Building immunity with vitamin C – Various sources of the essential nutrient you can add to your diet


New Delhi: Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, a lot of focus have been on building immunity and strengthening the first line of defence of the body. Given that we have no vaccine for the virus yet, nor any specific treatment, it is of utmost importance to ensure that you prevent contraction of the virus, and prepare your body to fight it, naturally.

With the monsoon season just adding to the problem of the spread of diseases with mosquito-borne, waterborne, airborne diseases, and infections due to contaminated food, it becomes even more important to boost our immunity and stay as healthy as we can.

Vitamin C for immunity

Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients required by our body. It is known for its benefits in keeping our gums and teeth healthy, keeping our skin young and glowing, and in boosting immunity to keep the risk of diseases at bay.

The many ways in which vitamin C boosts immunity include –

  • Vitamin C supports the production of interferons, compounds produced by the body when a foreign pathogen is detected.
  • It enhances the function of phagocytes, a type of white blood cells that surround dangerous pathogens.
  • Vitamin C improves the cellular immune response.
  • It is also known to enhance cytokine production by white blood cells.
  • Vitamin C helps in the production and activity of antibodies.

Sources of Vitamin C – How to include it in your diet

Vitamin C is one nutrient that is present in various plant-based sources of food. Here are some sources of the essential nutrient, and how you can add it to your diet to keep your immunity on its toes.

  1. Oranges – When someone thinks of vitamin C, this fruit probably pops up in their mind. In about 100 g of an orange, 52 mg vitamin C is present. Oranges can be eaten as a mid-day or evening snack or can be consumed in the form of juices. Oranges can also be added to desserts such as cakes or custards to make them naturally sweet, and to avail the benefits of the fruit.
  2. Lemon – Another citrus fruit known for its sour flavour are lemons. Lemons are also a great source of vitamin C. They contain about the same amount of vitamin C as do the same quantity of oranges. Lemon juice can be added to drinks to get a tangy flavour, or you can consume lemon in some water as a detox drink every day. Lemon zest can also be added to cakes and desserts to make it tasty and fresh.
  3. Kiwi – Very few people know, but kiwi is one of the richest sources of vitamin C out there. A 100 g of kiwi fruit contains 92.7 mg of vitamin C. Kiwi fruit can also be consumed as a snack or added as a natural sweetener in desserts.
  4. Peppers- If you are not the biggest fan of fruits and sweet things, you can get your dose of vitamin C from peppers. Bell peppers, capsicum, or even green chillies are a good source of vitamin C. You can substitute chilli powder in your food with green chillies, or add bell pepper to your curries, soup, and salads.
  5. Tomatoes – Another fruit/vegetable that is rich in vitamin C are tomatoes. Tomatoes are a base for a lot of foods and cuisines all around the world. They can be added to salads, sandwiches, soups, juices, etc. Tomatoes are one of the most versatile food items out there.

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