From our parents, teachers, to our doctors, it seems that our whole life, we have been reminded of the importance of the many vitamins and minerals, as well as any other nutrients, and the roles that they play in maintaining our good health. But one vitamin has always been especially popular with that being the famous Vitamin C!
Vitamin C has a long list of beneficial effects that we have the opportunity to use to improve our health. But that is not all. Apparently, Vitamin C is even able to help us get closer to our beach body. In many ways, this vitamin makes it possible to shed those extra body pounds and finally eliminate that annoying belly fat. So let's see how this is actually possible.
The many health benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin found in many delicious fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, Vitamin C cannot be produced by our body, which is why it is essential that we satisfy our daily requirements for this nutrient. Although it is commonly advised that we use the fruits and veggies rich in Vitamin C in order to do so, there is also a variety of brands offering their versions of Vitamin C supplements (1).
There is no denying the fact that what we are talking about here is one essential nutrient. Vitamin C has multiple health benefits when introduced to our body on a daily level. In the following, we will discuss some of the most important bodily functions of the one and only – Vitamin C!
It prevents Vitamin C deficiency
One condition that Vitamin C can certainly help with is Vitamin C deficiency. By introducing this vitamin on a daily basis, you can help both prevent and treat an existing Vitamin C deficiency. And Vitamin C deficiency is not uncommon at all.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nearly 7.1% of the American population is struggling with Vitamin C deficiency, with most of them being unaware of the symptoms (2). The common symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums, bruising, fatigue, and skin rash (3).
It is a powerful antioxidant
Vitamin C is one of the strongest antioxidants known to men. It protects us by removing the harmful free radicals which are known to promote a state called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been found to be the reason for multiple health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. (4).
There are many studies done in order to determine the various health benefits of introducing a strong antioxidant as Vitamin C is in our diet. Consuming more Vitamin C can help boost the blood antioxidant levels by 30%, which strengthens the body's natural defense mechanisms that fight inflammation (5, 6).
It lowers high blood pressure
More and more people struggle with high blood pressure nowadays. In fact, 1 in every 3 American adults has been diagnosed with high blood pressure (7). This is one of the many risk factors for developing heart disease, which is the number one cause of death on a global level (8).
Luckily for us, Vitamin C is here to save the situation. Studies have shown that regular use of Vitamin C supplementation has proven to be an effective way to reduce high blood pressure, in both animal and human subjects (9, 10).
It lowers the risk of heart disease
Vitamin C can help reduce the risk of heart disease by eliminating many of the contributing factors for this health issue, and it does not stop at high blood pressure. In the past, studies have shown that supplementing with 500mg of Vitamin C has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure but also reduce the levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are otherwise known to be significant risk factors for heart disease (11).
It prevents iron deficiency
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common types of anemia. In a state such as this, the blood lacks the needed healthy red blood cells. As the term suggests, this type of anemia happens due to iron deficiency. Research shows that 30-50% of the children and adults that have been classified as anemic have been struggling with iron deficiency anemia (12).
And yet again, Vitamin C is here to save the situation. This vital nutrient is included in the absorption of iron from the iron-rich foods that we include in our diet. Vitamin C helps with the conversion part of the process of iron that is poorly absorbed into a form of his that makes it easier for our bodies to get the most out of it (13).
It strengthens your immune system
One of the best-known health benefits of Vitamin C is its ability to give our immune system a real boost. In fact, this is the main reason why most people decide to introduce this vital vitamin into their diet, being unaware of all of the additional health benefits that we discussed before.
Vitamin C boosts the production of the white blood cells, which, as you may know, are responsible for fighting those nasty infections (14). There is also the benefit of it being a strong antioxidant and reducing the levels of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. In addition, it has been scientifically proven that Vitamin C shortens the amount of time needed for any wounds to heal properly (15).
Lose weight with the help of Vitamin C
Vitamin C keeps surprising us. Is there anything that this powerful vitamin cannot do? We do not think so! Apparently, Vitamin C can be used in the fight against those last stubborn body pounds and our even more stubborn belly fat. Yes, you read it right. We have yet another natural and effective weight-loss method to add it to your list. Now let’s list all of the ways through which Vitamin C helps shed those body pounds, shall we?
