By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
March 1st marks the first day of Autumn and it's the best time of the year to resolve to get healthy: Much better than summer in my opinion.
There tends to be fewer excuses to get in the way of eating a healthy diet and reducing alcohol consumption and, let's face it, it's far more comfortable exercising when the temperature has dropped below 30 degrees.
Paradoxically, what often thwarts our great intentions to be healthy is falling sick and a simple cold can throw you off track completely steering you towards comforting processed carbohydrates with strong sweet and salty flavours we can still taste despite a blocked nose.
The best form of defence is offence and at this time of year and through the rest of the colder months engaging the C cavalry (eating more vitamin C) is your best strategy. By strengthening the immune system and boosting our white blood cell count, vitamin C detects disease and destroy toxins and protects against colds and flues.
Cleverly, autumn delivers an abundance of vitamin C-rich produce which can act as a powerful arsenal against these nasty viruses that can catch us unaware. And if you are unlucky enough to catch one, fight your instinct to comfort yourself with highly sweetened and salty carbs and instead drink plenty of fluids and plenty of the foods listed below. Chances are you'll nip it in the bud pretty quickly.
Top 10 Vitamin C rich foods available through Autumn
|Food||Vitamin C (mg)|
|1 guava||216 mg|
|1 large orange ||96 mg|
|4 Brussels sprouts (lightly cooked)||74 mg|
|1 kiwi fruit||57 mg|
|1/2 cup raw broccoli||41 mg|
|1/2 cup red capsicum||39 mg|
|1/2 cup||strawberries |
|1/2 cup chopped red cabbage ||33 mg|
|1 medium tomato ||30 mg|
|2 tbs lemon juice||24 mg|
How much do we need?
Although the recommended daily intake of vitamin C (45mg) is relatively low, most nutritionists agree that we can all benefit from more. Stress, smoking and excess alcohol will also deplete the body of vitamin C therefore if you do drink and/or smoke and/or suffer from stress the best advice is to a) try and stop and b) significantly increase your intake of vitamin C rich foods.
Other great sources of this essential nutrient include, papaya, grapefruit, pineapple, cauliflower, and pomegranate.
Although vitamin C is found in most of the fresh vegetables sold in your local greengrocer, being water soluble and unstable to heat, the extent to which the vegetables are cooked will impact how much of the nutrient your body receives. How long you store the produce will also impact the amount of Vitamin C it contains and it will reduce over time.
The golden rule is: Fresh and minimally cooked is best.
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