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From C to Shining C!

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Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin. Vitamin C is water soluble vitamin, thus if an excess is consumed it is merely excreted from the body without any toxic effects. Because vitamin C is relatively unstable on exposure to heat, air, and light, it is oxidized and lost from the food item. 

Thus, transportation, processing, food preparation, and storage can reduce the quantity of vitamin C in foods. The highest amount of vitamin C is found in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. The best ways to cook vegetables to retain the highest vitamin C content is by microwaving, stir frying, and steaming.

Functions

The many functions of vitamin C include collage formation, wound healing, gum health, skin health, antioxidants, infection, and red blood cell formation.

Antioxidant

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Meaning that vitamin C prevents oxidative damage in the tissues by interfering with the production of free radicals that cause cellular damage and inflammation.

Collagen

Collagen is a structural protein that forms the connective tissues, cartilage, and tendons in the body. Vitamin C is a vital precursor to collagen, which makes vitamin C a key nutrient for skin health.

Wound healing

Vitamin C is involved in healing skin by assisting in the formation of connective tissue to create a healthy scars on the skin.

Gum Health

Vitamin C aids in the health of the gums similar to vitamin C’s role in the formation of collagen. Vitamin C acts to help fight the harmful bacteria on the lining of the gums. One reason for dentists educating patients to consume adequate fruits and vegetables is to increase the vitamin C content in their diet.

Bruise Prevention

Vitamin C has the ability to form red blood cells, which thwarts the blood vessel’s impact of bruises.

Infection

Vitamin C fights infections such as a cold. Research suggests that that vitamin C may reduce the duration and severity of the symptoms of a cold by increasing the white blood cell function.

Interactions

Vitamin C is essential for the formation and absorption of many nutrients. Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron, folic acid, and calcium. Additionally, vitamin C helps the transformation of serotonin from tryptophan, which aids in sleep. Smoking and stress reduce the absorption of vitamin C, which in turn increases dietary needs (1).

Food Sources and Vitamin C

The RDA for vitamin C in adults is 60 mg per day. Citrus fruits like oranges are the best known source of vitamin C; however, other fruits and vegetables have even higher amounts

Food

Serving/ amount

Amount of Vitamin C

%DV

Sweet Red Pepper

1 cup, chopped sliced

117 mg

196%

Strawberries

1 cup

89.4 mg

149%

Papaya

1 cup

86.5 mg

144%

Kale

1 cup, chopped

80.4 mg

134%

Brussel Sprouts

1 cup

74.8 mg

125%

Cauliflower

1 cup

46.4 mg

77%

Vitamin C and Spray Drying

When vitamin C is microencapsulated and spray dried, it becomes a more stable vitamin. This enhances vitamin C content in a variety of foods. Spray dried vitamin C can be utilized drink powders. Additionally, spray dried vitamin C with its antioxidant potentials can be used in the hospital setting to help patients fight infection.

Download our Guide to Spray Drying


References 

1. Kirschmann, J. D. (2007). Nutrition almanac (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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