Vitamin C may not be the most glamorous antioxidant on the block, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still one of the most powerful. This miraculous nutrient has been shown to:
- Help prevent the oxidative damage that leads to degenerative diseases
- Accelerate wound healing
- Play an essential role in the production of collagen (a protein that holds the body together), carnitin (which aids the body in transforming fat into energy), and catecholamines (hormones produced by the adrenal glands)
- Help the body absorb iron
- Clear the body of harmful toxins
- Restore oxidized vitamin E to its healthful form
- Help metabolize cholesterol and bile acids, which may help reduce cholesterol and gallstones
Except for three species most animals produce vitamin C internally. Humans, along with primates and guinea pigs, can only get their vitamin C from their diets. Unfortunately, the recommended daily value for vitamin C is just 60 mg/d…far lower than vitamin C experts advise. But you can easily boost your vitamin C levels by eating a colorful diet of organically grown produce.
Follow Linus’s Lead
Despite his untarnished reputation and amazing accomplishments in the fields of chemistry and medicine, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling came under fire for his controversial claims regarding the remarkable healing nature of vitamin C…that in large doses it could essentially forestall life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Since his death, however, research suggests that his vitamin C claims may not be all that far-reaching.
The healing power of vitamin C lies in its ability to prevent the free radical damage that contributes to aging and disease. It acts as a reducing agent, lending an electron to free radicals intent on damaging your cells and DNA. By adding an extra electron to these damaged molecules, vitamin C neutralizes them before they can do harm.
A 10-year study conducted by Dr. James Engstrom of UCLA showed that men who supplemented with 800 mg of vitamin C daily had less heart disease and lived up to 10 years longer than men who took just 60 mg of vitamin C a day—the recommended RDA!
Another study found that among 11,200 senior citizens, those who supplemented with high potency vitamins C and E had a reduced mortality rate of 42%, while those who took a low potency multivitamin experienced no beneficial effect on mortality. Forty other studies have shown that diets replete in vitamin C may help reduce the risk of cancer.
Fill Up Your Plate
To get your daily dose of vitamin C fill your plate with colorful fruits and veggies, like…
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet peppers
For further protection, experts advise supplementing with 200-800 mg of vitamin C in liposomal or buffered form such as Ester-C to help prevent gastrointestinal upset.
Beets may well be one of the least frequently consumed vegetables in America. Perhaps they’ve fallen into disuse in our hurry-up, everything-instant frenzy of life because they require some prep time. And beet greens probably find their way to the table even more seldom than the root that sprouted them.
But with a growing awareness of health and nutrition, the popularity of beets and their greens also seems to be on the rise.
Beets have been around for thousands of years and flourish in all kinds of climates. Their speedy rate of growth makes it possible to harvest two crops per year even in many northern regions.
Beets are making their comeback in three primary forms: beet juice, beet greens, and beet roots, each with its unique set of benefits.
If you’re looking for a pre-workout energy drink to boost your stamina, beet juice does just that. The juice is high in nitrates that help promote blood flow and lower blood pressure.
Beet juice also contains betalain, a powerful antioxidant that is an anti-inflammatory, fungicidal, and aids in the detoxification of the body. Beet juice promotes eye and liver health, prevents anemia, and helps heal gout, kidney and gall bladder issues.
Beet greens rank as one of the richest food sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber and contain more beneficial nutrients than its root. Beet greens boast healthy amounts of:
- Vitamins K, A, C and B1, 3, and 6
- Minerals: copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus
- Carotenoids: lutein and beta-carotene
These nutrients strengthen the immune system, fight cancer and heart disease, help prevent osteoporosis, boost bone strength, and may even help ward off Alzheimer’s.
In bygone eras, beet greens were eaten, while the roots were reserved for medicinal purposes. Today, we’ve all but forgotten the leaves and eat the root.
Beet roots also contain healthy amounts of the nutrients listed above. The root is low in calories and high in fiber. Additionally, raw beets provide an excellent source of folates necessary for DNA synthesis in our cells.
The deep crimson color in beets stems from betalain and other antioxidant phytonutrients. These vary from vegetable to vegetable, not only creating a beautiful array of colors, but a host of health benefits. So a colorful presentation of vegetables on the table translates into a cornucopia of nutrients as well.
The secret is out. Beets and their greens offer a double-dose of nutrients and minerals all combined in one beautiful package. Now it’s up to you to experiment with a thousand different ways to enjoy their rich flavor and healthful benefits.