Many people think vitamin C is an unimportant nutrient, but nothing could be further from the truth. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the best-known antioxidants. It was first made famous by the work of Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel laureate who pioneered much of the research on its benefits.
More research has been done on vitamin C than any other nutrient. To start with, vitamin C can help to delay the onset of cataracts by 10 years. It also helps to promote immune, bone and joint health.
But perhaps most importantly, vitamin C supports your heart by:
- Preventing coronary artery disease by enhancing the body’s level of natural glutathione, a potent free radical scavenger that protects the arteries.
- Strengthening the blood vessel walls by enabling the synthesis of collagen in the connective tissue of the arterial walls. Weakened collagen can permit noxious oxidized LDL, homocysteine, Lp(a), cigarette smoke, and heavy metals to cause inflammatory reactions in the vascular lining—which starts the atherosclerotic plaque formation process.
- Improving vasodilation, which is the ability of the heart’s arteries to widen when more blood is needed—a key factor in preventing heart disease. The reason vitamin C helps is by increasing the availability of nitric oxide (NO), a vasodilation promoter.
Vitamin C is an “essential” nutrient, meaning our bodies don’t manufacture it—so you need to get it from foods or supplements. I recommend taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C in the morning. It’s also important to eat vitamin C rich foods, including broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries and citrus fruits such as pink grapefruit and oranges.
Now it’s your turn: Which vitamin C rich foods do you like the most?