How can you get enough vitamin C?

As the sunny summer begins to fade for another year, our bodies may need a little help adjusting to the colder and darker months ahead. As we retreat inside, our vitality can drop and our immune systems become less robust.

At this time of year beginning to up our vitamin C levels can be a good idea, to keep us feeling fit and healthy. Vitamin C is well known for its immunity value. It is also necessary for wound healing, prevention of chronic disease and iron absorption. Eating citrus fruits to take in vitamin C and try to avoid colds is quite commonplace. How else can we make sure we are getting enough vitamin C into our bodies?

Vitamins are best absorbed from our diet, according to the Department of Health. Organically sourced fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, red pepper and red cabbage are a good start. As are chillies, blackcurrants, kale and brussel sprouts. As vitamin C is water soluble, a lot of it is lost from fruit and vegetables when you cook them. So if you want to get a real boost it’s best to eat them raw.

The hedgerows of Somerset and other rural areas in the UK fill with another good source of vitamin C in the autumn: the elderberry. Care needs to be taken when picking and preparing these berries, as raw and unripe they can be toxic. Made into health boosting tinctures and syrups though, they have been used for centuries to keep humans healthy. Many elderberry supplements can be bought commercially too.

One of my standard vitamin C boosters is baobab powder. Ground from the fruit of the awesome baobab tree, that can be found towering over the African plains, the powder is made from dried and ground baobab fruit pulp. This doesn’t need any cooking, so all of the nutrients stay intact. The powder is high in vitamin C, as well as being an excellent source of fibre. I add a teaspoon of baobab powder to my morning porridge or (no added sugar) muesli.

Sometimes we just cannot get enough of the vitamins and minerals we need from the food we eat. Especially if we fall ill and need a boost. Vitamin C supplements are commonplace of course. A good quality supplement is always important. Supplements that are food-derived reportedly show greater absorption levels and effectiveness. They are as close to the real thing that you can get in a supplement.

I would suggest always doing something to increase your vitamin C intake at the start of autumn. You’ll be thankful for it when winter really hits!