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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 15 November 2005 Issue

WHY DO WE NEED VITAMIN C?

Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, is important in forming collagen, a protein that gives structure to bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels. It also helps to maintain capillaries, bones, and teeth and aids in the absorption of iron.

DO WE GET ENOUGH VITAMIN C?

According to recent USDA surveys, average intake of vitamin C by women 19 to 50 years of age was over the RDA for vitamin C. Women tended to consume less than men of the same age. Most nutrition scientists believe that there are no known advantages in consuming excessive amounts of vitamin C.

HOW CAN WE GET ENOUGH VITAMIN C?

Eating a variety of foods that contain vitamin C is the best way to get an adequate amount. Healthy individuals who eat a balanced diet rarely need supplements. The list of foods will help you select those that are good sources of vitamin C as you follow the Dietary Guidelines. The list of food sources was derived from the same nutritive value of foods tables used to analyze information for recent food consumption surveys of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service.

HOW TO PREPARE FOODS TO RETAIN VITAMIN C.

Vitamin C can be readily lost from foods during preparation, cooking, or storage. To retain vitamin C:

.Serve fruits and vegetables raw whenever possible.

.Steam, boil, or simmer foods in a minimal amount of water, or microwave them for the shortest time possible.

.Cook potatoes in their skins.

.Refrigerate prepared juices, and store them for no more than 2 to 3 days.

.Store cut raw fruits and vegetables in an airtight container and refrigerate - do not soak or store in water. Vitamin C will be dissolved in the water.

WHAT ABOUT FORTIFIED FOODS?

Some juices not normally a source of vitamin C, such as grape and apple, have vitamin C added. A 3/4-cup (juice glass) serving of these fortified juices may provide 40 percent or more of the U.S. RDA for vitamin C. Check the label for the exact amount. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is added to frozen peaches to prevent discoloration.

Most ready-to-eat cereals are fortified with vitamin C. Fortified ready-to-eat cereals usually contain at least 25 percent of the U.S. RDA for vitamin C. Since cereals vary, check the label on the package for the percentage of the U.S. RDA for a specific cereal.

WHAT IS A SERVING?

The serving sizes used on the list of good sources are only estimates of the amounts of food you might eat. The amount of nutrient in a serving depends on the weight of the serving. For example, 1/2 cup of a cooked vegetable contains more vitamin C than 1/2 cup of the same vegetable served raw, because a serving of the cooked vegetable weighs more. Therefore, the cooked vegetable may appear on the list while the raw form does not. The raw vegetable provides the nutrient - but just not enough in a 1/2-cup serving to be considered a good source.

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES OF VITAMIN C?

FOOD SELECTED PERCENTAGE OF SERVING SIZE U.S. RDA (1)

BREADS, CEREALS, AND OTHER GRAIN PRODUCTS

Ready-to-eat cereals, fortified(2) 1 ounce ++

FRUITS

Apples: Baked, unsweetened 1 medium + Raw 1 medium + Apple juice(3) 3/4 cup +++ Banana, raw 1 medium + Blackberries, raw 1/2 cup ++ Blueberries, raw 1/2 cup + Cantaloupe: Frozen balls, unsweetened 1/2 cup +++ Raw About 1/2 cup diced +++ Cranberry juice cocktail(3) 1 cup +++ Grapefruit, raw 1/2 medium +++ Grapefruit juice; fresh, canned, or reconstituted frozen; unsweetened 3/4 cup +++ Grapefruit and orange sections canned, unsweetened 1/2 cup +++ Grapefruit and orange juice, unsweetened 3/4 cup +++ Grape juice, unsweetened(3) 3/4 cup +++ Honeydew melon, raw About 3/4 cup diced +++ Kiwifruit, raw 1 medium +++ Mandarin orange sections, canned or frozen, juice-pack 1/2 cup +++ Mango, raw 1/2 medium +++ Nectarine, raw 1 medium + Orange, raw 1 medium +++ Orange juice, fresh, canned or reconstituted frozen; unsweetened 3/4 cup +++ Papaya, raw 1/4 medium +++ Peaches: Frozen, unsweetened(3) 1/2 cup +++ Raw 1 medium + Pear, raw 1 medium + Pineapple: Canned, chunks, juice-pack 1/2 cup + Raw 1/2 cup + Pineapple juice, canned, unsweetened 3/4 cup ++ Pineapple-grapefruit juice; canned or reconstituted frozen; unsweetened 3/4 cup +++ Pineapple-orange juice, canned or reconstituted frozen, unsweetened 3/4 cup +++ Plum, raw 1 medium + Pomegranate, raw 1 medium + Raspberries: Frozen, unsweetened 1/2 cup ++ Raw 1/2 cup ++ Strawberries; raw, frozen, or canned; unsweetened 1/2 cup +++ Tangelo, raw 1 medium +++ Tangerine, raw 1 medium +++ Watermelon, raw About 1 3/4 cups diced +++

VEGETABLES

Artichoke, globe (french), cooked 1 medium + Asparagus, cooked 1/2 cup +++ Beans, green or yellow, cooked 1/2 cup + Beans, lima, cooked 1/2 cup + Bean sprouts, raw or cooked 1/2 cup + Broccoli, raw or cooked 1/2 cup +++ Brussels sprouts, cooked 1/2 cup +++ Cabbage: Chinese, cooked 1/2 cup ++ Green, raw or cooked 1/2 cup ++ Red, raw or cooked 1/2 cup +++ Cauliflower, raw or cooked 1/2 cup +++ Chard, cooked 1/2 cup + Collards, cooked 1/2 cup + Endive, chicory, escarole, or romaine; raw 1 cup + Dandelion greens, raw 1/2 cup + Kale, cooked 1/2 cup +++ Kohlrabi, cooked 1/2 cup +++ Mustard greens, cooked 1/2 cup ++ Okra, cooked 1/2 cup + Onion, spring: Cooked 1 large + Raw 1 medium + Parsnips, cooked 1/2 cup + Peas, green, cooked 1/2 cup + Pepper, sweet, green or red, raw or cooked 1/2 cup +++ Plantain, green or ripe, boiled 1 medium +++ Poke greens, cooked 1/2 cup +++ Potato, with skin Baked 1 medium ++ Boiled 1 medium ++ Pumpkin, cooked 1/2 cup + Radishes, raw 6 large + Rutabagas, cooked 1/2 cup ++ Snow peas, raw or cooked 1/2 cup +++ Spinach: Cooked 1/2 cup + Raw 1 cup + Squash: Summer, yellow, raw 1/2 cup + Winter, cooked, mashed 1/2 cup + Sweetpotato: Baked or boiled 1 medium +++ Canned 1/2 cup +++ Tomatoes: Cooked 1/2 cup ++ Raw 1 medium ++ Tomato juice or tomato- vegetable juice cocktail, canned 3/4 cup +++ Turnip greens with turnips, cooked 1/2 cup + Turnips, cooked 1/2 cup + Watercress, raw 1/2 cup +

Go on to Love and Peace
Return to Animals in Print 15 November 2005 Issue

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