You may take vitamin C for granted—it’s one of those ho-hum nutrients most of us forget about unless it’s winter, and you’re battling a cold. But this crucial antioxidant plays a profound, year-round role in our health. Some of its most important benefits:
Strong, healthy joints. Vitamin C regulates the synthesis of the structural protein collagen, involved in building joint cartilage—especially important during summer when hiking, biking, running, and other activities can take a toll on joints. Studies also suggest that vitamin C improves the healing of soft tissue and tendon injuries.
Glowing skin. The role of vitamin C in collagen production, plus its powerful antioxidant benefits, makes it essential for healthy, youthful skin. Studies show that vitamin C helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, protects skin from free-radical damage, and promotes faster wound healing.
Travel insurance. Your immune system can use some insurance before summer vacation. Vitamin C supports several components of the immune system, and studies link deficiencies with impaired immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. Plus, if you do get sick on your summer trip, vitamin C can ease symptoms and shorten the duration of colds and respiratory tract infections.
A healthy heart. Summer heat, humidity, and exercise put stress on your heart—keep yours strong with vitamin C. It’s linked with healthy cholesterol levels and improved blood vessel health, and many studies show that a high intake of vitamin C can reduce the risk of—and death from—heart disease.
Eye protection. Vitamin C supports the health of blood vessels in the eye and protects against UV damage—especially important when you’re spending more time in the sun. Additionally, studies suggest that vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts and, when taken with other essential nutrients, slows the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and loss of visual acuity.
Sounds pretty important, right? Lucky for us, some of summer’s freshest foods are packed with this powerful nutrient. Here are eight of the best (all DVs are based on January 2020 updated recommendations of 90mg for adults):
* One cup, cubed = 87 mg
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