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Here we are again…with yet another reason to celebrate!

This time, the party is about Vitamin C.

Really a magical vitamin, Vitamin C is (or should be!) one of your very best friends.

From beauty to bountiful health, this wonderful vitamin is impossibly rich, a cornerstone to any vibrant lifestyle.

And April 4th is Vitamin C Day–the perfect time to focus on the ‘C’ factor.

Why Is Vitamin C so Important?

To be honest, most of us only really think about vitamin C when things ‘go south’, our immune system starts to fail us and that insistent cough and irritating sore throat appear.

Raise a hand if you have ever told yourself “I need some oranges” when you started to feel a little ill.

We have all been there.

However, vitamin C is a lot more than a cold fighting hero.

For example, did you know that vitamin C can…?

  • Give you healthier hair and nails. It stimulates hair growth and also helps to produce collagen in the body, which causes nails to grow longer.
  • Protect your skin from sun damage. It helps to prevent UV damage and also tone down the damage that has already been done.
  • Protect against cataract progression. A recent study showed that those who took in high amounts of vitamin C in their diet (not as a supplement!) reduced their risk of cataract progression by one-third over 10 years.
  • Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. A meta-analysis of cohort studies showed that dietary intake of vitamins C has an inverse association with coronary heart disease risk.
  • Improve brain function. Besides its well-known antioxidant activity, vitamin C is involved in the reduction of metal ions, and in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine from dopamine.

What’s the Best Way to Get Your Vitamin C

So where’s the best place to source this vitamin powerhouse?

When most people think of getting their vitamin C, they think about eating oranges or citrus fruit.

Interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, there are actually other foods out there with higher levels of vitamin C than citrus fruit, namely papaya, broccoli, bell peppers, parsley, and kale!

Vitamin C — the Legend, the Myth

Turns out that there are a lot of legends and myths surrounding the history and use of vitamin C. Here are some great fun facts:

  • Vitamin C was discovered in 1928 by Hungarian biochemist Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgi.
  • Back in the day, sailors in the Royal Navy would suck on limes (or have lemon/lime juice added to their daily ration) to avoid scurvy.  That practice would give rise to the term limey.
  • Vitamin C combined with coffee has been used to develop black and white film!

What Can You Do to Celebrate?

So now that you know a little more about the wonders of vitamin C, what can you do to celebrate Vitamin C Day?

Why not simply try a new recipe?

We have selected a great one for you Roasted Rice and Kale Stuffed Peppers.

This recipe is jam-packed with Vitamin C! In fact, peppers and kale have more vitamin C per weight than oranges –100g bell pepper provides 305% daily value (DV) of vitamin C, 100g kale provides 200% DV while 100g of orange provides 89% DV.

Enjoy the recipe and Happy Vitamin C Day to all!

Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD

President & CEO, Plant-Based Life Foundation | Dr. Rosane Oliveira combines a lifelong passion for nutrition with 25 years of genetics research to create programs that help people develop healthy habits on their journey towards a more plant-based lifestyle. She is a Visiting Clinical Professor in Public Health Sciences and was the founding director of the first Integrative Medicine program at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She completed her postgraduate studies in Brazil and did her postdoctoral training in immunogenetics and functional genomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.