Cold and flu season is here. In the U.S, cold and flu season stretches from December to May. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot, but there are also ways you can proactively keep your immune system healthy and strong.
Vitamin C is a wonderful vitamin and vital nutrient for your health. It helps form and maintain healthy bones, skin, and blood vessels. Also known as ascorbic acid, it occurs naturally in certain fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is considered an essential vitamin because humans don’t produce their own so to maintain adequate levels of it, you need to consume foods that contain it. Here are 5 strong reasons vitamin C rich foods should be in your pantry this Fall:
- Provide Immunity support. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which protects cells against oxidative damage. The recommended vitamin C dose per day for healthy women is 75 mg, 90 mg for men, 120 mg for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, 45 mg for children ages 9-13, and about 25 mg for kids ages 3-8.
- Improve cardiovascular health. Vitamin C may widen blood vessels and help protect against heart disease and hypertension. While researchers aren’t exactly sure how it reduces the risk of a stroke, it is believed that it might be due to the vitamin’s ability to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
- Fight against Anemia: Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron. By capturing non-heme iron and storing it in a form that is more easily absorbed by your body. One study showed that taking 100mg of vitamin C with a meal, increased iron absorption by as much as 67%. I am very anemic so I make sure my iron supplements always contain vitamin C.
- Helps in the battle with motion and travel sickness. Studies show patients who took 20 mg of vitamin C per day had reduced levels of motion sickness. Lemons which naturally contain high levels of vitamin C, also contain neutralizing acids that form bicarbonates to help relieve nausea. I suffer from vertigo and motion sickness often, so I carry our Motion Sickness lollipops with me whenever I travel.
- Brighter skin. Those skin creams you find at Sephora don’t just contain vitamin C because it sounds good! Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen formation. Not only can it help even out skin tone and help with lines and wrinkles, but research has shown it can shield skin from impacts of environmental stressors including free radical damage. A 2018 study of participants who took vitamin C orally showed improvement in skin health in just a few weeks.
- So now that we know the benefits of vitamin C, we can add a supplement to our diet, right? Not always, besides there are so many great-tasting whole food sources of vitamin C, that it shouldn’t be hard to sneak it into you and your family’s diet. Some great food sources of vitamin
- Guava (1medium): 165 mg
- Strawberries (1 cup): 98 mg
- Cantaloupe (1⁄4 medium): 95 mg
- Papaya (1 Medium): 95 mg
- Kale (1 cup): 80 mg
- Orange juice (3/4cup): 60 mg
- Broccoli (1⁄2 cup): 50 mg
- Pineapple (1 slice): 40 mg
- Mango (medium): 30 mg
- Lemon: 30 mg
For a fun and delicious snack treat packed with rich antioxidant and immunity-boosting power, I make my kids this smoothie a few times a week (for a dairy-free option substitute milk with orange juice).
- 1/4th of a cup of fresh or frozen mangoes
- 1/4th of a cup of fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1/4th of a cup of fresh or frozen pineapples
- 1/4th of a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (for added fiber)
- 1⁄2 cup of coconut water
- 2/3rd of a cup of milk (or 1 stony brook probiotic smoothie)
Mix all ingredients in a blender, until smooth, serve and enjoy. This recipe contains over 130 milligrams of vitamin C, as well as calcium, fiber and vitamin A.
There are many reasons why fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C should be stocked in your pantry this Fall. As we approach the heart of flu season, help build you and your family’s defenses by using this powerful essential vitamin and keeping it in your kitchen toolbox year-round.