Benefits & Side Effects Of A Vitamin C Rich Diet

The benefits of Vitamin C range from helping improve mental health and skin health to delaying signs of aging. All foods rich in Vitamin C are naturally anti-oxidant rich. Know more about the uses, benefits, and side-effects of vitamin C in this article.

Coinciding with common belief, it can be quite correctly stated that Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that we should care about. Vitamin C has proven to have various health benefits, as well as benefits for the skin and hair. Discovered in 1912, vitamin C is considered to be one of the safest and the most effective medicinal nutrients that are required by your system. Vitamin C is a water-soluble essential vitamin and cannot be produced by the body. This means that the human body is dependent on food for it. Interestingly, the body cannot easily store it either, and the leftover vitamin C is actually eliminated by the body.  On average, a woman needs around 70-75 mg of vitamin C on a daily basis, whereas a man needs around 90-95 mg a day. Luckily, vitamin C is available in abundance across a wide range of easily available vegetables and fruits. Vegetables with the highest amount of vitamin C include green and red peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower. Fruits that are healthy sources of vitamin c include kiwi, black currants and citrus fruits like oranges, lime, and lemons.

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8 Benefits Of Vitamin C You Cannot Ignore

Being one of the most important nutrients required for our health and wellbeing, the benefits of vitamin C range from helping improve mental health to contributing towards clear skin and delaying signs of aging.

Here Are 8 Hard To Ignore Benefits of Vitamin C:

1. Rich In Anti-Oxidants

Anti-oxidants have long been considered essential for the healthy functioning of the human body. A diet rich in anti-oxidants not only helps the body fight against daily stress and wear and tear, but it can also help delay signs of aging. All foods rich in vitamin C are naturally anti-oxidant rich. Consuming this every day can have real benefits for the body in the long run. Another advantage of consuming a diet rich in anti-oxidants is its positive impact on heart health, which results in a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Also Read: Benefits Of Cranberry Juice: Beyond UTI And Vitamin C

2. Vit C For Improving Brain’s Activity

The nervous system is one of the major beneficiaries of consuming a diet rich in vitamin C. The neurotransmitters present in the brain are required to be bathed with vitamin C for efficient and proper functioning. Thus, a higher source of vitamin C is responsible for improving the brain’s cognitive ability.

3. Fight Against Common Diseases

The intake of vitamin C is often used as a preventive measure for the body to fight common illnesses such as common cold and flu. However, most of the research on this subject is unclear; vitamin C is proved to at least be helpful in decreasing the symptoms caused by the common cold.

Also Read: Kiwi And Digestion: 9 Exceptional Benefits Of Kiwi

4. Improving The Absorption Of Iron

Other than playing an important role by synthesizing the blood cells in our body, vitamin C also improves the rate of the body’s iron absorption. In order to achieve a more efficient way of iron absorption, it is advised to consume iron-rich food and vitamin C-rich food at the same time, as the nutrients when consumed together, would combine to be easily absorbed by the digestive system.

Benefits of vitamin C: vitamin C also improves the rate of the body’s iron absorption

5. Beneficial For Skin

Apart from the health benefits of vitamin C, this water-soluble essential vitamin is also beneficial for the skin, thus boosting the nutrient’s demand and need. One of the basic natural skin-care items is curd. However, when mixed with a few drops of lemon juice, the presence of vitamin C makes the mixture of curd and lemon a more efficient and powerful product for your skincare regimen. This mixture, after being applied over the skin and massaged thoroughly, is kept for 15 minutes before being rinsed off, leaving behind radiant and glowing skin.

Related Reading: We review products over days, and sometimes weeks, so you can shop better. Read our Best Packaged Dahi To Buy Review here.

6. Preventing Scurvy

Just like the food items rich with vitamin C, the list of vitamin C benefits cannot be complete without the mention of scurvy, a disease caused due to the deficiency of vitamin C in the body, largely affecting children and small babies. Some of the symptoms of scurvy include bruising, fatigue, rashes, and bleeding gum.

7. It helps in Detoxification

Vitamin C can neutralize and remove environmental pollutants, the damage that occurs due to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and other pollutants.

8. It helps in Collagen Production

Collagen is a type of protein, containing about one-third of the total protein in humans. If you want glowing skin, healthy hair and nails, soft joints, and strong bones and muscles, you want optimal amounts of this particular protein.

Why Is Vitamin C important?
Vitamin C is a type of antioxidant. It protects the body’s cells from damage caused by all the external factors and even internal factors. These factors can cause changes in cells and DNA that can lead to illnesses, including cancer.

Commonly Available Vitamin C Rich Foods

Vitamin C plays an important role in the body’s functioning. From helping the brain’s efficient functioning to building immunity against common cold and flu, vitamin C, a naturally occurring nutrient, is normally found in raw ingredients that we use in diverse recipes.

Some of the Foods containing high value of vitamin C are:

1. Citrus Fruits

Of course, the list of items containing vitamin C cannot start without mentioning the ‘citrus’ genus of plants. It is common knowledge that citrus fruits such as oranges, and lemon, are a good source of vitamin C.

