Vitamin C

Want glowing skin, healthy arteries and a strong immune system? Then vitamin C is your friend
By Adriana Donnola

If you were a sailor 250 odd years ago, you would have had around a 50/50 chance of surviving your long journey. Not due to pirates or drowning but as a result of scurvy… arghh you scurvy dog you! Scurvy is caused by a deficiency in vitamin C. Thankfully in the 1700s James Lind discovered lime juice given to sailors prevented this awful disease and 200 years later vitamin C was isolated and identified in foods and named ascorbic acid.

So why do we need vitamin C?

With scurvy solved, Vitamin C has several critical roles in our body. 

  • As an antioxidant. Ageing and disease-causing free radicals damage our cells on a daily basis. Vitamin C acts like a bodyguard, sacrificing itself to defend and repair these cells.   
  • For immune support. It helps strengthen the immune response against infections like the dreaded flu and colds.
  • Iron absorption. Vitamin C increases iron absorption, which can help prevent iron deficiency anaemia. A big issue for women.
  • Stress Aid. It is vital in the production of hormones such as adrenalin, the ‘fight or flight’ stress hormone. 
  • Skin support. It plays an important role in collagen synthesis. 

So, collagen production… that’s for healthy young-looking skin, right? 

Yes! And vitamin C plays an important role in building collagen. Collagen gives skin its structure and elasticity leading to less wrinkles and younger-looking skin. Collagen production decreases with age hence the gradual appearance of wrinkles. But going below the surface, collagen provides strength to our blood vessels and it helps our skin to repair and wounds to heal. Great reasons to make sure you are getting enough C.

How much do you need and what foods is it in?

The Australian Government recommended daily intake (RDI) for adults is 45mg/day. This amount is sufficient to prevent scurvy but around two or three times that is optimal. This is easily achieved through food, without the need for any supplementation. 

Eat oranges? Yes, and limes as the sailors discovered. But in addition, Vitamin C is even more abundant in other fruit and vegetables.  So eating a wide variety of colourful fresh produce each day will ensure you meet your daily requirements easily.

Handle with care

The vitamin C content of food is decreased during cooking, processing and extended storage. Minimise these factors as much as possible to get the best from your C fruit and veg.

Market tips...

Great foods for vitamin C per 100g

Red capsicum raw – 172mg
Kale raw – 120mg
Kiwi fruit – 110mg
Broccoli raw – 106mg
Cabbage red raw – 69mg
Orange – 52mg

Other foods rich in vitamin C include all citrus, chilli, parsley, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, snow peas, goji berries, coriander, strawberries, onions, zucchini, rockmelon, tomato, cauliflower, sweet potato, pumpkin. And this isn’t a full list!

Did you know?

To ensure you are getting bang for your buck make sure you eat your vegies raw as much as cooked. And fresh is best as oxygen and light do reduce valuable C levels.

Spicy ‘n’ saucy

Chargrill a couple of capsicums until blackened, set aside to cool. Discard skin and seeds, blend with a clove of garlic, a generous glug of olive oil, splash of red wine vinegar and a sprinkle of smoked paprika until smooth. Season and stir through chopped parsley. Serve.

Cheers to vitamin C!

What's Trending Now

Hit enter to search or ESC to close

Don't miss a thing!

Get all our latest recipes, cooking tips and tricks, gardening ideas and all things happening in-store at Harris Farm in your inbox every week.