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  • Marianne Andrews

Blue January? The little known powers of Vitamin C

So, this week started off with ‘Blue Monday’, apparently the most depressing day of the year. There are many reasons that we can feel a bit down at this time of year – post Christmas bills, miserable cold days & much too long to wait until the next pay day.

For most of us, these are short lived feelings, but for some the problem lasts much longer and can be far more debilitating than just a desire to stay under the duvet all day. Dietary and lifestyle changes can really help, but the health benefits of vitamin C when it comes to depression and anxiety are not widely known.

We’ve all heard of the benefits that it has on our immune system, but did you know Vitamin C deficiencies can cause depression and cravings for sugar too?

Stress and smoking can really use up our body’s supply of vitamin C. Smoking reduces up to 40% of the body’s supply of vitamin C daily. A non-smoker needs an average of about 1,000 mg of Vit C per day, whereas an average smoker may require about 3000 mg.

Processed foods are extremely low in Vitamin C since it’s a delicate vitamin that is easily destroyed by air and heat and so for many of us, a deficiency is common.

Fresh fruit & vegetables are the main supplier of this wonder vitamin. For optimum vitamin C benefit it is best to remember the following:

  • foods should be eaten raw, steamed or minimally cooked

  • fruits and vegetables should be eaten as soon as possible after cutting or juicing. Orange juice, for instance, will lose more vitamin C the longer it is exposed to the air

  • foods cooked quickly by steaming or sautéing will retain higher levels of vitamin C than those cooked at high temperatures for longer periods of time.

  • when vegetables are boiled the vitamin C will leach out into the cooking water and will diminish with high heat and long cooking times.

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