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Updated 17 September 2013

Vitamin C superheroes

I've never been a great fan of oranges. Even though I know it's a super-healthy fruit rich with immune-boosting vitamin C, I really don't like the hard work of peeling it, the running juice and sticky fingers and, once all the work is done, I don’t care much for the taste.

I've never been a great fan of oranges. Even though I know it's a super-healthy fruit rich with immune-boosting vitamin C, I really don't like the hard work of peeling it, the running juice and sticky fingers and, once all the work is done, I don’t care much for the taste. 

Luckily, Nature also provides a fast-food version of vitamin C for lazy people such as me: the naartjie is easy to peel, has nice bite-sized segments, is super-sweet and so mess-free that you can even eat it at your desk.

I absolutely love naartjies - and every winter I develop a strong craving for them! Clearly, it’s my body’s way of telling me that I need to stock up on the good stuff to stay healthy. (By the way: isn’t it amazing how Nature presents us with vitamin C-rich foods during winter, when we need it most?)

Vitamin C is best known for its ability to increase the body’s resistance to infections like cold and flu. While it may not prevent us from getting ill altogether, studies say that people who take vitamin C tend to recover from colds more quickly as well as have milder symptoms.

Vitamin C also aids wound healing, is essential for the production of collagen (a type of protein that connects and supports other bodily tissues such as skin, bone, tendons, muscles and cartilage), enhances iron absorption and fights cataracts by increasing the amount of blood flow to the eye.

It is also a powerful antioxidant which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals that could contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, cancers and other diseases.

As the body is not able to make vitamin C on its own and does not store it either, it is very important to include plenty of vitamin C-rich foods in your diet, especially in winter.

If you don’t like citrus fruit, you can stock up on guavas, kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, strawberries, papaya, sweet peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower – all these foods are vitamin C superstars.

What is your favourite vitamin C-rich food? Mail us and you could be published on Health24.
 
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