It helps detox your bowels
It is the upper part of our intestine that is responsible for absorbing enough Vitamin C from the Vitamin C-rich foods that we include in our diet. Vitamin C that has not been properly absorbed, continues to travel down to the lower part of the intestines. If taken in large doses, Vitamin C can induce watery diarrhea to happen. This is also known as "lavage," which is just the thing that we need when we try to detox our bowels.
There are multiple health benefits of regular bowel cleansing. For starters, it gives your weight loss process a kick start and continues to make your digestive system more effective, preventing constipation, improving your metabolism, boosting your energy levels, etc. (16).
All of these effects have a positive influence on your weight loss process. However, you need to be very careful when doing a Vitamin C flush. Please do consult your doctor before, especially if you are struggling with any health issues.
It boosts your energy levels
We all know how important regular exercise is as a part of the weight loss process. But with our busy schedule, it is often hard to find the energy that we need to head off to the gym and complete an hour-long workout. Although getting enough sleep the night before and eating some healthy carbs can certainly boost your energy levels, you can also rely on Vitamin C to do the job for you.
In a study published in Nutrition, back in 2013, the effects of Vitamin C in the fight against fatigue have been examined. The participants have been divided into two groups, with both groups performing 60 minutes of exercise at an intensity of 50 percent of predicted maximal oxygen consummation; however, only one of the groups received Vitamin C supplementation. The results showed that the group which received Vitamin C supplementation showed reduced fatigue levels, lower post-workout cortisol levels, and improved recovery overall (17).
With effects such as these, it is highly unlikely that you would be saying no to satisfying your daily needs for Vitamin C. In fact, we believe that you will be putting an extra effort into getting as much as Vitamin C rich foods into your diet as possible.
It burns belly fat and improves your insulin sensitivity
Although most of us really think of getting some Vitamin C into their system only whenever they are struggling with a cold, what we do not realize is that this powerful vitamin also plays an important role in managing our blood sugar levels.
If you are trying to lose weight, then you probably know how important it is to manage your blood sugar levels at a minimum, to allow your body to use the stored fats instead as an energy source. Well, luckily for us, supplementing with 1,000 mg of Vitamin C has been linked to reduced blood sugar levels, triglycerides, "bad" LDL cholesterol, and insulin levels, according to a 2007 study (18).
But the link between Vitamin C and blood sugar levels is not relevant only because of its involvement in the weight loss process. Because of the similar structure between Vitamin C and glucose, they compete with one another to enter our body cells. This means that if we are struggling with high blood glucose levels, we are exposed to the danger of a Vitamin C deficiency from happening, with all of the complications that may follow. So keeping your blood glucose levels low will not only benefit your weight loss process, but it will also benefit your overall health as well.
How much Vitamin C is too much?
We understand why you would like to intake all the Vitamin C that you can, now that you know all of the health benefits and especially how it can help you shed those last couple of stubborn body pounds. But as with any other nutrient and anything in life actually, more does not always equal better.
The daily recommendation of Vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men (19). In fact, anyone who likes to shield themselves from the possible negative effects should introduce no more than 2,000 mg on a daily basis. Although Vitamin C seems to be very unlikely to cause serious side-effects when introduced in high doses, there is still the risk of diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea.
How to add more Vitamin C in your diet
The easiest way to add more Vitamin C in your diet is to incorporate more of the Vitamin C-rich foods into your meals. The best examples of Vitamin C-rich foods are citrus fruits that include oranges, lemons, kiwi fruit, guava, and grapefruit. Then we also have papaya, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
As for veggies, you should look for broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, capsicums, kale, and parsley. If you are currently following the Keto diet or simply would like to avoid the Vitamin C rich foods that come with way too many carbs, we would recommend stocking up on bell peppers, sugar snap peas, broccoli, kohlrabi, red cabbage, strawberries, etc.
You can use all of these foods to prepare delicious fruits or veggies, salads, smoothies, or as a side dish that will go great with some chicken or fish. And if you are worried that you are not introducing enough Vitamin C, you can always consult your doctor about recommending a quality Vitamin C supplement and the proper dosage according to your gender, age, physical activity, health status, diet, etc.
With Vitamin C, you no longer need to pay for any expensive weight loss shakes or energy drinks to help you get that body of your dreams. With this amazing vitamin, it is as simple as eating a few strawberries, some papaya, and some bell peppers on a daily basis to satisfy the daily requirements for Vitamin C. Yes, it is truly as easy as that. You will feel more energized, your blood glucose levels will reduce, and you will burn more calories than ever – all with the help of this strong antioxidant.