If you’re not crazy about fruits and vegetables (like all of us), then this article will definitely help you find the motivation to eat more of them. Because fruits and vegetables are our best source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is not something you need only when you’re in the mood to do something good for your body. It has many functions in the body, but 2 of them are the most important and make it one of the most famous vitamins we know.
Vitamin C is also what you could call a beauty nutrient. Why? Well take a look at its 9 benefits for beauty.
BENEFIT #1: VITAMIN C FIGHTS WRINKLES
Vitamin C is very powerful against wrinkles for two reasons:
- First of all – vitamin C is an antioxidant. In fact it is the most common water-soluble antioxidant in the skin. It prevents damage from free radicals to collagen and other structures in the skin like for example elastin (that’s a coworker of collagen).
- Second of all vitamin C also helps fibroblasts grow faster and make more collagen (1, 2). Fibroblasts are cells that produce extracellular matrix and are super important for firm skin.
So the consequences of all vitamin C actions lead to what?
Exactly, more healthy collagen. This means: smoother and younger looking skin with fewer wrinkles.
If you don’t believe me, believe a study that showed how middle-aged women who were consuming more vitamin C looked younger and had fewer wrinkles than women who didn’t get that much vitamin C. (3) Now that’s one reason to make us all eat more cabbage.
BENEFIT #2: VITAMIN C MOISTURIZES THE SKIN FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Vitamin C improves the barrier function of the skin. It helps build certain lipids in the skin surface and this way prevents dehydration of the skin and keeps moisture in it. (1)
BENEFIT #3: VITAMIN C HEALS WOUNDS
Nobody likes a wound that takes forever to heal (actually no normal person likes wounds at all) – it might get infected and it looks gross.
With enough vitamin C from your diet you’ll feel like Wolverine, because your wounds would be healing with the speed of light. (1)
The sun these days is a huge beauty killer. It’s responsible for sunburn, allergies, age spots and wrinkles, it dries out the skin and even causes skin cancer. (1)
Vitamin C can fight the free radicals caused by sun exposure in the skin, but it needs to get to the skin BEFORE they do.
Another problem is that sunlight decreases the amount of vitamin C in the skin by about 70% (2). That’s why it’s important to get enough of this vitamin on a regular basis, many times throughout the day. This explains why we need more fruits and vegetables during summer.
However, be warned that vitamin C is not enough to protect you from sun damage. It might help a little to fix the problem with free radicals, but it’s beyond its abilities to protect you from serious sun damage, if you don’t protect yourself. The best way to protect yourself from sun damage is to avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm, wear sunscreen and cover up (with a hat or clothes).
Read more about this here: Why is the sun dangerous and how to protect yourself from sun damage.
BENEFIT #5: VITAMIN C BRIGHTENS THE SKIN
Vitamin C can reduce the amount of melanin produced in the skin. Melanin is the guy responsible for skin and hair pigmentation. This means that vitamin C can give you brighter skin and possibly remove age spots. (1)
BENEFIT #6: VITAMIN C CAN PREVENT HAIR LOSS
The skin consists roughly of three layers – the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat. The dermis of the skin is where all the hairy magic starts: the hair follicles are resting in this layer of the skin. Dermis is also the skin layer containing large amounts of collagen.
Vitamin C is needed for collagen production in the dermis. If there’s not enough collagen due to vitamin C deficiency, the dermis becomes lose. And this can then lead to hair loss, or to brittle hair. That’s why vitamin C is also of importance for the appearance (and the presence) of the hair. (4)
BENEFIT #7: LOSE WEIGHT WITH VITAMIN C
Another talent of vitamin C is it takes part in the synthesis of carnitine (5).
Maybe you’ve heard of carnitine, the fitness industry is crazy about it. It’s this small molecule that transports fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane. Therefore it’s also vital for fat oxidation.
Which would mean that vitamin C is also involved in burning some serious fat by helping produce carnitine.
In fact this has been proven in a few studies: A lower level of vitamin C in the body is associated with higher degree of overweight. (6)
But not only that: it was shown that people who supply their diet with vitamin C lose more weight (7). So if you’re trying to lose weight and more specifically fat, don’t be a stranger to vitamin C.
BENEFIT #8: VITAMIN C REDUCES REDNESS IN THE SKIN
Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory (8) and if applied directly to the skin it can reduce redness as for example with rosacea or acne.
BENEFIT #9: VITAMIN C WILL GIVE YOU STRONGER NAILS AND HAIR
I guess many of us know, that with a plant based diet we need to combine iron with vitamin C to be able to absorb that nonheme iron.
Iron is very important for the maintenance of skin, nails and hair (1). If you don’t have enough iron, which is very common in women, you might have dry skin, brittle hair and nails or even be losing some hair.
So make sure to get your vitamin C, even if you’re not on a plant-based diet. It increases your chances of also getting enough iron and avoiding all those unattractive symptoms.
Q: USE IT ON MY SKIN OR EAT?
A: Vitamin C is often used in creams and other cosmetics, because it’s a phenomenal antioxidant. But it’s very unstable and once it’s exposed to air, it doesn’t take long until it’s oxidized. (1)
Also vitamin C is water soluble and can’t penetrate the skin if it’s not bound to a specific vehicle. And I don’t have that vehicle (<- freaking out). So what are we going to do?
The best way to get your vitamin C is: eat your vitamin C.
It’s more stable and you don’t need a special vehicle to get it to the skin, the circulation will take care of that.
If you’re very talented you can of course make your own formulation for use on the skin. It would be even better if that formulation contains some vitamin E and ferrulic acid – they act synergistically and protect against UV light perfectly. (9)
Not bad, right? It’s definitely more than I could ever do. By giving vitamin C all these beauty talents nature again tells us – if you want to look good: eat your fruits and veggies! Therefore make this a priority, rather than eating less or exercising for too long.
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