Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient that is vital to all creatures. Foods that are especially rich in vitamin C are parsley, broccoli, bell peppers, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts. Here are seven health benefits of vitamin C.
Not only is vitamin C a well-known component of your immune system, it is also necessary for collagen, the main structural protein found in connective tissue. A healthy dose of vitamin C will protect your body from infection and maintain healthy bones and teeth, as well as quicken the body's ability to repair wounds.
Along with its immune functions that fight against bacteria, viruses, and infection, vitamin C also serves as an effective antihistamine that will lessen the unpleasant effects of the common cold, including inflammation, stuffy nose and aches.
Vitamin C is a powerful and effective antioxidant that protects our bodies from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Excessive oxidative stress, or "cellular rust," can lead to a host of severe medical conditions, such as atherosclerosis that can cause both heart disease and stroke, and is associated with many different types of cancer, including lung, mouth, throat, colon, stomach and esophagus. Vitamin C also helps to regenerate your supplies of vitamin E (another useful antioxidant).
Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood pressure, and therefore lessen the probability of hypertension, as well as the serious health problems that follow, such as cardiovascular disease.
Along with lowering your blood pressure, vitamin C ensures proper dilation of blood vessels, which can prevents such diseases as atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, and angina pectoris (a inadequate supply of blood to the heart that causes severe chest pains).
Vitamin C dramatically lowers your blood lead level. This is especially important for children living in urban areas, as studies have shown that lead toxicity can lead to behavioral and developmental problems, such as learning disabilities and lowered IQ. Adults, moreover, may suffer from kidney damage and high blood pressure.
The lens of the human eye requires vitamin C to function properly, and a deficiency can lead to cataracts (a condition in which the lens becomes increasingly opaque, causing blurry vision). A higher intake of vitamin C has been shown to fight cataracts by increasing the amount of blood flow to the eye.