Vitamin C is well-known for the many benefits that it gives to our immune system. However, did you know that Vitamin C is also good for your eyes?
Vitamin C and our eyes
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that can be found in many fruits and vegetables. It is a powerful antioxidant and also plays an important role in connective tissue formation and maintenance. This includes the collagen found in the cornea of our eyes!
A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eyes that may lead to a decrease in vision, which is associated with ageing and is commonly found in the elderly. Oxidative damage is a suspected cause that may lead to the formation of cataracts. Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it may help to delay or even prevent the formation of cataracts. In fact, the results from 2 case-control studies have shown a 70% to 75% reduced risk of cataract when daily vitamin C intake is greater than 300 mg. Vitamin C has also been known to be used as a therapy for glaucoma, by working to reduce the elevated pressure in the eye.
Getting Vitamin C in
Unfortunately, humans are unable to produce vitamin C on our own. The only way we can get our daily dose of this important vitamin is from the food that we eat or from vitamin C supplements, which is why it is so important that we incorporate it into our diets. Luckily, there are many excellent (and tasty!) natural sources of vitamin C.
Vitamin C can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including red and green peppers, oranges or any citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli and green leafy veggies. For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg), which is the equivalent of consuming 1 medium orange or three-quarters of a cup of fresh, sliced strawberries.
It is important to note that vitamin C in food is easily destroyed by heat, so an easy way to reach the recommended daily intake is to simply eat them raw if possible.
However, bear in mind that excess is not always the best!
There is a myth that the more vitamin C you take, the healthier your eyes will be. This, however, is not the truth – because of the water-soluble nature of this vitamin, your body actually gets rid of any excess amounts of vitamin C. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, taking excess amounts (> 1000 mg per day) can lead to stomach pain, diarrhoea, and flatulence. So eat a diverse variety of foods, in moderation, and your eyes will reap the benefits.