Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is the vitamin we must have for healthy body tissues, especially bones, teeth and gums. The body cannot store large amounts of vitamin C, so we must replenish our supplies day by day.
Importance Of Vitamin C In Human Body
An extremely low intake of Vitamin C leads to scurvy. Man has suffered from this disease for hundreds of years. Ships sailing on long voyages often lost many of their crew from scurvy, until it was gradually learned that if fresh fruit and vegetables (especially citrus fruits) were included in the ship’s rations, the men quickly recovered.
Nowadays, the ordinary adult is not likely to be suffering from scurvy, but there are many people who are not setting enough vitamin C in their food for perfect health and fitness. They may not be actually ill, but they tend to be pale and tired with poor complexions and no energy. Vitamin C means healthy skin and tissues and greater resistance to infection.
In any illness or fever, even common complaints like colds or influenza, extra vitamin C is needed. Orange and lemon juices are valuable in such cases. Unfortunately, it’s in winter time, when such infections are most prevalent, that we are inclined to eat less of the foods rich in vitamin C.
How Do We Get Our Vitamin C?
Most of it is obtained from fruit and vegetables. The citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, mandarins and grapefruit), pineapple, berry fruits and tomatoes are very good sources of vitamin C. Other fruits besides these do provide some vitamin C, but not nearly so much.
For growth children should have one or more of these fruits every day; babies have their supply of vitamin C in the form of freshly squeezed orange, tomato or pineapple juice.
Raw vegetables provide a good amount of vitamin C, so it’s a good idea to serve fresh salads as often as possible. Eating salads isn’t so difficult in the summer; but you need them in the winter too to provide a defence against infection.
Don’t let a scarcity of lettuce stop you from having salads. Use shredded raw cabbage (it’s particularly rich in vitamin C), chopped spinach, or some cress, mint or parsley from the garden.
Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and green peppers are also rich in vitamin C. Lettuce, celery, cucumber and radish are not so rich as these, but that doesn’t mean they are no use at all. Potatoes and swede turnips are a good standby for vitamin C and they are usually available when other vegetables are scarce.