VITAMIN C: TRUTHS & MYTHS
Now’s the time to get your skin to truly glow with health and Vitamin C is here to help. Probably the best known of all the vitamins however, there are a fair few assumptions around this health-bringing essential Vitamin that are worth busting. Prepare to be surprised...
Not the cold cure we thought it was
In fact there’s little evidence to suggest that stocking up on Vitamin C has any impact on how likely you are to catch a cold and only minimal impact on how speedily you get better. What it is brilliant at though is helping your body heal and repair. In particular it’s a skincare essential as well as an effective anti-oxidant and can boost collagen production – the stuff that keeps our skin looking youthful and glowing with health.Skincare over claims abound
You’ll spot lots of skincare products that jump on the Vitamin C anti-ageing bandwagon, but not all of them contain it in a form that the skin can readily use. Topical application of Vitamin C is possible but needs to be in a specific form - for example as L-ascorbic acid. Shop smart and read the small print. (Though pretty pricy, we've been impressed by SkinCeauticals when it comes to clever topical treatments - check out their Vitamin C serum range here). Better still, get your Vitamin C the traditional way, through a healthy, fruit and vegetable rich diet.More than just oranges
It's true that citrus fruits are great sources of Vitamin C. Lemons, limes and grapefruits are all stacked with the stuff, as well as the various members of the orange family. However there are other things on the fruit and veg list that pack a higher Vit C punch. Think blackcurrants (relative powerhouses), red and green peppers, and the red berries we love through the summer (strawberries and raspberries both get big ticks). Even the humble potato is a Vitamin C source, with twice as much in there per gram than you'll find in a tomato (who knew?).
Vitamin C is notoriously tricky to store. As soon as it is exposed to the air and to light its benefits start to deplete. That means if you want to max out on its benefits you need to buy food at its freshest and eat as soon as you can. If you are juicing, zap it then drink it straight away rather than store in the fridge for later. When it comes to beauty products, Vitamin C is one of the many active ingredients that start to diminish quite quickly so opt for products packed in opaque, air-tight bottles or jars. Clear glass or plastic lets in the light and will weaken the overall effect.Killed by cooking
Heat damages Vitamin C too so the ideal way to get your fix is to eat it raw. Not hard when it comes in the form of so many tasty fruit and veggies. Look for ways to get them in to both savoury dishes as well as sweet. And in to drinks as well as eating. If you do need to cook then tread lightly - steam or boil lightly and blanch to minimise the loss of nutrients.
Our body can't store Vitamin C either so its important that we top ourselves up daily to keep our levels nice and high. Make sure you get at least your five a day and make this a lifestyle choice rather than an occasional habit if you want to keep yourself glowing with health.
Here's a Vitamin C loaded juice recipe from gourmandelle.com to get your started...
This super skin glow juice is packed with vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. Oranges, ginger, carrots, cucumbers and apples, will make your skin look healthy, glowing and beautiful. Ready in just 5 minutes: Just juice and enjoy.
Serves: 3-4 glasses
Ingredients 1 apple 1 orange, halved and peeled 4 carrots ½ cucumber, peeled a thumb-size piece of ginger ½ lemon, peeled
Lead image: Painting by Dennis Wojtkiewicz