Can I help you choose to eat a salad today? One of the very good reasons to base one of your main meals for today on a large raw salad is to help ensure you get enough Vitamin C. This very important vitamin plays many roles but there’s a reason why reaching for a salad can be more valuable than supplementing this vitamin.
Many people automatically think of vitamin C as support for helping a cold pass faster, and they’re not wrong. This vitamin provides raw materials for your immune system to fight infections. It also helps diminish the ferocity of hay-fever sneezes (did you know vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine?) and when you’re wounded, it’s vitamin C that will help re-build the skin and tissues. Also, when you’re stressed vitamin C helps produce the adrenaline that boosts your stress resilience.
Some of us need more vitamin C than others. Smokers particularly, but also some medications can have an adverse effect on your vitamin C status. If you’re prone to catching colds, if your wounds don’t heal readily, you get hay fever, are anaemic, or under stress (and who isn’t at this time of year?) you need more. As you age you need more vitamin C too. If your small intestines are inflamed you may have trouble absorbing vitamin C from your food, as this is the part of your digestion where vitamin C is absorbed.
So why not just take a big vitamin C tablet every day and give the salad a miss? Well, firstly, your body is not efficient at dealing with a large package of vitamin C all at once. It tends to use what’s needed now and let the rest go, so you’ll actually get more benefit from multiple smaller doses (like what’s in food). Also, some forms of vitamin C (there are several types, including sodium ascorbate, ascorbic acid and calcium ascorbate) can promote the formation of kidney stones if you are vulnerable. But the best reason to focus on getting your vitamin C from food instead of supplements is that with the food you’ll get extra bonuses. Vitamin C usually occurs in food alongside bioflavonoids; vitamins that help enhance vitamin C’s activity within your body, and help recycle the C molecule so you don’t need to keep topping up your body’s supply so often.
When you’re looking for good food sources of vitamin C, most of us think of citrus; but in fact all fresh raw fruits and vegetables will contain some. Capsicum is a particularly rich source. Keep in mind that vitamin C is a delicate vitamin, easily destroyed by heat and light, so the fresher your food the better.
If you want to experience what a boost fresh raw food (and vitamin C) can do for your health, arrange to eat a fresh raw salad as a main meal every day, and feel your sense of vitality blossoming.