As the pandemic persists since the outbreak, people have been looking for preventative measures, from home remedies to pharmacological treatments. A retrospective research published by the Ministry of Health Malaysia stated that high dose of vitamin C supplementation does improve the conditions of severe COVID-19 patients during their hospital stays, particularly those who are admitted to ICU, by shortening their hospital stays, shorter duration from relying on breathing support and 57% reduction of mortality risk.
The outcomes were contributed from vitamin C’s functions in,
- protecting cells from oxidative stress, which is caused by the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body that would contribute to aging of cells, which would further cause cell dysfunction and increase risk of chronic diseases.
- reducing the body’s acute anti-inflammatory response, where the body regulates normal responses to external stimulus such as injury or virus infection, followed by promoting speedy recovery on the inflamed sites.
- enhancing recovery of lung cells in restoring its functions, as vitamin C repairs and promotes surfactant production, the “lubricant” of lung cells to improve breathing.
HOW VITAMIN C HELPS?
- Enhance wound healing
Vitamin C is essential for building collagen in your body for maintaining skin integrity and promoting wound healing. Scurvy, the inflammation and bleeding of gums, one of the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency that is caused by lack of vitamin C in the body to make collagen to form strong and healthy gums.
- Enhance absorption of iron
Vitamin C helps to enhance the iron absorption especially non-heme iron that can be found in plant-based sources such as cereals, dark leafy greens and more. For example, you may add on a glass of orange juice with your favourite oatmeal bowl to make up a good combination of vitamins and minerals to start off your day.
- Strength your body immune system
Vitamin C helps to fight off cold or infections by working together with the body immune system to regulate normal immune response. Hence, we encourage you to include more vitamin C rich foods in your diet.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN C DO WE NEED A DAY?
For average healthy adults aged 19 to 65 years old, 70mg per day of vitamin C daily requirement can be achieved by adequate intake of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C content.
VITAMIN C = ORANGE ?
People often have the conception of orange containing high levels of vitamin C. Actually there are more fruits and vegetables available out there that contain a higher amount of vitamin C as compared to orange. (Vitamin C in orange – 39.6 mg/100g )
Here are top 10 vitamin C- rich foods that you can find in ZENXIN:
1. Sea Buckthorn (400 mg/100g)
Being one of the world’s most nutritionally complete foods, it contains more than 190 active compounds that are beneficial in achieving optimal health. Its significantly high content of vitamin C would make a perfect fruit or juice as your daily immune booster. Besides, sea buckthorn contains other antioxidants such as polyphenol, flavonoids and also essential unsaturated fatty acids, the omega 7 fatty acids for maintaining optimal health.
2. Kale (107 mg/100g)
Kale is also one of the nutrient-dense foods that is packed with nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin K that helps in strengthening bone. Kale can be consumed raw by including it into your smoothie, fruit juice or even baking it into all-time favourite kale chips as your snack.
3. Choy Sum (89 mg/100g)
Choy Sum with garlic and oyster sauce is one of the most popular dishes in oriental cuisine. Lightly blanch the vegetables and top with fragrant seasonings to preserve the crunchy texture and nutrients the most, especially vitamin C that is sensitive to heat.
4. Broccoli (85 mg/100g)
Broccoli is best to be consumed as blanched or lightly sauteed to preserve its nutrients maximally. It does great in promoting heart health as it is an antioxidants-dense cruciferous vegetable.
5. Siew Pak Choy (60 mg/100g)
Another green leafy vegetable packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, fibre and more. It is suitable to be stir-fried, blanched or made into vegetable soup.
6. Strawberry (58.8 mg/100g)
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and often consumed as dessert fruit. It contains ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound that pairs with vitamin C to provide skin-whitening effect, promote heart health and reduce cancer risk.
7. Spinach (56.4 mg/100g)
Consuming spinach is known for benefiting eye, bone and heart health. It is also rich in vitamins, minerals and anticancer compounds. Spinach is low in calories (23 kcal/100g), which makes a great choice for those who need to keep their weight in check.
8. Carrot (53 mg/100g)
Whenever we mention carrot, we often relate it with vitamin A and its function in promoting eye health. Carrot also contains vitamin C, thus, it is suggested to prepare it raw with peels intact as more concentrated vitamin C and niacin can be found in peels as compared to its core or flesh. But remember to choose organic and wash it thoroughly to remove dirt on its surface before consumption.
9. Bitter gourd (53 mg/100g)
Regardless of its bitterness that some people may dislike, bitter gourd is an excellent source for vitamin C, iron, magnesium and even twice the amount of calcium as compared to spinach.
10. Goji berry (48.4 mg/100g)
Goji berry, or known as wolfberry, often related to being beneficial for eye health, is also an excellent source of vitamin C. It can be used as topping on your dishes or added into your herbal tea for its “Qi” and “Blood” nourishing properties.
Conclusion: Balanced diet that incorporates adequate intake of fruits and vegetables in different colours is the key to a stronger body with a powerful immune system that can fight against any infections or viruses. Get your “5 A Day” from at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits per day.
To know more about the serving sizes, check out here:
Information adapted from:
- Research article by Ministry of Health, Malaysia: Effect of high dose Vitamin C supplementation on severe Covid-19 patients in the ICU.
- RNI 2017
- Gutzeit D, Baleanu G, Winterhalter P, Jerz G. Vitamin C content in sea buckthorn berries (Hippophaë rhamnoides L. ssp. rhamnoides) and related products: a kinetic study on storage stability and the determination of processing effects. J Food Sci. 2008 Nov;73(9):C615-20.