I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that when I was little, I wanted to be a pirate. They seemed so cool, and they had so much freedom. BUT, it's important to remember that, in addition to all the treasure seeking and swashbuckling, another thing most pirates had to contend with was vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C deficiency doesn't sound too terrifying, but its symptoms are extremely unpleasant:
- Muscle & joint aches
- Weakness & fatigue
- A compromised immune system and anemia
- Bleeding gums
Yo ho no. It's definitely not a pirate's life for me.
Though vitamin C may seem like any average old vitamin, it's a health and nutrition powerhouse and a vital component of a healthy eating regimen. Researchers believe that vitamin C actually boosts the immune system and prevents colds from getting worse, which means vitamin C is the closest thing we have to a cure for the common cold. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, an essential mineral that helps carry and store oxygen throughout our bodies. Vitamin C helps in the maintenance of bones, connective tissue, gums and teeth. It helps maintain skin and may even prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that whatever you don't use throughout the day isn't stored in your body. Vitamin C deficiencies are rare except in very specific groups, but since its an essential part of any healthy eating plan, make sure you're getting your daily dose, every day.
- Breakfast: The most well-known sources of vitamin C also happen to make a great addition to your morning meal. Add a half a grapefruit to your morning routine, or cut up some orange slices.
- Lunch: Most salad dressings don't fit into a healthy eating plan. To add zest to your lunch, squeeze some lemon over your spinach, bell pepper and broccoli concoction (all are rich sources of vitamin C). Not only is lemon juice a fat-free alternative to most salad dressings, it will add to the antioxidant and vitamin C infused punch of your lunch.
- Snacks: Who said that healthy eating can't also taste delicious? Kiwi or strawberries are a dynamite midafternoon snack. They keep your blood sugar stable without relying on processed sugars and they're rich in vitamin C.
- Dinner: If your meal is veggie rich - as it should be - you're probably right on track for a meal loaded with vitamin C.
Also keep in mind, vitamin C is among the first nutrients depleted in heavy drinkers, smokers and people suffering from obesity, so people contending with those conditions need to be sure they're getting at least the recommended daily total of vitamin C in their healthy eating plans.