By Karen Appold
Everyone knows that when you have a cold, you should take vitamin C. That’s because it fights viruses, bacteria and infection. It will also act as an antihistamine, relieving aches, inflammation and runny nose.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has many other uses. In addition to aiding your immune system, it helps to maintain healthy teeth, bones and cartilage, as well as grow and repair tissues. It also helps to form the protein that your body uses to make blood vessels, skin, tendons and ligaments.
A powerful antioxidant
As an antioxidant, vitamin C gets rid of free radicals in your body. Free radicals can cause cell damage that medical experts suspect may lead to atherosclerosis, which can cause heart disease, stroke and many types of cancer, as well as osteoarthritis and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
Ascorbic acid has been proven to lower blood pressure, which lowers your chance of getting hypertension. It also enables proper dilation of blood vessels. Both of these functions reduce your risk of heart disease.
Maintaining good eyesight
Vitamin C plays in an integral role in proper eye function. It works by helping to produce collagen in the cornea. Low levels can cause cataracts, which make your vision blurry. By increasing the amount of blood flow to the eye, vitamin C helps to prevent cataracts. Vitamin C also aids in preventing macular degeneration, which causes a loss of vision.
Lowering lead levels
Ascorbic acid plays a role in lowering the level of lead in your blood. High lead levels can cause high blood pressure and kidney damage in adults. In children, it contributes to developmental and behavioral disorders.
Getting your Cs
Vitamin C is contained in all fruits and vegetables. Fruits with the highest amounts of vitamin C include cantaloupe, cranberries, kiwi, lemons, mango, oranges, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon.
Vegetables with the highest levels of vitamin C include asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, green peppers, leafy greens, red peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and winter squash.
Your body is unable to store vitamin C, so it’s important that you eat lots of foods containing it every day. Cooking and freezing fruits and vegetables can deplete their levels of vitamin C. Eating raw fruits and vegetables is the best way to get the most vitamin C.