Vitamin C-rich foods, like citrus fruits, are often recommended to strengthen one’s immune system and prevent infections. But did you know that vitamin C can also help boost your brain health and cognitive function?
The human body can quickly absorb vitamin C, and it offers various health benefits. According to the CHALICE Cohort Study, an Australian research effort, levels of the nutrient correlate with markers for cognitive and metabolic health in individuals around the age of 50.
Studies on vitamin C and its brain-boosting benefits
In the Australian study, participants completed several extensive dietary and health assessments which measured their dietary vitamin C intake and fasting plasma vitamin C concentrations.
About 62 percent of the individuals had inadequate plasma vitamin C concentrations, with more male participants experiencing this condition compared to the female volunteers. The assessment results also determined that those with the highest blood concentrations of plasma vitamin C also had the lowest levels of cognitive impairment.
In a separate Australian study of vitamin C status and cognitive functioning, findings revealed that the nutrient is crucial to the development of crucial key brain components, such as the neurons.
Several studies on both healthy participants and cognitively impaired patients, like those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, assessed vitamin C status using diet and plasma vitamin C levels. (Related: Are you feeding your brain the right nutrients? Folate, vitamins B12, C, E, and D are crucial for mental health.)
The volunteers took part in several cognition tests like the Mini-Mental-State-Examination (MMSE). Like in the CHALICE Cohort Study, individuals with better cognitive function also had higher blood serum vitamin C levels.
Other studies also showed that vitamin C is linked to healthy brain and nerve functioning.
It’s important to remember that vitamin C is necessary for the production of serotonin and noradrenaline/norepinephrine. These two are neurotransmitters that help regulate mood and protect the body against health problems such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and osteoarthritis. Vitamin C is also a natural antihistamine, and it can help control allergies.
As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C can protect all of the cells from damage. The vitamin is also necessary for collagen and muscle production. Additionally, vitamin C helps repair damaged tissues all over the body, heal wounds, and boost the immune system. Vitamin C can also help strengthen your bones and teeth.
The results of these studies emphasize the importance of vitamin C when it comes to brain health and cognitive health, especially among older individuals.
Natural sources of vitamin C
Liposomal vitamin C is the best way to provide nutrition directly into the cell without being destroyed by digestive juices. And because not everyone can store or produce vitamin C, you need to consume foods that contain the nutrient or take vitamin C supplements.
Food sources rich in vitamin C include:
- Broccoli — A cup of raw chopped broccoli has 81 mg of vitamin C. While cooking reduces its vitamin C content down to 50 mg, the vegetable also contains calcium, fiber, potassium, vitamins A and K and various antioxidants.
- Cauliflower — One cup of raw cauliflower has 50 mg of vitamin C. It also contains calcium, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin K. Cauliflower also has various antioxidants.
- Grapefruit — The grapefruit, which is related to the orange, is also high in vitamin C. Half a grapefruit has 45 mg of vitamin C. Grapefruit also contains fiber, potassium, and vitamin A.
- Kiwifruit — A single kiwifruit contains about 60 mg of vitamin C. It also has fiber and potassium.
- Red sweet peppers — Like green bell peppers, red sweet peppers are rich in vitamin C. These peppers have a milder flavor, with a single pepper containing 150 mg of vitamin C. Red sweet peppers also have fiber, potassium, several B-complex vitamins, and vitamin A.
- Strawberries — These berries are chock-full of vitamin C. One cup of strawberry slices has 98 mg of the nutrient. Strawberries are also rich in fiber, folate, magnesium, and potassium.