How eating a rainbow boosts your health and your immune system.
It’s not a big secret that Vitamin C is good for you.
Our knowledge about Vitamin C’s super powers has been around for many decades.
It’s one of the most tested and well researched vitamins because it is so important to our health.
In fact, trials are currently running in China and Northwell Health in New York on IV Vitamin C because it’s showing promising results in the fight against Covid-19. The results of the trial in China are due in September 2020 so nothing has been proven as of yet.
But case studies like this one from the University of Melbourne have mapped how the bodies immune system fights off Covid 19.
So if Vitamin C helps our immune system then that can only be good.
Vitamin C is water soluble and our bodies will get rid of any excess when we urinate. The result is we do not store it in our bodies.
Also our bodies do not manufacture Vitamin C.
So we have to eat good sources of Vitamin C every day and take supplements if needed.
This powerful antioxidant vitamin is used in over 300 processes in the body. (Think of anti rusting in the your body when you read antioxidant.)
It’s boosts our immune system and supports our adrenal system so helps us when we are stressed. It’s great for our skin and helps with tissue growth and repair.
It’s also a powerful antihistamine in the body so very useful for things like hayfever.
It’s both very powerful and very sensitive.
Heat and exposure to air damages it. So cooking, adding hot water or leaving cut fruit and vegetables in the fridge will destroy it. (Think of yesterday’s fruit salad, it will have lost a lot of vitamins so not such a good idea).
TIP: Cook vegetables for no more than 5 minutes, so they are al dente rather than mushy.
Eating fruit and vegetables that have been transported over a long distance and period of time reduces the levels of this colourful vitamin. There is evidence that fruit and vegetables frozen straight after harvesting have more Vitamin C than fresh food from the other side of the world.
So if possible buy local and buy in season or freshly frozen.
Which foods are high in Vitamin C?
Think of a colourful rainbow and look for richly colourful fruit and veg! Foods that are particularly high in Vitamin C are:
- Bell Peppers
- Dark leafy greens
- Any berries, particularly strawberries
- Guava, Papaya and Pineapple
- Citrus Fruits
- Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts
- Kiwi Fruit
- Oranges and orange juice only when it’s freshly squeezed (Most shop bought juices are pasteurised so this heating process kills vitamins)
- Fennel Seed
- Nettle (now’s the time to get picking the fresh young leaves)
- Rose hips
Did you know that Vitamin C likes working with friends?
It works best when it’s ingested with Vitamin E and Beta Carotene (Vitamin A). Vitamin E goes looking for free radicals and Vitamin C attacks them so they are the perfect team. How cool is that!
All colourful fruits and veg will have perfectly balanced levels of different vitamins so you don’t have to think, just eat! Mother Nature really does know what she’s doing.
Certain medications can deplete the levels of Vitamin C and smoking causing serious depletion.
How to supplement:
Because this is such an important Vitamin my advice is to supplement with a minimum 1000mg of Vitamin C a day for adults to make sure you are getting enough. I would call this a maintenance dose.
If you do have an infection such as a virus then this can be increased to 5000mg broken into 5 doses over the course of the day, again for adults.
NB: Do not take 5000 mg for more then 5 days and half the dose if you notice gut sensitivity or loose bowel motions.
I also recommend taking Vitamin C with Zinc if you have an infection to boost it’s powers even further.
CAUTION: Vitamin C helps the body to uptake iron so if you have haemochromatosis it is not recomended to take it as a supplement. Instead focus on eating fruits and vegetables.
TIP: Cover half your plate with colourful vegetables.
If you are taking aspirin and Vitamin C it can increase gut sensitivity so take far apart from each other.
Always use caution when pregnant or taking medication when taking any herb or supplement and my advice is not meant to replace the advice of your primary healthcare practitioner.
Important – Not all Vitamin C supplements are created equal.
Types of Vitamin C supplements are:
- Ascorbic acid – this is the cheapest from. It’s not as bio-available to the body, meaning the body has a harder time using it and it can cause stomach upset so not for you if you have a sensitive gut.
- Vitamin C with bioflavanoids – Increases absorption.
- Buffered Vitamin C – contains mineral ascorbates and is very good if you have a sensitive tummy.
- Ester C is the gold standard and is the most bio-available.
Stress and Vitamin C
Stress really depletes Vitamin C in the body so focus on techniques like journaling, meditation, mindfulness, music and exercise to manage your stress levels.
This will boost your immune system too.
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