This winter everyone is talking about having enough vitamin C or taking vitamin C tabs when you have a cold. Vitamin C tends to be the go-to cure when you’re experiencing the sniffles, but did you know that vitamin C does more than just protect your immunity? Today I’m dishing on vitamin C benefits.
Being the health nerd that I am, I’m rounding up the research and sources to fill you in on how this important vitamin helps your skin, your mood and more.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, meaning that it is not stored in the body. Since water soluble vitamins are eliminated via our urine, we have to make sure we replace them daily. B vitamins are also considered water soluble which is why when we take vitamin B supplements, our pee can become extra bright (just being real here) . When we take water soluble vitamins and there is excess in our system, it just passes through us. SO long story short, we should include foods that contain vitamin C and B’s on the daily. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for Vit C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women FYI (source: .
Also important to note – it’s very rare that someone has a severe vitamin C deficiency, which usually results in scurvy (which is generally rare.) Regardless, by just knowing which foods contain vitamin C and adding them to your daily intake, will go a long way in knowing you’re getting enough. Because the more you know about the wonderful benefits of food, the better you feel about yourself when you eat healthy.
Vitamin C Benefits
- Keeps our nervous system healthy & helps us cope with stress – Some sources state that vitamin C helps us repair nerve damage, and keeps our central nervous system (which consists of our brain and spine) healthy. Vitamin C is found in large amounts in our brain and assists our production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which affects our mood. It also protects our brain from oxidative stress which could lead to memory issues as we age.
- Accelerates wound healing – Vitamin C does so by helping out the growth of connective tissues (especially collagen – more on that in the next paragraph). When we experience an injury or go through surgery, our vitamin C levels drop which means we may need extra sources of it to bring levels back to normal and to help the healing process.
- Helps us produce collagen – Ever wonder why there are so many vitamin C serums in the beauty world? That’s because vitamin C helps us keep a youthful appearance from the inside out (and topically as well). It helps us with collagen synthesis meaning that it is a vitamin that helps us produce more of this protein that keeps wrinkles at bay and gives us a glowing appearance. When applied topically as a serum or beauty product, it protects our skin from environmental damage in the form of free radicals. So keep this in mind as one of your beauty staples.
- Helps us better absorb iron – Iron is a mineral for da ladiesssss. When it’s around that time of the month (shark week, as I like to call it), we can fall short on iron which leads us to feel especially sleepy. A quick little cool fact about vitamin C is that it helps us better absorb iron into our system. So when you’re preparing meals right before your shark week, try these food combos: spinach, beet and feta cheese salad; quinoa salad with fresh lemon juice; or a warmed kale and lentil salad.
Foods high in vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy Greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Red Peppers
And to make this article just a bit more “actionable” – I’m throwing in a quick and easy sweet potato fries recipe so that you can get that vitamin C in your system in a damn delicious way.
Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 sweet potato
- pinch of Himalayan pink salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil if you must- but I like baking with coconut oil since it has a higher smoke point)
- pinch of chili pepper and additional seasonings of choice
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Cut the sweet potato in half and then cut it into additional thin slices vertically, to make potato “wedges”. Toss them with olive oil or coconut oil (make sure the coconut oil is melted). Mix your spices of choice together in a small bowl and toss with the wedges, then spread the wedges out on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crisp and slightly brown on the bottom. Turn over the wedges and cook for another 10-12 minutes until crisp.