Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid
, is a water-soluble vitamin that is perhaps best known for its ability to help fight colds and flu. That's because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes potentially harmful organisms and enhances the immune system. Vitamin C helps promote healthy teeth and gums, aids in the absorption of iron, helps wound healing, and strengthens blood vessel walls.
Good Food Sources:
Citrus fruits, red bell peppers, kale, kiwi fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, strawberries, red cabbage, cantaloupe, rose hips, spinach, tomatoes, green peppers, parsley, dark green leafy vegetables, and potatoes.
Signs of Deficiency:
A deficiency of vitamin C can cause scurvy, a disease characterized by bleeding gums, loose teeth, anemia, joint tenderness and swelling, poor wound healing, dry skin, loss of appetite, frequent bruising, and weakness. Scurvy is very rare in the United States; marginally deficient levels of vitamin C, however, are sometimes seen among the elderly, hospitalized patients, and people on very restrictive diets. These individuals often are susceptible to infection and also have slow wound healing.
Uses of Vitamin C: Vitamin C is used to treat allergies and asthma, arteriosclerosis, bronchitis, bursitis, cancer, canker sores, cataracts, colds and flu, depression, diabetes, ear infections, gallstones, gingivitis, glaucoma, hemorrhoids, hypertension, infertility, irritable bowel syndrome, macular degeneration, Parkinson's disease, psoriasis, ulcers, urinary tract infections, and varicose veins