Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is one of the most essential — and most popular! — nutrients in the world. Why? In part because our bodies can’t make it on their own, which means we have to rely on food and supplements to meet our needs. It also plays an incredibly important role in our health and our skin — which is why you’ll hear health and beauty experts alike praising it.
Here’s everything you should know about this essential vitamin.
Vitamin C and Your Health
You’ve probably heard of vitamin C in the content of the immunity, and it’s true that this nutrient is essential for a healthy immune system: Studies have suggested that people taking vitamin C may experience fewer cold symptoms and for a shorter duration. Right now — with COVID-19 shaping our perspective on the world and our own health — it’s more essential than ever.
That said, the benefits for your health don’t end with the common cold. It plays an essential role in literally dozens of other important bodily functions. For example, it’s essential for the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine — which is known as the “feel good” hormone — and other chemicals in the brain that are responsible for regulating our mood, motivation, and connections with others. As it turns out, researchers are even studying its role in preventing the development of diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C and Your Skin
When your skin, there are a ton of important connections to talk about. For one, vitamin C is required for collagen production. If this is the first time you’re hearing about collagen, it’s a major structural protein found anywhere from the skin and joints to the bones, blood vessels, and connective tissues. As we age, collagen production decreases and our existing collagen breaks down, which can lead to wrinkles, premature aging, and a loss of overall skin elasticity. When you get your daily dose, you’re supporting your body’s natural collagen production and safeguarding your skin health in the long-term.
This essential vitamin can also benefit skin health directly, thanks to its potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants like vitamin C help protect against and repair the skin from environmental damage, UV damage, and hyperpigmentation which can all sabotage the healthy, natural glow we’re all chasing. Vitamin C is the most abundant antioxidant in the skin and one of the most commonly recommended active ingredients by dermatologists, estheticians and aestheticians alike.
Finally, vitamin C has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants — like vitamin E, which protects against sun damage — in the body.
How to Get Your Daily Dose
At Clean Plates, we always take a food-first approach to wellness, which means we recommend getting of this vital nutrient as you can through vitamin C-rich foods:
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
- Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit
- Green and red peppers
- Kiwi fruit
- Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries
- Sweet and white potatoes
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Winter squash
Luckily, these foods are delicious, versatile, and easy to incorporate into smoothies and salads. If you’re not sure where to start, try this avocado spinach smoothie or this blueberry bliss smoothie recipes. (Oh, and here’s how to make broccoli delicious!) Just make sure that when you’re whipping up vitamin C-rich foods in the kitchen you don’t cook them for too long because that decreases the vitamin C content.
You can also take a supplement with vitamin C, or — even better — you can take a supplement that combines collagen and vitamin C. This is by far the best way to support healthy skin. Think about it: You’re increasing your collagen intake, supporting your body’s natural collagen production, and increasing your intake of skin-healing antioxidants in one simple supplement.
Look for a supplement that contains grass-fed or free-range hydrolyzed collagen without binders, fillers, or added sugar. That way, you get the nutrients you want in the purest, healthiest form possible.
What’s your favorite way to get your daily dose?