However, the amount of vitamin C present inside the fruit differs from the way of cultivation and the species of the plant. It was seen that fruits which are cultivated through organic method have a high value of vitamin C as compared to the fruits cultivated through conventional methods of cultivation.

2. Cauliflower

Simply one of the many vegetables which contain large amounts of vitamin C, cauliflower is also one of the most consumed vegetables around the world. Apart from having a high content of vitamin C, cauliflower also contains a moderate amount of vitamin B and Vitamin K.

The common way of eating cauliflower includes the consumption of its head (which has a cheese curd-like appearance), which is normally roasted along with some other vegetable and spices before being served.

3. Broccoli

Belonging to the same family of plants as the cauliflower (cabbage family), broccoli is a far superior source of vitamin C as compared to the humble cauliflower. A serving of 100 gm of broccoli can provide you with about 20% of the daily value of vitamin C (RDA). Similar to cauliflower, broccoli is normally consumed after roasting it along with other spices and vegetables. Broccoli can also be consumed steamed, or stir-fried along with other healthy options like red and green peppers.

4. Spinach And Other Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach and other leafy vegetables, also known as leafy greens, are a good source of vitamin C too. And, apart from consisting of high content of vitamin C, leafy greens are also considered to be filled with protein, fiber, and vitamin K. Many leafy vegetables such as spinach can be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches or cooked as part of sautés. Spinach or palak, of course, as a huge demand in India and is enjoyed as part of a variety of dishes like palak-paneer, saag-meet, sarson-ka-saag, etc.  

5. Tomato

One of the basic ingredients that are consumed in almost every home, nearly every day, tomatoes is probably one of the safest and moderate sources of vitamin C. A 100 gm of a serving of tomatoes can provide about 17% of the daily requirement of vitamin C. Tomatoes are consumed in almost every part of this world. It is used as a basic ingredient in almost all different kinds of cuisine, whether it is European or South Asian. Tomatoes can also be consumed raw and be served as a salad alongside other items.

Vitamin C Benefits: Tomatoes are probably one of the safest and moderate sources of vitamin C

6. Papaya

There is no better way to finish this list than with the healthy papaya, which is also a good source of protein. A 100 gm serving of papaya can provide you with about 75% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Unlike others, papaya is normally consumed raw and sometimes served as an ingredient in a fruit salad in order to improve its nutrient intake.

Though there are various sources of vitamin C, it is important to understand the appropriate value of intake of vitamin C and form a diet based on it.

Vitamin C is an important part of the immune system, which defends against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Studies show that low levels of vitamin C lead to problems with the immune system and other illnesses.

Side-Effects Of Vitamin C

As the natural law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, we can’t help but wonder that if vitamin C is responsible for being such a beneficial part of our diet, there must be some disadvantages associated with it.

Some of the disadvantages that are associated with the unregulated consumption of vitamin C are listed below:

1. Increase In Iron Consumption

Vitamin C is considered to be an important nutrient that helps in the increased rate of consumption of iron, which is good for health. However, since vitamin C makes it easier for the body to absorb iron, it can sometimes lead to the absorption of an excessive amount of iron, which might have adverse effects on the heart, liver, pancreas, and sometimes may even result in nausea.

2. Adverse Effects On Our Kidneys

Overloading of vitamin C can cause some severe effects on the kidneys. Vitamin C is a type of antioxidant with is soluble in water; hence it is difficult for our body to store it; excess vitamin C in the body is removed through the urine. However, if the consumption of vitamin C increases the required daily consumption rate, it starts to get accumulated in the kidneys rather than being soluble, which might increase the risk of the formation of kidney stones.

Apart from the above-mentioned side-effects, heavy unregulated consumption of vitamin C can also result in other side-effects that are rather small and rare. Some of these adverse effects of vitamin C include diarrhea, headaches, and muscle cramps.

Signs of Excessive Intake Of Vitamin C
• Diarrhea
• dizziness or faintness (with the injection only)
• flushing or redness of the skin
• headache
• increase in urination (mild)
• nausea or vomiting
• stomach cramps

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency can start to show after 8 to 12 weeks.

Signs include:

• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Fatigue
• Irritability
• Lethargy.

Within 1 to 3 months, there may be signs of:
• Anemia
• Myalgia, or pain, including bone pain
• Swelling, or edema
• Petechiae, or small red spots resulting from bleeding under the skin
• Corkscrew hairs
• Gum disease and loss of teeth
• Poor wound healing
• Shortness of breath
• Mood changes, and depression

Treatment involves administering vitamin C supplements by mouth or by injection.

Within 24 hours, patients can expect to see an improvement in fatigue, lethargy or laziness, pain, anorexia, etc. Bruising, bleeding, and weakness start to resolve within 1 to 2 weeks. After 3 months, recovery of the deficiency is possible.

The Bottom Line

The main takeaway from this article about vitamin C, its sources, its uses, and its side-effects, is that the only way you can have an efficient and healthy diet is not just by having a perfect set of food items for your daily consumption, but by also managing responsibly and regulating the diet based on your body’s need.

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