By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Have you heard of scurvy? Until recently it was considered a thing of the past, only experienced by sailors on long voyagers and historically an ongoing issue for people who had a limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
But recent reports have shown a resurgence in the occurrence of scurvy, a disease caused from lack of vitamin C. It’s is on the rise around the world due to poor dietary habits and lack of nutrition.
Vitamin C deficiency can cause weaken bones, gingivitis, bleeding gums, dry hair, nosebleeds, teeth loss, easy bruising, anaemia, fatigue, poor wound healing, unhealthy skin, nails and hair and can even be fatal.
One of the great benefits of fresh juice is that it’s very high in vitamin C content and supportive for optimal health and wellbeing.
The standard recommendation to prevent scurvy is 60 mg per day but a recent review has found more than double this amount is helpful and supportive against cancer, cataracts and cardiovascular disease and further to this it is being suggested it should be 200 mg per day which can be easily obtained with a colorful diet particularly when including fresh juice.
Some of the health benefits of vitamin C include:
Studies indicate that adequate intakes of vitamin C reduce symptoms and shorten the duration and severity of respiratory tract infections including the common cold, pneumonia and other infections.
Blood levels of vitamin C rapidly decline during infections and stress, along with leukocytes. High doses of Vitamin C was shown to support anti-microbial activity along with natural killer cells and lymphocyte proliferation. Deficiencies are commonly seen in subgroups such as the elderly.
In this study scientists found that consuming a high concentration of Vitamin C via golden kiwi fruit reduced the severity and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. Gold kiwifruit significantly increased plasma vitamin C, α-tocopherol and lutein/zeaxanthin concentrations, and erythrocyte folate concentrations, and significantly reduced plasma lipid peroxidation.
Vitamin C has been shown to help reduce the need for steroid therapy and helps to reduce the effect of pollution on moderate to severe asthma in children. Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce bronchoconstriction and can be used pre-exercise in exercise induced asthma attacks or breathlessness.
Vitamin C showed to moderately reduce blood pressure, according to an analysis of years of research by Johns Hopkins scientists. This small reduction is significant in terms of reducing potential strokes and heart attacks overall.
A study in Europe of almost 20,000 men and women found that mortality from cardiovascular disease was 60% lower when comparing the blood plasma concentration of vitamin C in the highest 20% of people to the lowest 20%.
Vitamin C is an essential factor required for the production of collagen, a protein present in connective tissues of the body such as the skin and tissues. It’s especially helpful in healing wounds from cuts, abrasions, broken bones and other injuries, and vitamin C speeds up the healing process and helps you to recover faster.
Vitamin C helps to strengthen the skin tissue and support elasticity and helps to reduce wrinkles. Higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance.
Vitamin C acts as a natural anti-histamine agent and reduces the allergic reaction by reducing histamine levels.
Vitamin C has a very positive effect on increasing the absorption of iron from nonheme sources in the diet.
Sources of Vitamin C
Foods high in vitamin C include peppers (capsicum), berries, citrus fruit, spinach, kale, kiwi fruit, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli, dark leafy greens, papaya, mango, watermelon, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash and pineapples.
Delicious Vitamin C-rich juices:
Vitamin C Packed Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie