can help!

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