Everyone knows that vitamin C is essential for a tip-top immune system, but it has many other essential jobs within the body – protecting cells from pollution and sun damage, helping to heal grazed knees and other injuries, and encouraging iron absorption for healthy blood.
Parents often reach for the supplements when they fear that their child is falling short of requirements, but getting a sufficient amount of vitamin C from food couldn’t be easier – a kiwi fruit a day will more than cover it! Furthermore, side effects like diarrhea and kidney stones can occur in those taking supplements in excessive amounts.
Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, green vegetables and even potatoes. Vitamin C is water-soluble and breaks down easily when cooked or exposed to the air so for maximum benefit choose freshly prepared raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables. If cooking, stir-fry, steam, roast or bake instead of boiling.
Recommended Daily Value: 25mg for infants 0-12 months, 30mg for ages 1-10, 35mg for 11-14 and 40mg thereafter
Amount providing 40mg vitamin C:
|Kiwi||1/2 a large fruit|
|Orange juice||1/2 cup|
|Potato||2 cups boiled in their skins|
|Spinach||2 1/2 cooked cups|
Nina Lenton is a registered UK dietitian and can be reached at email@example.com.