The next post in my series on eye healthy foods revolves around vitamin C. Also known as “the best tasting vitamin” (in my opinion), vitamin C is water-soluble (or dissolved by water) and can only be absorbed through diet and/or supplementation. Simply put, if you don’t get your vitamin C from food or those chewable tablets we all love, you won’t get it at all.
Just like many of us, I was introduced to vitamin C as a child. Out of all the vitamins I was given, it was by far the easiest to consume. As a result, a positive association was made in my mind, and I enjoy taking vitamin C even to this day. Too bad I can’t say the same about other vitamins and supplements out there.
Benefits of Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is important to the body for several reasons. Most notably, it helps to make collagen, which is necessary for healthy skin, cartilage, and blood vessels. On top of that, vitamin C assists with the growth and/or repair of tissue (muscle, nerve, connective, and epithelial) all over the body. It also plays a rather large role in the healing of cuts and wounds.
Vitamin C in doctor recommended doses can also help prevent:
- The common cold
- Heart disease and hypertension
- Kidney and liver disease
- Certain types of cancer
According to the United States Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, recommended doses of vitamin C are as follows:
- Men over 18 years old – 90 milligrams per day
- Women over 18 years old – 75 milligrams per day
- Pregnant women over 18 – 85 milligrams per day
- Breastfeeding women over 18 – 120 milligrams per day
It’s important to note that too much vitamin C may not be a good thing. Chronic toxicity can lead to diarrhea, fatigue, and dental erosion. On the other end of the spectrum, vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, which is a disease that leads to bruising, bleeding gums, muscle weakness, fatigue, and rashes.
Vitamin C and the Eyes:
According to the American Optometric Association, “Numerous studies have linked vitamin C intake and decreased risk of cataracts. In one study, women taking vitamin C for 10 years or more experienced a 64 percent reduction in the risk of developing nuclear cataracts. Researchers estimate that by delaying the onset of cataracts for 10 years, half of cataract-related surgeries could be averted.”
Furthermore, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed, “people at high risk for the disease (age-related macular degeneration) who took 500 mg/day of vitamin C, along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc supplementation, slowed the progression of advanced AMD by about 25 percent and visual acuity loss by 19 percent.”
Food Sources of Vitamin C:
As previously stated, vitamin C can only be obtained through diet and/or supplementation. This means you can only receive vitamin C from those tasty little tablets or the following food sources:
- Bell peppers (especially the red ones)
- Citrus fruits
- Acerola cherry
- Dark leafy greens
- Brussel sprouts
- Camu camu powder
If you’re not getting enough vitamin C from food, supplementation is also an option. I personally recommend food-based supplements because the body better absorbs nutrients derived from fruits and vegetables.
If you can’t find the right food-based supplement, you can try Emergen-C (ascorbic acid based). This handy boost of energy is a drinkable powder that helps fight the common cold.
Be on the lookout for my next post. In it, I’ll be giving out a “high in vitamin C” recipe.