Monthly Archives: February 2018

Keep Your Food Vitamin C-Rich With These Cooking Tips

keep your foods vitamin c rich

Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is water-soluble. This means that many of the most common cooking methods, such as boiling, can cause the vitamin to leach out of food. While this does pose a few challenges for increasing your intake, it is possible to alter your cooking strategies to keep more vitamin C in your food, while also using supplements to make up for any of ascorbic acid that is lost in the process. Check out these strategies for keeping your food rich in this essential vitamin so your next meal delivers more nutrition.

Choose Foods That Do Not Require Cooking

Some of the best sources of vitamin C require little to no preparation. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables that allow you to eat the food in its raw form so that no vitamins are lost through cooking.

For example, bell peppers, mango, kiwi, and berries can all be consumed raw during any meal.

Try Cooking Without Water

Pan-frying, roasting, and searing are all cooking strategies that do not involve using water to soften foods. Although the food may still lose some vitamins, it is typically less than you would lose with a method that uses water. These methods can also enhance the flavor of your food, depending upon which one you choose. For example, roasting vegetables tend to give them a sweeter taste while softening their skins. Stir-frying retains more of the crispness and imparts a flavor that more closely resembles what you enjoy from eating raw vegetables.

Consider Using Less Water

does heat destroy vitamin c

For recipes that require the use of water, you can try using a method that reduces the contact that the water has with the ingredients.

For instance, blanching requires the food to sit in the water for less time, and this method is ideal for softening ingredients such as bell peppers. Steaming is another strategy that allows the heated water to gradually soften the produce without removing all of the vitamin C.

The cooking methods you choose play a big role in how much nutrition you get out of fresh ingredients.

Give a few of these strategies a try during your next several cooking sessions to find the ones that fit your taste and texture preferences the best.

Which Vitamins are Water Soluble?

water soluble vitamins

Vitamins from the food you eat are digested and transported through the body. The description fat-soluble or water-soluble indicates whether the substance can dissolve in fat or water. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body’s fatty tissue, and excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins are excreted through the kidneys. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K.

water soluble vitamins

Here are the vitamins that are water-soluble:

  • Biotin – Vitamin B7, helps your body produce energy from carbohydrates, fats and protein.
  • Folate – Vitamin B9, used to create DNA and help keep red blood cells healthy.
  • Niacin – Vitamin B3, supports healthy digestion and skin.
  • Pantothenic Acid – Vitamin B5, supports cellular energy production and hormone secretion.
  • Riboflavin – Vitamin B2, helps you metabolize the foods you eat and improve the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
  • Thiamine – Vitamin B1, critical for keeping nerves healthy and promoting proper nerve transmission.
  • Pyridoxine – Vitamin B6, promotes chemical reactions in the body by acting as a coenzyme; supports metabolism of nutrients and promotes a healthy nervous system and immune system.
  • Cobalamin – Vitamin B12, promotes metabolism, red blood cell health, and immune system and nervous system health.
  • Vitamin C – promotes immune system health and is required to make collagen, an important and plentiful protein used to keep blood vessels, bones, skin and teeth healthy.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Scurvy Symptoms: It’s 2018, But You Might Have Scurvy

Scurvy isn’t something people typically think of unless they’re learning about pirates or watching an old film. The disease, which is caused by a severe deficiency in vitamin C, is typically associated with the 15th to 18th centuries. However, it may still be prevalent in our modern society.

Symptoms of scurvy include:

  • loss of teeth
  • bleeding sores
  • eroding gums
  • skin rashes
  • anemia
  • and more

These symptoms occur because vitamin C is a necessary component in making collagen, which is essential to connective tissues. Vitamin C is also needed for mood stabilization because it aids in synthesizing chemicals such as dopamine, which are needed for positive mood and energy.

You may be at risk for scurvy if you don’t eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, have an eating disorder, have a restrictive diet, or use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco excessively. The elderly are also at an increased risk of developing scurvy because of weakened immune systems.

In 2003 and 2004, researchers for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study collected data about vitamin C levels in the general population, and approximately 7 percent of people had deficiencies so low that they were considered at scurvy levels.1

The disease often affects people who are left out of typical studies, the poor and mentally ill. This may be because people in poverty often have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce tends to be more expensive than processed foods such as bread and rice, so people living in poverty may not be taking in the levels of vitamin C they need to remain healthy.

Scurvy is also found at higher numbers in people with mental illness because some mental illnesses lead to unhealthy eating habits.

For example, in 2010, doctors from Springfield Baystate Medical Center treated a man who came into a hospital with bleeding gums, bruises, and severe fatigue. He had a mental illness and had only eaten white bread and American cheese for years. This led to severe vitamin C deficiencies, which led to scurvy, according to Doctor Eric Churchill.2

The doctors who had studied that man’s case at Springfield Baystate Medical Center tested 120 patients with similar symptoms, and 29 of them turned out to have scurvy level deficiencies.2 Cases like these show the importance of having a balanced diet and intake of plenty of vitamins.

Another example is a different patient of Doctor Churchill’s, who ate mainly pizza, Chinese takeout, and burgers and fries. When he was diagnosed with scurvy he was surprised, because he didn’t feel that his diet was that out of the ordinary. But, as he learned, even getting some vegetables into your diet doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get scurvy.2

Everyone absorbs vitamins at different rates. Some people naturally absorb and retain less nutrients from their food than others. These people are at a particular risk of getting scurvy because even if they’re eating what would be enough vitamin C for one person, it may not be enough for them. This is why supplementation may be an important routine to adopt.

Even having vitamin C levels that are low, but not low enough to get scurvy, can be problematic. When you have low vitamin C levels it starts affecting your mood, energy, skin, and overall health. Some less noticeable and less severe warning signs of a vitamin C deficiency are:

  • easily bruising
  • dry scalp
  • frequent nosebleeds
  • inflamed or swollen joints
  • irritated gums
  • and more

To get an adequate intake of vitamin C on a daily basis, incorporate foods that are high in vitamin C in your diet, like oranges, kale, bell peppers, and kiwi. It is best to consume these raw and fresh for optimal vitamin absorption.

If you’re concerned about your vitamin C level, talk to your doctor. A simple blood test can help you understand the levels of many nutrients in your blood.

Understanding nutrition and balanced eating is one key to a healthy life. I bet you’ve heard the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but an orange a day keeps the scurvy away.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  1. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/90/5/1252.abstract
  2. http://digital.nepr.net/news/2015/05/25/not-just-for-pirates-and-sailors-scurvy-diagnoses-mount-in-springfield-clinic/