You may already take vitamin C when you feel a cold coming on, because it bolsters the immune system. But this vitamin does much more than that, especially when it comes to your heart.
First, vitamin C helps reduce concentrations of C-reactive protein in the blood, which also lowers inflammation. In addition, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which means that it helps the body’s cells reduce oxidation that occurs with metabolism — the breakdown of nutrients and transformation into organic matter. Though we need to metabolize food into energy to survive, oxidation damages the cells and causes our bodies to age.
Finally, vitamin C has been shown to help the coronary arteries function properly; there is evidence that it may help lower cholesterol as well.
For women, the RDA is only 70 mg; for men, 90 mg. These RDAs were probably established as the amounts needed to fight off scurvy, a disease that afflicted British sailors in the 1800s. But such minuscule amounts do nothing to stave off heart disease. I recommend 1,000 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day.
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