Why Do You Need Vitamin C?
Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, is often recommended as a remedy for the common cold. The nutrient can strengthen the immune system, improve collagen production, speed up wound healing, and provide vital antioxidants. Should people get a certain amount of vitamin C every day? How much ascorbic acid is the right amount?
How much to take
Humans are unable to create vitamin C in the body. Because of this, people must look to food sources or supplements to get adequate intake of the vitamin. However, there can be uncomfortable effects of taking too much vitamin C, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cramps, headache, or heartburn. In general, adults should get 65-90mg of the nutrient daily, taking care not to exceed 2,000mg. To reach those recommended daily allowances, eat these 3 foods high in ascorbic acid.
Citrus fruits are some of the first foods people think of when considering where to get vitamin C. In the 1700s, lemons were given to sailors to prevent scurvy, an illness caused by vitamin C deficiency. Lemons contain about 92% of the daily value for vitamin C if a person also includes the peel.
2. Green veggies
In just ½ cup of cooked Brussels sprouts, people can get over half the daily recommendation of vitamin C. The cruciferous vegetable contains 85mg of vitamin C per 100g. Like other leafy green veggies, Brussels sprouts are also rich in vitamin K, folate, potassium, and fiber. Both vitamins C and K are essential nutrients for improving bone health and strength.
3. Herb sources
Fruits and vegetables and not the only food sources of ascorbic acid. Fresh herbs such as thyme and parsley are also good sources of vitamin C. In 28g of thyme, one can get up to 50% of the RDA of vitamin C. Thyme can also be helpful for respiratory conditions and sore throats. Parsley contains 10mg of vitamin C per 2 tablespoons or about 11% of the recommended daily intake. Sprinkling these herbs into daily meals can help a person get the daily allotment of vitamin C.
Should I take a supplement?
There are many other vitamin C-rich foods, including oranges, kale, broccoli, and strawberries. The nutrient is vital for immune system function, and not getting enough can have adverse health effects. However, most people who eat a colorful, well-balanced diet will not need to take a vitamin C supplement. To learn more about vitamin recommendations, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.