Vitamin C As Good As Working Out?

September 21, 2015

Your cardiovascular system loves when you exercise, but also may love it just as much when you get your vitamin C.

Can vitamin C be as good for your cardiovascular system as working out? A new small study from University of Colorado, Boulder compared the effects of vitamin C and exercise on the protein known as endothelin-1, which has a constricting action on small blood vessels. 

The protein's activity is raised in those who are overweight, and because of this, small vessels are more prone to constricting and becoming less responsive to blood flow demand and increasing the risk of vascular disease. Exercise has been shown to reduce endothelin-1 activity - thus improving blood flow.

Caitlin Dow, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder, led the study and found that supplementation of vitamin C at a time-release dose of 500 mg daily reduced endothelin-1-mediated vessel constriction as much as walking did. Keep in mind this was just a small study but highlights the importance of both exercise and a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. 

More on vitamin C:
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is water soluble, therefore easily excreted from the body when consumed in excess. It’s critical for the metabolism of living creatures; surprisingly almost all mammals use their own cells to make it, except for humans, guinea pigs, gorillas, bats, chimps, and birds, who need to eat foods with this essential vitamin. 

This critical nutrient is believed to do wonders in improving the immune system and keeping colds and flus at bay as well as protecting against cardiovascular diseases, cancers, joint diseases, and cataracts, which are all associated with low levels of vitamin C intake. Vitamin C achieves much of its protective effect by functioning as an antioxidant, mopping up free radicals. Structures that contain fat are also particularly dependent on vitamin C for protection. 

Head to the produce aisle for vitamin C rich foods!
The richest sources of vitamin C are sweet peppers, black currants, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, and turnip greens. Other prime sources for vitamin C include papayas and mangoes, pineapple, strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi, cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. Other vegetables high in vitamin C are okra, squash, cabbage, dark leafy greens, cauliflower, peas, sweet potatoes, and asparagus.

Vitamin C is heat sensitive so the longer you cook veggies, the more the vitamin decreases; raw, fresh vegetables contain the most. The faster and lower heat the cooking method, the better!