The benefits of Vitamin C

IT’S time to talk about vitamin C and our immune systems.

A healthy immune system is particularly important as we enter into the normal winter season of colds, flu and other viruses.

Our immune systems defend our bodies against infection by firstly creating a barrier that stops invaders or antigens entering our bodies. Should one slip past the barrier, the immune system then helps to attack and destroy these foreign substances.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to boosting our immunity there is a range of things we can all do such as eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables, getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, and adopting good personal hygiene.

Part of that healthy diet is ensuring we get sufficient intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is well known as being a potent antioxidant as well as having a positive impact on immune function and skin health.

It is also vital for collagen synthesis, connective tissue, bones, teeth and your small blood cells.

Because we cannot store vitamin C it is essential that we consume it regularly.

The richest sources of vitamin C can be found in the more exotic fruits like kakadu plum and acerola cherries. But we are fortunate that vitamin C is found in many everyday foods, with some of the highest levels contained in common fruit and vegetables.

Green vegetables such as kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage are all good sources of vitamin C, as are red peppers.

The other common source of vitamin C is fruit and fruit juice. Citrus fruit such as oranges and lemons are a good source of vitamin C along with blackcurrants, guava, kiwi and lychees.

Orange juice is possibly the most recognised and popular source of vitamin C. This is because of its great taste as well as the convenient and easy way to include it in your daily diet.

A 250ml glass of 100 per cent orange juice contains 100mg of vitamin C, which is more than twice your recommended daily intake (RDI).

A glass of orange juice is not only full of immune-supporting vitamin C and folate but also includes natural polyphenolic flavonoid compounds.

The main polyphenol (which is almost exclusive to orange juice) is hesperidin, which also acts as an anti-inflammatory.

As opposed to taking a vitamin supplement or pill, when you consume a glass of orange juice you are not only getting vitamin C but also folate, polyphenols and other components that all play a role in immune health.

The juice also provides hydration and the natural sugars of the fruit provide an energy boost as well.

A strong immune system requires general healthy lifestyle habits including diet. The morning ritual of orange juice, or a refreshing drink during the day can play an important role in a balanced and healthy diet and ensure you are getting your daily dose of vitamin C.

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About the Author: Hobart Observer

The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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