Vitamin C deficiency hurts immunity and makes us vulnerable to many diseases. Let us understand the benefits of Vitamin C for seniors in this article.
Vitamins and minerals play a significant role in deciding our physical and mental health at all stages of our lives. As you grow old, you start to understand the significance of these minerals more. This article will target one essential substance for our body: Vitamin C.
Most older adults do not realize the importance of consuming these vitamins and minerals until it is too late. Nearly 80% of Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. We hope people understand the importance of Vitamin C after reading this article and where they can get it from.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C plays a significant role in our body’s healing process. Vitamin C is also commonly known as ascorbic acid. This substance is a nutrient essential to our body for forming cartilages, blood vessels, muscles, and collagens in the bones.
This vitamin acts as an antioxidant that helps the cells in our body by protecting them against infection and diseases.
Vitamin C is also effective against fighting free radicals. Free radicals are the type of molecules produced in our body when the body is trying to break down food. These free radicals are also produced when you are exposed to smoke from tobacco or cigarettes.
Sun radiation or radiation from X-rays can also promote the growth of free radicals in the body.
Free radicals directly impact the heart, leading to vulnerability to heart diseases. They also have a link to cancer and similar diseases.
How Much Vitamin C Do You Need To Consume?
Ideally, you need about 65 to 90 milligrams of Vitamin C daily to have a healthy lifestyle. To reach the ideal amount, you will have to eat food items with these nutrients. Including fruits and vegetables like oranges, strawberries, or broccoli in your diet will significantly increase your vitamin C consumption.
You can also try dietary supplements to meet this daily quota. Dietary supplements can be in the form of pills, tablets, or powders. You can also find some supplementary drinks and shakes that can provide you with that extra dose of Vitamin C.
Benefits of Vitamin C for Elderly people
There are plenty of benefits of consuming Vitamin C in your diet. Consuming any vitamin in moderation will only positively affect your body. In contrast, if you consume a vitamin in excess or a very little quantity, you can suffer from its side effects. Some of the important benefits of vitamin C are highlighted below as:-
#1 Improves the immune system
Vitamin C will improve and enhance your immune system. As you grow older and older, your immune system weakens with age. A weakened immune system exposes you to many health-related issues and diseases.
These diseases can be as common as cough and cold to as dangerous as pneumonia and cancer. As a senior citizen, you must consume vitamin C because this nutrient will protect you against different types of deficiencies that are common at this stage.
#2 Increases the production of white blood cells
Vitamin C will increase the production of white blood cells in your body. White blood cells are very much responsible for fighting off diseases and preventing your body from infections. White blood cells also constitute a significant part of your immune system.
The deficiency of vitamin C in the body is commonly referred to as hypovitaminosis. The prevalence of Vitamin C deficiency ranges from 11% in older men to 6% in older women.
#3 Vitamin C provides antioxidants
Vitamin C provides your body with crucial antioxidant protection. In simpler terms, vitamin C shields the white blood cells from all the free radicals present in your body. If you suffer from any infection or injury, consuming vitamin c will fasten the healing process.
#4 Reduces oxidative stress
Vitamin C is also famous for reducing and eliminating oxidative stress from your body. As we know, vitamin C protects the white blood cells from getting damaged by free radicals. If your body is not meeting a sufficient requirement of vitamin C, then the oxidative stress levels in your body can rise uncontrollably.
Oxidative stress is a condition that originates when the free radicals and other harmful substances harm and damage the good cells in the body, stopping them from performing their functions.
Oxidative stress is known for increasing the aging process. If you want to look young, try to eliminate this stress from your body. People who have higher quantities of oxidative stress experience more wrinkles, skin problems, clogged arteries, etc. Free radicals are known to damage the cells and tissues and the DNA in your body.
#5 Improves heart condition and cardiovascular health
Vitamin C is effective in improving heart and cardiovascular diseases. As a large portion of senior adults is suffering from heart issues, consuming vitamin C boosts your heart health.
If your body is getting the right amount of vitamin C, your body will have lower blood pressure. Low blood pressure will relax the vessels in the body, due to which you will have a healthy blood flow.
Heart diseases are increasing rapidly due to the unhealthy lifestyle of people. There are about 30.3 million people in America that suffer from some heart condition, according to a survey done in 2018.
Vitamin C in your diet will also massively reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood. If you consume a diet rich in vitamin C, the risk of heart diseases and strokes will be mitigated. You may require some help to prepare a diet with a sufficient quantity of nutrients.
#6 Reduces iron deficiency
Taking Vitamin C regularly in your diet will increase your ability to absorb more iron. Seniors that have less iron or iron deficiency can suffer from anemia. Anemia occurs due to low levels of healthy red blood cells. It is a condition that you will find in most people above the age of 65.
More than 10% of the population above the age of 65 has this condition. Iron is an essential nutrient for our body as it produces hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a unique substance in the blood that permits the red blood cells to carry oxygen to various body parts. Without the correct quantity of iron in your blood, your body will not get sufficient oxygen.
