The Benefits of Vitamin C
By Amber Malik| Nutritionist and Holistic Chef
Almost 80% of the world’s countries have been invaded by the British. A staggering statistic, no doubt. They weren’t the only people trying to rule foreign countries so how did they manage it, when other nations far bigger than this tiny island had larger military forces and resources? There’s a fact that’s just not mentioned in history books; deceivingly small but actually vital: Vitamin C was the ‘how’ behind the British Empire.
Navies spent months at sea trying to get to exotic shores but sailors died in their droves from scurvy. The disease was so rife that countries on a mission to invade other nations couldn’t complete their journeys without losing the majority of their men. Except Britain. The Brits had been hit hard by scurvy too but a chance experiment by James Lind changed their fortune forever. Scottish physician James Lind found there was a connection between preventing (and curing) scurvy and the consumption of citrus fruit. Such a small thing mapped the course of history as we know it. Other countries could only keep their ships at sea for a maximum of a few months but the Royal Navy could last around two years. The derogatory nickname ‘limeys’ coined by Americans comes from these times of the British being known to add citrus juice to the drinks of Royal Navy sailors. If it weren’t for the simple act of consuming citrus fruit, the Brits may never have won the Napoleonic wars – Napoleon could have successfully invaded England and we wouldn’t have Abba’s inspired classic song ‘Waterloo’!
What are the benefits of Vitamin C then?
So, if vitamin C is so powerful that it can win wars, what benefit can it give to you in your daily life? This vitamin is an antioxidant powerhouse. Its antioxidant properties are so great that it’s been linked to the prevention of heart disease issues. It boosts the production of collagen which can have anti-ageing effects. It helps our bodies absorb iron which aids in resistance to infections. Alongside its immune-boosting function, it’s no wonder people turn to vitamin C to help fight colds and flu.
However, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C is based on an old dosage requirement to simply prevent scurvy. In more recent times, a massive amount of anecdotal evidence has shown that it’s higher doses that can have a positive effect on overall health, with ultra high-dose IV vitamin C even being successfully used by some people as a cancer treatment. While dosages of any vitamin are something for an individual to consider with correct information, guidance and knowledge, studies seem to show that a somewhat higher dose of Vitamin C than the RDA is predominantly beneficial. This may be because the human body can’t create or store it naturally: it’s depleted quickly so a person needs to get it from food or supplements on a daily basis. Vitamin Buddy’s dose of Vitamin C is slightly higher than the RDA so that you can obtain the benefits of this antioxidant beyond simply avoiding scurvy, and this is especially important for smokers whose vitamin C levels are depleted at a higher rate than non-smokers.
Best Vitamin C Food Sources
For food sources rich in vitamin C, make sure you eat plenty of dark leafy greens, berries, peppers and, of course, citrus. With February and March probably still looking cold and miserable ahead, stepping up your immune system a notch and avoiding the typical seasonal sniffles will be very welcome indeed!