Patriotic Pigments: Eat your red, white & blue!

 

Looking down at my breakfast this morning, luscious berries in a cushion of oatmeal, I was suddenly overcome with patriotism. Well, at least I was struck by the patriotic resemblance to our nation’s red, white and blue banner as Fourth of July nears.

And so, I became inspired to talk about the colors in our food! Continue reading “Patriotic Pigments: Eat your red, white & blue!”

Super Size Your C Today

 

We all know Vitamin C, right?

Vitamin_C_(1989_calendar_march)We run to the drug store for copious amounts of it, especially when cold season starts to manhandle us midweek and can’t afford to get sick. We know our orange juice is chock full of it. We know it’s in a lot of citrus fruits, which protects us all from scurvy. So, at least no one can call us Scurvy Knaves anymore, like in Shakespeare’s day. But maybe that’s about as far as some of us can venture when describing why we need this essential vitamin.

So here’s a trivia question: Do you know Vitamin C by its more official name? Next time this comes up at Trivia Night at your local watering hole, you can proudly shout out “Ascorbic acid!” and sound amazing.

Ascorbic acid/Vitamin C is vital to our body structure and brain health. It’s one of the greatest cancer-fighting antioxidant nutrients we can get in our diet along with Vitamin E and many phyto-chemicals (chemical compounds in food that give fruits and vegetables their colors). It’s integral in assisting our bodies to produce the protein collagen that keeps our body structure, well, structured and put together by keeping our cells in place. Collagen is a primary ingredient in building bones and skin, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons. It aids in wound healing (from simple cuts to even broken bones!), in immune system response for prevention of infection to spread, protects the heart, and helps build hormones that help us deal with stress in our lives.

It’s also one of the key elements in our bodies making neurotransmitters, especially serotonin. Low serotonin is often associated with depression. So Vitamin C could help in keeping moods level. It’s pretty nifty, too, in helping our bodies digest more iron. And for us ladies, that’s always a plus.

Wow, right? And the best source of Vitamin C is through food consumption rather than a taking a supplement. So let’s start eating some oranges, you say!

Believe it or not, that orange you are peeling or juicing right now does not have the highest Vitamin C content. Surprised? Guava is actually the fruit with the highest known Vitamin C content (125 mg per fruit), followed by papaya (180 mg/fruit), strawberries (85 mg/fruit), pineapple (80 mg/fruit), and kiwifruit (74 mg/fruit). Oh yeah, and THEN we have the orange (70 mg/fruit). Cantaloupe, honeydew melons, grapefruit and mangoes aren’t terrible sources, either.

And other amazing non-fruit sources are bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts (yeah, not my favorite either), kale, tomatoes, and peas.

So feel free to enjoy a good dose of Vitamin C today. Be well, everyone!