Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is a powerful water-soluble nutrient found in a wide variety of foods. It may not cure or prevent the common cold, but this naturally occurring compound yields some impressive benefits when consumed on a regular basis. How? Let's take a look.
Vitamin C is well-known for its antioxidant properties. Why is this important? Well, our bodies are exposed to harmful chemicals known as free radicals on a daily basis; they are in the air we breathe, the beverages we drink, the food we consume, and even some of the products we use on our skin. As these free radicals begin to accumulate within the body, it increases the risk of destructive oxidation taking place, which can destroy otherwise healthy cells. Thankfully, vitamin C protects against this destructive behavior, neutralizing harmful free radicals.
Yet another reason why you should consume more vitamin C is because it promotes healthier blood flow. Several studies have shown that vitamin C to improve dilation of arteries and blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure, as well as lower risk of heart attack and stroke. This alone should be reason enough to include more vitamin C-rich foods in your daily diet.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S., taking the lives of approximately 600,000 people each year. However, new research suggests that vitamin C may protect the heart by reducing inflammation, eliminating plaque buildup, and strengthening the walls of the arteries. Dr. James Enstrom, professor at the University of California, found that women who consumed 300mg of vitamin C daily were 40% less likely to develop heart disease and men who consumed 300mg of vitamin C daily were 50% less likely to develop heart disease.
Vitamin C has been used to treat and prevent skin conditions for centuries. Even today, hundreds of cosmetic and beauty products contain this powerful compound. Vitamin C protects skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet A/B rays, which in prevents early aging and wrinkles, and it reduces the risk of certain types of skin cancer like melanoma. In search of a good vitamin C treatment to add to your skincare routine? Check out our Vitamin C Treatment Complex.
Remember...you are what you eat! Here are some foods to incorporate into your diet that contain the highest concentrations of vitamin C:
- Bell peppers