5 Amazing Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Want the benefits of Vitamin C without puckering up to ultra-tall glasses of orange juice at each meal? Here’s the great news: Vitamin C is plentiful in many foods and has great health benefits that you probably didn’t even know about. Until recently, Vitamin C has been mainly used to chase away sniffles and stifle sneezes that define those seasonal colds and viruses. Recent studies, however, note that Vitamin C can help you not only stop coughing, but it can work magic on almost every body part to lower high blood pressure, fight cancer, keep blood vessels healthy, and more.
HELP PREVENT HEART DISEASE
A healthy heart is at the crux of a healthy life. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart to our organs. In early stages of this disease, white blood cells build up on the walls of these blood vessels, which cause plaque to build up. The breakdown of bad cholesterol also contributes to plaque build-up. This build-up narrows arteries and makes them less flexible, which lowers the blood flow to vital organs, including the heart. Studies show that white blood cells and platelets that can build up become much less “sticky” with daily doses of Vitamin C. Those with lower levels of Vitamin C were also more likely to have heart disease and have narrowed blood vessels in their legs and feet. The biggest danger of atherosclerosis is having a heart attack or stroke as a result of less blood getting to our hearts or brains. Studies also show that Vitamin C keeps heart valves from stiffening, making for fewer cardiac crisese.
HELP LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
A close relative to heart disease, high blood pressure means that there is more pressure inside of your blood vessels, either when the heart is actually pumping, at rest, or both. Too much blood in the vessels from too much salt in the diet or from other diseases can cause too much pressure in the blood vessels. Stiff blood vessel walls can also raise blood pressure. Consistent high blood pressure can cause damage to the lining of your blood vessels, thickening them and making it hard for blood to get through to your vital organs. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys, your heart, and your brain, leading to strokes, dementia, and heart failure. Studies with subjects taking Vitamin C supplements showed that their blood pressure dropped. Some studies also suggest that Vitamin C may prevent early births by controlling high blood pressure in pregnant women.
Help Asthma Sufferers
Studies show that people with asthma may have lower levels of Vitamin C than others, making it likely that greater intake of Vitamin C will help. Those taking Vitamin C supplements had fewer asthma symptoms from exercising and from environmental triggers. Other studies show that those taking Vitamin C supplements needed less medicine for their asthma.
HELP FIGHT CANCER
Vitamin C can help fight cancer at every stage. Some studies say it might even help prevent it. Still more studies show that Vitamin C helps both to promote the good effects of chemotherapy, and reduce the toxic side effects of it. It may also lower your risk of a harmful stomach bacteria and lower your gastric cancer risk.
HELP WITH DIABETES
Recent data shows that in the United States 25.8 million children and adults–that’s a whopping 8.3 percent– have diabetes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), if current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050. Diabetes, one of the top three disabilities in the US, has many causes, but one of the most predominant is an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Studies demonstrate that Vitamin C can lower blood sugar to reduce the risk of getting diabetes, and improve the symptoms of existing cases.
And that’s not the end of it. Studies show that the power of Vitamin C may help reduce the risk of an eye disease that can make you blind as you age, reduce the bad effects of smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, reduce body mass index to help prevent obesity and lessen soreness from free radicals released during exercising. But unlike most animals, humans cannot produce their own Vitamin C. To get the Vitamin C you need, look for it in supplement form and in Vitamin C rich foods like red peppers, kiwi, and broccoli. Just note that chopping, cutting and storing foods can deplete their Vitamin C content.
As mentioned, many people rely on supplements to get the amount of Vitamin C they need to stay healthy. How much you need depends on your age, stress level, degree of health and what medicines you take. A general rule of thumb is to take from one to four grams of Vitamin C per day, with much larger amounts needed for those with severe illnesses. It is always best to consult with your doctor to determine what is best for you.
Just remember – there’s no need to go overboard with your Vitamin C intake to get its health benefits. It’s as easy as good nutrition and a healthy dietary supplement.