The health of the red blood cells will start deteriorating, sometimes your body may have enough iron, but it may not be able to absorb it properly. Taking vitamin C in your diet will increase the capacity of the blood to absorb more iron. Seniors with anemia should carefully balance their dosage of iron and their vitamin C intake.
#7 Reduces aging and improves skin health
Vitamin C is also widely used and accepted as an anti-aging agent. As you consume vitamin C, it will affect the cells inside and outside the body. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C are beneficial against skin aging. People who have a healthy amount of Vitamin C in them have fewer wrinkles, their skin is less dried, and the skin’s overall appearance is much better.
#8 Effective against the common cold
Vitamin C is effective in treating and curing a common cold as well. If you suffer from a cold for a longer duration than the average time, you are at risk of suffering from pneumonia. The United States accounts for 24.8 cases of pneumonia per every 10,000 adults. Pneumonia can also give rise to lung infections and diseases that might create a breathing problem for you.
Some Easy Hacks For Adding More Vitamin C To Your Diet
Vitamin C is available in almost all fruits and vegetables; however, people still cannot consume this super nutrient up to the ideal level. People who are in the serious habit of smoking and drinking cannot meet the required standards of vitamin C. There are food items that are very rich in Vitamin C, such as broccoli, citrus, green pepper, tomatoes, strawberries, and so on.
You can diligently follow the ways given below to increase the number of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet:-
- If you are a person that regularly consumes soups, muffins, or meatloaf, then you can make these dishes healthier by adding more fruits and vegetables to them. If you don’t want to consume these fruits and vegetables directly, you can grate and add them to the food.
- You can also be ready with already cut fruits and vegetables at all times. This trick will allow you to effortlessly add these items to most of your dishes. If you wish to, you can also consume them directly as quick snacks.
- You can go for frozen veggies or fruit slices even though they are not the best source of vitamin C as the quantity of vitamin C is more in fresh veggies and fruits than frozen ones. But as a senior, it is not always easy to cut plenty of fruits and vegetables daily so that you can go for the frozen items.
- You can make your breakfast and sandwiches healthier by adding more tomatoes, dark lettuce, or even slaw from shredded broccoli to make the wraps tastier.
- You can also make a habit of eating raw veggies with different kinds of dips and sauces. This type of snack will fulfill your taste buds and the necessary nutrient and vitamins quota. Hummus and low-fat dips are ideal for the dips that you can consume with the veggies. You must make sure that you don’t consume unhealthy amounts of these dips that, in turn, have a negative effect on your health.
- You can even add fresh or frozen items such as berries to your desserts to increase your vitamin C consumption. You can add these berries to pancakes, cereals, oats, muffins, and salads.
What Are The Effects Of Vitamin C Deficiency In Your Body?
Vitamin C deficiency can lead to various ailments, such as scurvy. Scurvy is a relatively uncommon or rare disease caused by the lack of vitamin C in your body. The most common symptoms of this condition are loss of blood from the gums, fatigue and weakness, bruises all over the body, and rashes on the skin.
People with Vitamin C deficiency can also have vision loss. Vision loss in old age is mainly due to the weakening of the muscles of the eyes. Regular vitamin C consumption can delay this weakening of the muscles and allow you to have good eyesight for a longer time.
According to a research study based on the progression of age-related muscle degeneration, people that had vitamin C supplements and diet had a 25% slower progression of age-related muscle degeneration. These people also had 15% more sharpness and clarity in their eyes.
Lack of vitamin C can also increase hypertension or high blood pressure. Scientists are still working on finding the best effect of vitamin C on blood pressure. As of now, their relationship is not entirely clear.
Possible Side Effects Of Excess Vitamin C
Overconsumption of anything is harmful to the body. Vitamin C consumption of over 2,000 milligrams in a day is considered very harmful. Consuming an excess of vitamin C can lead to some of the possible side effects mentioned below.
- Stomach cramps
- Kidney stones
If you have diabetes, then you should be cautious while consuming vitamin C. Older citizens with diabetes should not increase their vitamin C consumption from more than 300 milligrams per day.
Pregnant women should also not consume higher amounts of vitamin C as excess amounts of it may cause harm to the baby. A dosage of 85 to 120 milligrams per day is ideal for pregnant women. In some cases, vitamin C can also increase your blood sugar levels.
Vitamin C is an elementary yet necessary nutrient, as we have shown above. You must consume vitamin C regularly, either through food items naturally or artificially through supplements and pills. There are plenty of health benefits of consuming this nutrient up to the ideal level.
We hope this article will help increase awareness of Vitamin C and its many benefits to the human body in older adults. If you have any further questions about the need to consume ample Vitamin C in your diet and how to do it, please don’t hesitate to drop us a comment.
If you liked the content, please share it with others on your social media platforms and within your groups so that they too can benefit from the knowledge.