Winter has come....and everyone seems to be fighting-off some sort of virus or flu! Bacteria, infections, coughing, flu's and colds all require a strong immune system. Let's look into how to build up our immune firewalls!
The foundation of the immune system is Vitmin-A, Vitamin-C , Vitamin-D and Zinc. We have already discussed Vitamin A in another post so please refer to it. In this post we will discuss Vitamin-C. Let's get started!
Humans are one of a few select species that have to eat foods with Vitamin-C since we cannot make it ourselves. When most people think of Vitamin-C, they think of colds. But it has so many more functions.
What does Vitamin-C do?
- It will prevent from scurvy. Scurvy is a disease that causes bleeding in the gums or bruises that appear out of nowhere. Most of the people going in long expeditions in the last century ended-up with scurvy. Beneath the surface, scurvy can cause bleeding in the internal organs. The reason for this weak collagen. Collagen is a major protein in our skin, joints, bones, and the membranes that enclose all of our organs. Vitamin-C helps to strengthen collagen.
- Vitamin-C and Immune Function. While the immune system is also producing all kind of oxidants to protect us from viruses and all sort of microbes which invade our bodies it requires Vitamin-C to protect itself in the proces. Vitamin-C deficiency results in impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections.
- Vitamin C as an Antioxidant. Vitamin-C is an "antioxidant" preventing damage. We are exposed to damaging molecules called "oxidants" all of the time, and they get worse when we are sick, have a chronic disease, smoke or drink alcohol. These oxidants cause little bits of damage as they go through our system. Vitamin-C helps neutralize the oxidants. Important to note is that it partners with iron/copper/B6 to get rid of histamine, which also makes us cold. It's especially important to clearing the histamine in the food we eat.
- Vitamin-C, is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It's involved in many body functions, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and bones.
How do we get enough Vitamin-C?
Get as much as possible! Although the RDA is 75 mg per day most people require way more than that.
Vitamin C is extremely stable in dry foods and powders, but degrades in the presence of heat. Vegetables lose 15% of their C when stir-fried, 30% when baked or boiled. The best way to protect Vitamin-C during cooking is to add a source of acidity, such as vinegar.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially raw, are the best sources.
- Organ meats and non-grain starches are good sources.
- Meat, fish, and especially shellfish, provide some, but not enough.
- Spices are a very good source. Use plenty of them on a daily basis. Great examples are fennel, ginger, dill, white pepper seed, coriander, basil, oregano etc.
The best Vitamin-C rich food are
- 100 grams of coriander, thyme, bell peppers give you 150mg.
- Kale, broccoli, kiwi, lemons, oranges, parsley and most liver provide around 100 mg.
- Strawberries, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi provide around 50mg.
Important : Sugar, grains, refined and processed foods hurt vitamin-C status, so it is a good practice to enjoy your salad alone.
Vitamin C is not stored in the body (excess amounts are excreted), so overdose is not a concern. If you can't hit 100-150 mg/d with food, you should supplement. There are at least a dozen forms of vitamin C on the market, but you can stick with plain ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C is crucial for getting rid of those winter colds. But it does so much more we need to incorporate Vitamin C rich foods into our daily eating habits. We need vitamin C for strong bones, robust immunity, resistance to illness and toxicity, healthy skin. Eat plenty of salads and don't forget to include organ meats in your weekly plan!