The supermarket’s produce aisle is filled with immune boosting fall fruits and vegetables that boast high levels of healthful antioxidants.
The holiday season is getting started and that means indulgent dinners, party planning, choosing the right gifts, preparing meals, cocktail parties and more. Although cheery, this busy time of the year can also be very stressful and take a toll on your health.
Luckily the supermarket’s produce aisle is filled with immune boosting fall fruits and vegetables that boast high levels of healthful antioxidants.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is water soluble, therefore easily excreted from the body when consumed in excess. It's so critical for the metabolism of living creatures that almost all mammals use their own cells to make it. Humans, guinea pigs, gorillas, bats, chimps, and birds are some of the few animals that cannot make vitamin C on their own and thus need to eat foods that contain it.
In addition to boosting immunity, another benefit of vitamin C is its role in the formation of collagen, the basis of connective tissue in skin, capillary walls, bones, and teeth. Wounds heal faster and blood vessels are healthier when our bodies receive adequate vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy, which causes lesions on the skin and mucous membranes (all collagen related).
Head to the produce aisle for vitamin C rich foods!
The richest sources of vitamin C during the late fall are: apples, figs, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, fennel, persimmons, and turnip greens. Other vegetables high in vitamin C are okra, winter squash, cabbage, dark leafy greens, cauliflower, peas, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C is heat sensitive so the longer you cook veggies, the more the vitamin decreases; raw fruits and vegetables contain the most. The faster the cooking method the better!
The other benefit of eating a lot of vitamin C rich foods is that they also contain other health boasting components including vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber - which all contribute to health.
Adding vitamin C to your diet is as delicious as it is easy. Although oranges and orange juice are most commonly sited for vitamin C, consider adding some of the seasonal veggies and fruit mentioned above. Keep in mind that the amount of vitamin C found in food varies greatly. In general, unripe food is much lower in vitamin C than ripe, thus vitamin C content is higher when the food is picked at its peak freshness. And as always, what’s local and seasonal will be the freshest and most nutritious.