Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 2: Vitamin C--the Immune Vitamin

Most people, when they think of Vitamin C think of Orange juice. After today's blog, hopefully, you will know a few more foods that have this precious vitamin in it. I got 1038 grams of Vitamin C in my food:

Today I had:

8am juice of whole head cabbage and 6 carrots blended with
whole head parsley
5 green apples
2 cups strawberries
handful of spinach

7 bananas


1/2 head cauliflower
pint cherry tomatoes
fresh basil
tsp of sunflower seeds on top
3 brazil nuts

Smoothie later:
whole head cabbage juiced
5 green apples
2 cups strawberries
handful of spinach

Humans and primates are the only mammals that cannot make their own Vitamin C in their bodies. Here's what Wikipedia had to say about it:

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress. It is also a cofactor in at least eight enzymatic reactions including several collagen synthesis reactions that, when dysfunctional, cause the most severe symptoms of scurvy. In animals these reactions are especially important in wound-healing and in preventing bleeding from capillaries.
Ascorbate (an ion of ascorbic acid) is required for a range of essential metabolic reactions in all animals and plants. It is made internally by almost all organisms although notable mammalian group exceptions are most or all of the order chiroptera (bats), guinea pigs, capybaras, and one of the two major primate suborders, the Anthropoidea (Haplorrhini) (tarsiers, monkeys and apes, including human beings). Ascorbic acid is also not synthesized by some species of birds and fish. All species that do not synthesize ascorbate require it in the diet. Deficiency in this vitamin causes the disease scurvy in humans.

The full extent of the effects and recommended daily intake of vitamin C are matters of ongoing debate, with RDI ranging from 45mg to 400mg or more per day,

I was interested in the symptoms of scurvy, so I looked that up, too, and here's what I found:

Early symptoms are malaise and lethargy. After 1–3 months, patients develop shortness of breath and bone pain. Myalgias may occur because of reduced carnitine production. Other symptoms include skin changes with roughness, easy bruising and petchiae ( , gum disease, loosening of teeth, poor wound healing, and emotional changes. Dry mouth and dry eyes similar to Sjogren's syndrome may occur. In the late stages, jaundice, generalized edema, oliguria, neuropathy, fever, and convulsions, and eventual death are frequently seen.

A little history on scurvy:

In the 13th century, the Crusaders frequently suffered from scurvy. In the 1497 expedition of Vasco de Gama, the curative effects of citrus fruit were known.[15] In 1536, the French explorer Jacques Cartier, exploring the St. Lawrence River, used the local natives' knowledge to save his men who were dying of scurvy. He boiled the needles of the arbor vitae tree (Eastern White Cedar) to make a tea that was later shown to contain 50 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams.[16][17] Such treatments were not available aboard ship, where the disease was most common.

Between 1500 and 1800, it has been estimated that scurvy killed at least two million sailors.[18] According to Jonathan Lamb, "In 1499, Vasco da Gama lost 116 of his crew of 170; In 1520, Magellan lost 208 out of 230;...all mainly to scurvy."[19]

In 1593 Admiral Sir Richard Hawkins advocated drinking orange and lemon juice as a means of preventing scurvy.

And the foods they recommend to avoid scurvy?

Scurvy can be prevented by a diet that includes certain citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. Other sources rich in vitamin C are fruits such as blackcurrants, guava, kiwifruit, papaya, tomatoes, bell peppers, and strawberries. It can also be found in some vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, spinach and paprika. Some fruits and vegetables not high in vitamin C may be pickled in lemon juice, which is high in vitamin C. Though redundant in the presence of a balanced diet,[11] various nutritional supplements are available that provide ascorbic acid well in excess of that required to prevent scurvy, and even some candies and most soft drinks contain vitamin C as a preservative.

Many animal products, including liver, Muktuk (whale skin), oysters, and parts of the centrail nervous sytem, including the brain, spinal cord, and adrenal medula, contain large amounts of vitamin C, and can even be used to treat scurvy.

Here's how to create a vitamin C deficiency or get bleeding gums:

1) Eat a cooked vegan diet of grains, nuts, seeds and beans. Include lots of soy and tofu and white flour and pasta and bread.There is very littlr vitamin C in these foods. Make sure you don't eat any vegetables or fruits. You will have bleeding gums in no time.

2) Eat junk food all the time with coffee, donuts, pizza, soft drinks and lots of white flour. Yup, you'll get a C deficiency mighty quick.

The fresh foods highest in this Vitmain are:

1 cup kale: 60g
1 head green leaf lettuce: 65 g
1 head romaine or cos lettuce: 150
1 head cabbage: 332
1 honeydew: 180
1 canteloupe: 203
1 head cauliflower: 267
1 head broccoli--542
Bell Pepper-190

Here's some other common foods:

bran flakes cereal-0
pizza hut pepperoni pizza-24
taco bell bean burrito--0
soy burger--0
corn tortilla-0
taco bell rice--3.6
cottage cheese--0
subway veggie delight sandwich--21
pizza hut spaghetti--0
burger king cheese burger--1.2
ham and cheese sandwich--2.8

So, there you have it. How do fruitarians and raw vegans fare? If done correctly, there's an abundance of Vitamin C in fruits and veggies. Oranges have 83g and bananas have only 12 per banana, so 30 bananas yields about 360g a day. Figs are really low, having only 2 g and dates have ZERO (at least by the nutrition website I was using).

Lamb's quarters has 180g.

Nuts have very little Vitamin C as do grains and beans. Brown rice has zero.

We are seeing a theme, here aren't we? Fruits and vegetables should form the base, if not the entire part, of our diets. We are setting ourselves up for shortages and disease by not eating them.

And there are some foods that should be avoided entirely as they offer no nutritive value beyond carbohydrates, fats and protein.

Some other interesting factoids about Vitamin C:

It is the least stable of vitamins and is very sensitive to oxygen. It's potency can be lost to exposure to light, heat, and air--so cooking destroys about 50% of this vitamin.

It plays a key role in healing wounds and burns because it facilitates teh formation of connective tissue in the scar.

It aids in forming red blood cells and preventing hemorrhaging.  Vitamin C acts as a anti-histamine.

Vitamin C must be supplied through out the day as daily struggles and hassles deplete this vitamin. The body's ability to absorb Vitamin C is reduced by smoking, stress, high fever and fumes of petroleum. Baking soda creates an alkaline environment that destroys vitamin C.

Cooking in copper utensils will destroy vitamin C.

Deficiency is noted by split ends in hair, dry and tangled hair, bleeding gums, tendency to bruising, weakened enamel, swollen or painful joints, slow healing of wounds. Teeth may become loose and fillings may fall out.

The lubricating fluid of joints (synovial fluid) becomes thinner (allowing freer movement) when the serum levels of ascorbic acid are high.

The need for the vitamin increase with age, because of greater need to regenerate collagen.

Vitamin C and E have helped varicose veins and has been successful in treating snake and spider bites, bee stings, and rabies and can help protect against frostbite.

Vitamin C helps victims of shock from injury, electric voltage and lightning. It prevents prickly heat and heat stroke.

Powdered vitamin C mixed with water to form a paste and then applied to the skin will clear up poison ivy or aok in 24 hours if also taken in the diet as well.

As you can see, this vitamin plays many key roles in keeping us well, so it behooves us to get enough DAILY.

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