You may increase your vitamin C intake around cold and flu season, but it does more for your body than fight off sniffles. A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore suggests that high doses of vitamin C may help lower blood pressure. It's also beneficial in helping to prevent macular degeneration, wrinkles and some cancers.
"Vitamin C is most popular for its role as an antioxidant, which protects cells from damage," says Andrea Holwegner, a registered dietitian and the owner of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting in Calgary. "Getting enough vitamin C is important for keeping your immune system healthy."
However, experts don't recommend gobbling supplements, since taking too much vitamin C can cause digestive problems and increase your risk of kidney stones. It's not hard to up your intake through your diet. For example, one medium-size orange contains 70 milligrams of vitamin C. The recommended daily dietary intake for adult women is 75 milligrams, while men require 90. If you're not keen on citrus, there are other ways to up your intake by eating the right foods.
1. Embrace potatoes
Spuds have received a bad rap from those who stick to low-carb meal plans, but Holwegner says they're one of the biggest sources of vitamin C in people's diets; one baked potato contains 20 milligrams. Of course, they're not super-healthy when dropped in the deep-fryer or smothered in high-fat toppings. Instead, prepare potatoes baked, roasted, scalloped or steamed for a healthy nutrient-rich side dish.