Also known as ascorbic acid.
A nutrient that acts as an antioxidant to protect us from colds and infections, cardiovascular disease, cancer, joint diseases and cataracts.
Why you need it: Protects cells from free radical damage, regenerates vitamin E supplies, and improves iron absorption.
This is perhaps one of natures most popular vitamins.
With thousands of people all singing its praises and thousands of vitamin manufacturers relying on its performance, the C-vitamin it seems, has become over-rated.
Whether or not it can deliver everything that the world expects it to deliver once taken inside the body is already a moot point.
The important thing is that ascorbic acid is essential in the various processes of the body.
It is a water-soluble vitamin.
This means that it can be easily dissolved in water or liquid.
It does not stay inside the body long.
If not used, ascorbic acid is flushed out of the body through the urine.
Most people think of C vitamins and see an armored chunk that protects the body from infections.
Although this is indeed one of the functions of the vitamin, there are still a lot of additional things that this vitamin can do for the body.
One of those things is in the maintenance of sound teeth and bones.
It's a great anti-oxidant that may in the future aid in cancer prevention.
It's also important in the formation of collagen, a protein that's essential in giving structure to bones, cartilage and muscles.
Vitamin-C may also aid in the absorption of iron, a mineral that is needed in the formation of red blood cells and prevents the development of anemia.
According to the recommended daily intake of the vitamin in the United States, men are recommended to take in about 90 milligrams per day while women must have a daily intake of 75 milligrams.
Of course, daily intake for pregnant women and lactating mothers is much higher.
The same goes with children that are in their developing stage.
It's recommended that these select groups of people consult their doctors for the proper amount so as to avoid deficiency.
Smokers, especially chain smokers are also advised to take in more vitamin-C because it's often lost in the oxidative process brought on by the act of smoking.
Smokers must take in about 35 more milligrams of vitamin-C than the usual daily recommendation.
According to statistics, most North Americans, reportedly, consume proper amounts of this vitamin.
In fact, the average North American can even consume excessive amounts in a day.
There's really no cause for alarm as there are no adverse effects, as it's water soluble.
The body gets rid of the excessive amounts of vitamin-C through liquid wastes of the body.
People can often get the right amounts through the consumption of vegetables and fruits, where it's found in abundance.
Still, there are people who also use vitamin supplements to augment their need for vitamin-C.
Ascorbic acid is often found in citrus fruits such as oranges, in potatoes, raw cabbages and in strawberries.
It can also be found in tomatoes and in green peppers.
Although ascorbic acid is often found in fruits and vegetables, it's often lost because of improper preparation, over cooking and storage.
To prevent this from happening, one must serve the fruits and the veggies raw.
Use them in salads.
Make sure though that you have properly washed the food items before eating them.
Another technique to make sure that the vitamin-C will be kept intact is to steam, boil or let it simmer in a very small amount of water.
Steamed broccoli (1 cup, 43 calories) 205 percent daily value
Cooked brussels sprouts (1 cup, 60 calories) 161 percent d.v.
Strawberries (1 cup, 43 calories) 136 percent d.v.
Orange (61 calories) 116 percent d.v.
Cantaloupe (1 cup, 56 calories) 112 percent d.v.
Kiwi (46 calories) 95 percent d.v.
Grapefruit (1/2 fruit, 36 calories) 78 percent d.v.
Pineapple (1 cup, 76 calories) 39 percent d.v.
Cooked winter squash (1 cup, 80 calories) 32 percent d.v.
Blueberries (1 cup, 81 calories) 31 percent d.v.
Here's a great recipe to up your intake;
Beef with Broccoli, Bell Pepper & Mushrooms
This stir-fry is loaded with vitamin-C and healthy flavor, thanks to reduced-sodium soy sauce and an optional dash of sherry, the perfect way to pep up whatever veggies you have on hand.
This adaptable recipe will work equally well with chicken, pork, or shrimp and the vegetables of your choice.
Use more or less pepper flakes, as you like.
1 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. dry sherry
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 lb. flank steak, halved lengthwise, sliced against the grain 1/4" thick
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. canola oil
4 c. broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, sliced in 1/4" strips
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
3 scallions, chopped (white and green parts separate)
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes
1 recipe Classic stir-fry sauce
1. Combine soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, and sugar in medium bowl.
Stir in beef and set aside for about 15 minutes.
2. Heat large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
Add 1 tsp. of the oil.
Swirl to coat.
Add half the beef in a single layer and leave until seared, about 1 minute.
Stir-fry beef until no longer pink, about 1 minute.
Add 1 tsp. oil and repeat with remaining beef.
3. Add remaining 2 tsp. oil to pan.
Add broccoli, bell pepper and mushrooms.
Stir-fry 2 minutes.
Make a well in center and add white part of scallions, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes.
Stir-fry with vegetables 1 minute.
Add 1/4 c. water and cover pan until broccoli is just done, 3 minutes.
If cooking in a wok, use a large lid, setting it right down into the wok, if necessary, to cover and steam vegetables.
4. Return beef to pan and add stir-fry sauce.
Cook until sauce thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve.
Fat 12.3 g.
Saturated Fat 3.4 g.
Cholesterol 34.9 mg.
Sodium 786.8 mg.
Carbohydrates 21.9 g.
Total Sugars 6.7 g.
Dietary Fiber 4.3 g.
Protein 22.8 g.Tweet
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