When it comes to thinking of Vitamin C, the first thing we think of generally oranges. When living gluten free, particularly in the beginning of your journey it can be challenging to ensure that you are getting your necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
The first thing for anyone, gluten free or not is to remove or at worst minimise your ‘junk’ food intake, this firstly can improve your metabolism, promoting immunity and reinvigorate the body. However, the concern in any health regime shift is are we really getting enough of the good stuff?
Vitamin C is one of the most commonly known vitamins but are we really getting enough? Vitamin C deficiency’s can lead to many different types of health predicaments including anything from pneumonia to leukemia.
Vitamin C has been pointed out as a contributing factor to the prevention and cure of common colds and cancer and that Nobel Prize scientist Linus Pauling along with many others have championed the micronutrient as a tool for wellness since the 1970’s. On top of that, a connection has been built up between vitamin C supplementation and the treatment of 30 major diseases, ranging from arthritis to schizophrenia and alcoholism.
With that being said, I believe there are some important notes to make, so you can properly adjust your gluten free diet and prevent vitamin C deficiency.
First up, it is essential to note that the body requires 65 to 90 milligrams of Vitamin C per day. Natural sources for it include citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemon, lime), capsicums/peppers (red and green), berries (blueberries, cranberries, strawberries) and greens like brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Yep all gluten free! However, be mindful of your servings so you could adequately satisfy your body’s demands.
For example, capsicums (green bell peppers) hold as much as 60 mg of vitamin C. Strawberries, meanwhile, have 45 mg of the micronutrient per half cup and oranges provide 48 mg per fruit. These natural sources are fantastic additions to a gluten free diet.
The second fun fact is where it get’s a bit tricky. Under normal circumstances, you can’t actually count on the digestive system to absorb all of the vitamin C you’ve consumed during a gluten free diet. You can only expect about 50% to 70% to be used up since the rest are naturally flushed out through the kidneys. You can’t do anything to guarantee the numbers either because the small intestine functions involuntarily. (the small intestine is where all of our vitamins are absorbed) The best intervention you could follow through is take up bioflavonoids (which typically are available from natural sources), which help with the absorption process. Other than that, you could also give yourself small vitamin c gluten free doses every three to five hours to replace what has been excreted through your kidneys.
In addition to what has been mentioned, you should also put into consideration other factors that might necessitate you to take in more vitamin C than is required. Pregnancy, for instance, might cause vitamin deficiency inadvertently because of the supply being split between mother and child. Always be mindful to ensure you are getting the amount the suits you, your health status and supports your diet.
Vitamin C is not just something you can disregard, even if you’re healthy. After all, it is somewhat responsible in creating/regenerating our bones, skin, blood vessels and many other tissues. Vitamin C truly is one of our necessary foundations for optimal health, so much so it’s also acts as an antioxidants, antibiotic, and a anti-aging element.
One question I’m commonly asked is ‘Why supplement with a Gluten Free Diet?‘
Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are needed to support and create optimal health. Without doubt the best source of these is fresh fruit and veg, whole and from the ground. But how many people do you know who get their daily of 9+ servings of Fruit and Veg?
Find out more about why providing nutrients to support our healing on a Gluten Free Diet is so important:
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below 🙂