A recent Health Pearl by Dr. Tran noted that Vitamin C can have one positive effect on the body that is related to heart disease. It can decrease endothelia-1, which can constrict blood vessels. The article mentioned that Vitamin C, like exercise, can decrease this level. Of note, however, is that Vitamin C itself has NOT been proven to decrease heart disease in long-term studies. So vitamin C INSTEAD of exercise? Not a good option.
Following this article, one of our readers asked about sources of vitamin C, and whether supplements and OJ were equivalent to taking pills.
In general, it is felt that the absorption and function of vitamins and minerals are best when consumed as ‘whole foods’ rather than in pill form. Food sources rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kiwi. The problem with orange juice is that it contains 110 calories and 22 grams of sugar per 8 ounce glass and doesn’t contain the fiber that the whole fruit does. The sugar content is the same as in a can of soda, so it’s really not recommended.
Below, I’ve included other information from www.eatright.org. Notice that there is no mention of taking vitamin C in supplement form.
“Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a water soluble vitamin well known for its role in supporting a healthy immune system. Because your body cannot make vitamin C, it must come from the foods you eat every day.
Research shows vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy cartilage, bones, teeth and skin. As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body to help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease, and promote healthy aging. Vitamin C also seems to reduce the progress of cartilage loss in those with osteoarthritis. Though it may not keep you from catching a cold, there is evidence that high doses of vitamin C may decrease the length of cold symptoms by as much as one to 1½ days for some people.
Sources of vitamin C are abundant and extend well beyond the ever popular orange or orange juice. Many fruits and vegetables supply this vital vitamin. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kiwi fruit, among others. You can enjoy these foods raw or cooked, but it’s important to note that fruits and vegetables lose vitamin C when heated or stored for long periods of time. To get the most nutrients, eat them as soon as possible after shopping and consider steaming or microwaving vegetables for short periods of time to limit nutrient loss.
Vegetarians may be especially interested to know that vitamin C helps the body to better absorb non-heme iron — the kind from plant-based sources such as beans, spinach and quinoa. To get this benefit, combine vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich plant foods in the same meal. For example, combine black beans and salsa or create a flavorful spinach salad with strawberries and mandarin oranges.”
Here are links to some recipes from our own website with ingredients that are rich in vitamin C. Others can be found on www.epicurious.com or other recipe websites by searching by ingredient.
Tags: vitamin C, endothelin, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes