Time to replace a hose? Check for cracks? Since old hoses become dry and brittle these seem like obvious maintenance activities on our trucks.What about our bodies?We're full of hoses: Intestines and ...
Time to replace a hose? Check for cracks? Since old hoses become dry and brittle these seem like obvious maintenance activities on our trucks.
What about our bodies?
We’re full of hoses: Intestines and arteries – just to name a couple.
Think about your arteries for a second. About 60 to 100 times a minute they expand to accommodate a heartbeat. They expand and then contract, but they don’t fall apart. Why? Because they are held together by a connective tissue called collagen. Collagen gives them elasticity and keeps them from cracking. Collagen is the matrix on which bones and teeth are formed; the glue that holds wounds together forming scars. In order to make collagen, we need Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is not just essential for healthy arteries, but also for other areas related to circulation. Enough Vitamin C reduces the risk of anemia, arteriosclerosis, pinpoint hemorrhages, bleeding gums, muscle degeneration and excessive bruising.
Because Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it lowers the harmful effects today’s lifestyles and environment would otherwise have on our health.
Many stresses cause free radicals to float around our bodies – causing unnatural chemical bonds. Vitamin C can neutralize this action and protect against cancer and infection, while enhancing immunity, iron absorption and skin texture. It also may help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Vitamin C after a meal can help keep constipation at bay and even shrink hemorrhoids. It also protects against Glaucoma, a principle cause of blindness. It also acts as an antihistamine to reduce allergic reactions.
It’s hard to imagine, but even this wonder substance – in spite of all the great benefits – has a few drawbacks, as well. If you’re taking medication for diabetes or sulfa drugs, be careful. They can react with each other.
Another drawback is we don’t make this substance ourselves. We have to ingest it though foods or vitamin supplements. Getting enough Vitamin C without fruits and vegetables is almost impossible. However, one or two servings of many fruits and vegetables may provide the recommended daily allowance.
For enough Vitamin C each day, you could eat an orange, red bell pepper, kiwi fruit, or drink three-quarters of a cup of grapefruit juice. Or, you could have a couple of servings of broccoli, mango, brussel sprouts, snow peas, strawberries, tomato juice, spinach, watermelon, sweet potatoes, potatoes, Corn Flakes or cantaloupe.
(These foods give you the most Vitamin C per calorie, if you’re watching your weight. In fact, Vitamin C also cuts food cravings for the diet conscious.)
Watch out though. These amounts are for those living in a perfect world – the unstressed. What about the rest of us?
You know, the regular guy with deadlines, debts and distress.
Stress eats up Vitamin C. Our bodies, in trying to heat themselves also create a certain level of stress. Thus, when it gets cold outside, or when you have a fever, your body is using up your Vitamin C.
As well, consuming alcohol, analgesics (e.g. Aspirin), antidepressants, oral contraceptives and steroids lower your level of Vitamin C since these all lead to stress for our bodies.
What happens is our adrenals release extra C to keep the effects of stress under control. And that extra Vitamin C has to come from food. So, if you’re stressed, you need more food high in Vitamin C to replenish what’s literally flying out your stack.
Did you think smoking reduces stress? Well, surprise.
Smoking is another stress. Smoking causes a serious loss of Vitamin C and puts the smoker in a high-risk group for related illnesses. If you smoke, double up on the fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C.
But, don’t look to other types of foods for this vitamin – most meats, legumes, breads, and milk products don’t have much.
Additionally, Vitamin C doesn’t store well … it’s easily destroyed by heat and oxygen. So if a fruit or vegetable has been sitting in a store, (or your truck) for a long time, oxygen has lowered the C level. Another way to lose C is through cooking. So, we’re back to fresh fruits and vegetables for the best source of nutrients. Store them in plastic bags to reduce contact with air.
The next time you’re working under your hood, replacing hoses, or checking out a leaky air brake or fuel line, think about it. If there were a product that kept these hoses in good condition like Vitamin C does for your body, you’d buy it, right? So why wouldn’t you pick up a bottle of grapefruit juice next time instead of a soda pop. Isn’t that what preventive maintenance is all about? –
– Karen Bowen is a professional health and nutrition consultant and she can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.