Daily Dose: Vitamin C

Find out why your body needs vitamin C and how you can get enough in your diet!

Vitamin C plays a key role in several body systems, but was historically best known for causing scurvy. Fortunately, those days are long gone, but getting vitamin C in your diet is still important and very easy as long as you get plenty of variety.

Why does my body need vitamin C?

Vitamin C is used by a number of enzymes in the body to carry out needed reactions. In particular, vitamin C plays a key role in making collagen, which is then used for structural support throughout the body. It’s also used in proteins needed for making and storing energy in the body and for making certain hormones. Vitamin C has also been found in high amounts in certain immune cells, but it’s unclear exactly what role vitamin C is playing in these cells.

What foods contain vitamin C?

Citrus fruits are best known for their high levels of vitamin C, but many other fruits and vegetables can get you your daily dose, sometimes at even higher levels than citrus. Bell peppers are very high in vitamin C, with the amount increasing as they go from green to red. Other vegetable sources include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, kale and potatoes. Aside from citrus fruits, kiwis, papayas, strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe and passion fruit also contain large amounts of vitamin C.

What happens when I don’t get enough vitamin C?

Because collagen synthesis depends on vitamin C, deficiency leads to a breakdown of many of the tissues that use collagen. That includes easy bleeding and bruising as blood vessel walls weaken, joint and skin problems, and poor wound healing. Taken together, these are the main symptoms of scurvy.

Who’s most at risk of deficiency?

Vitamin C deficiency is very rare in the U.S. and most people get more than enough in their daily diet. Deficiency is sometimes seen in malnourished individuals living in poverty who many not have access to fruits or vegetables. Any diet that regularly includes fruits and vegetables should provide enough vitamin C.

Have you ever gotten to the last little bit of a vegetable or fruit and thought they only thing left to do was toss it? Or maybe you didn't get to one before it looked like it should be thrown out? Well there's no need to create more food waste! Here are two foods you can regrow right at home instead of throwing out.

Leftover Ginger

  1. Fill a bowl or cup with water and place your bit of ginger root inside.
  2. After a few weeks, watch for little sprouts to form.
  3. At this point, transfer the ginger to some potted soil. Give it plenty of space and moisture.
  4. After a few weeks, harvest your new ginger root!

Sprouted Potato

  1. Note where the sprouts (or eyes) are on the potato. Cut it in half so there are sprouts on both halves.
  2. Let the halves dry out overnight on a paper towel.
  3. Plant the dried potato halves in soil, cut side down.
  4. Small potatoes will be ready to harvest in about 10 weeks, while larger potatoes will be ready in about three to four months.

There's no need for food waste here when you know the tips and tricks to use up all your food at home. And click here to see which foods you can keep past the Sell By date!