The standard American diet has left the majority of us deficient in vitamin C! Prolonged deficiency could result in . . .

tissue degeneration of the heart, arteries, and veins, increasing the risk for cardiovascular problems.  Vitamin C helps protect us from damage caused by chemicals.  Those who may be at high risk for vitamin C deficiency include:

*Those who eat a diet high in fried foods, sugar, and processed foods.

*Those who take anti-coagulants, cortisone, large amounts of pain killers, aspirin, and birth control pills.

*Cigarette smokers and those affected by second-hand smoke.

*Those who chew tobacco and consume excessive amounts of alcohol.

*Those on long-term antibiotic therapy.

*Those who regularly use the microwave to heat or cook food.

*Those often exposed to x-rays and/or other forms of medical radiation.

*Those exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace and/or home:  tanning salons, dry cleaners, oil and gas refineries, gas stations, carpet and tile installers, flight attendants and airline pilots, furniture refinishers, farmers, carpet plants, nuclear waste disposal, miners, truck drivers, water/sewage treatment, battery plants, roofers, hair salons, plastic factories, road/asphalt workers, and cleaning and deodorizing chemicals we use in our homes and put on our bodies!

Many people think that they are getting the recommended daily amount of vitamin C by drinking commercial orange juice.  This may not be the case.  Cooking, pasteurization, long-term storage, and synthetic chemicals added to restore color and taste, may leave little to none of the original vitamin C.

Less than 5% of the American diet comes from fresh uncooked foods.

Fresh produce that is allowed to sun-ripen before it is picked contains the most vitamin C.  Most citrus fruits (grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons, etc.) are picked green and ripened in warehouses.  Toxic gases are often used to finish the ripening process, and other chemicals may be used to keep them from spoiling before they reach the produce department of your local grocery store!

Storage, shipping, and chemicals all destroy vitamin C!

Other problems that could result from a vitamin C deficiency include frequent infections, easy bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, tooth decay, belly fat, lack of energy, anxiety, and respiratory problems.  A low intake of vitamin C has also been shown to double the risk of hip fractures!

Many processed foods contain ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C), often derived from corn, which may be genetically modified.  This could cause problems for those with corn allergies.  Ascorbic acid is also a common additive in soft drinks, along with the preservative sodium benzoate:

Together, ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate produce benzene, a known carcinogen!  Not the kind of vitamin C you’re looking for!

The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 90 mg. for adult males and 75 mg. for adult females, and your body only absorbs so much at one time.  If you choose to supplement, one way to find out when your body reaches its saturation point is to start with the recommended daily amount, slowly add extra until your bowel movements are loose, and then take the last amount that didn’t cause diarrhea.

Studies indicate that, when it comes to stroke prevention, vitamin C supplements don’t offer the same protection as eating the whole citrus fruits.  On the other hand, there have been indications that taking more than 350 to 400 mg. of supplemental vitamin C a day for a period of at least 10 years seems to help lower the risk of developing cataracts.  Remember, it’s the cumulative effects of nutrients and deficiencies that make the long-term difference in our health!

Your daily vitamin C intake depends upon your lifestyle factors:  diet, stress, and chemical exposure!

The pulp (pith–white part between the peel and fruit) of citrus fruits contains 10 times more vitamin C than the juice, and frozen orange juice contains more vitamin C than those in cartons and bottles.  Eat the pith and buy juice that contains pulp.

Get your daily intake of foods rich in vitamin C!

1 large yellow bell pepper contains an average of 341 mg.

1 large red bell pepper contains an average of 312 mg.

1 large orange bell pepper contains an average of 238 mg.

1 large green bell pepper contains an average of 132 mg.

1 cup raw chopped broccoli contains an average of 79 mg.

1 cup fresh sliced strawberries contains an average of 97 mg.

1 cup papaya cubes contains an average of 87 mg.

1 navel orange contains an average of 83 mg.

1 medium kiwi contains an average of 70 mg.

1 cup cubed cantaloupe contains an average of 59 mg.

1 cup fresh orange juice contains an average of 124 mg.

1 cup orange juice from concentrate contains an average of 97 mg.

Of course, nutrient content varies depending upon the condition of the soil the plant was grown in, chemicals used during growing and harvesting, and how much is lost from the farm to your table.

An easy way to add more vitamin C to your diet is to drink fresh lemon water every morning.  Vitamin C can help fight cell damage, chronic inflammation, and strengthen the immune system, and lemons also contain limonin, a substance shown to help prevent cancer, strengthen blood vessel linings, elevate beneficial liver enzymes, and reduce artery-clogging cholesterol.

Add a dash of cayenne pepper to your lemon water for extra vitamin C and to help boost metabolism and circulation.

Note:  Grapefruit increases the bioavailability of certain drugs.  Consult with your health care provider if you are taking oral medication to make sure that grapefruit won’t interfere with any medication.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Healthy Lifestyle Coach, CNC, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”


This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care professional about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.



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