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.
Studies also show that focusing on your breathing can alleviate stress levels… stimulate brain growth… and reduce your risk of heart attack. Nonetheless, many of us neglect to address breathing habits as part of our overall health strategy.
“We take our breath for granted the way we take our heart beat for granted,” says Carla Ardito, a breathing expert at the Integral Yoga Institute in Manhattan. But, explains Ardito, the difference is fundamental, because unlike our heart beat, ” we can work on our breathing.”
The Steep Risks Of High Blood Pressure
Statistics indicate as many as 65 million Americans have hypertension (dangerously high blood pressure). Hypertension brings an elevated risk of…
- Heart attacks
- Kidney damage
Individuals with hypertension are often unaware of their condition—which is why it’s often called “the silent killer.” By the time symptoms appear, serious, irreversible damage may already have occurred.
Deep Breathing Offers Answers
Anderson and other doctors believe deep breathing offers answers—and a 2002 study suggests they’re right. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a device designed tolower blood pressure by teaching users to slow their breathing. The device, called RESPeRATE, measures your breathing pace by sensing chest or abdominal movements.
Users follow a series of chimes signaling inhales and exhales to slow their breathing from a typical rate of 16 to 19 breaths per minute to 10 or fewer. Clinical trials found blood pressure drops of 10 to 15 points for individuals who used the device for 15 minutes each day for 2 months.
Dr. William J. Elliot, who headed some of the research, was surprised by the magnitude of slow-breathing’s impact on blood pressure—even though no one can quite explain why it works. It “is still a bit of a black box,” he says.
Health’s Hefty Price Tag?
More than a decade has passed since the FDA approved the RESPeRATE, but many are still unaware of the connection between slow-breathing and blood pressure. Part of the problem may be the high cost of leading slow-breathing devices. But the fact is, you don’t need to spend money to slow your breathing and improve your health.
Simply by focusing on your breathing, you direct energy into the parasympathetic nervous system, says Ardito. You send your whole body into a state of “relax and receive.”
Don’t Count Your Breaths
For best results, experts say you should never count your breathing or watch the clock. Counting or tracking the time impedes relaxation, which is key to the benefits of slow-breathing. Instead of a stopwatch or timer, some experts suggest using music as a regulator. Select a song (or set of songs) with a slow, regular rhythm, and allow your breathing to automatically adjust to the beat.