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vitamin c



Vitamin Guide A to Zinc: Vitamin C

orangeThis week the Vitamin Guide continues through vitamins A to Zinc with vitamin C. Click here to read about last weeks topic of vitamin B12. Vitamin C is essential for our bodies as it helps with the formation of our bones, muscle, teeth and skin. It is also important to note that unlike most animals, we as humans do not have the ability to make our own vitamin C, and therefore must get it through our diet. Vitamin C helps with resistance to infection and with healing wounds, and in most recent research it has shown that vitamin C is useful in lowering cholesterol and fat levels in blood.
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The Hottest (or Not) Newest Super Foods

It seems that each week we are introduced to a new Super Food that promises to protect us from any ailment, ache or pain all the while adding years to our life. While many of these Super Foods are familiar to us like blueberries and green tea, there is a whole category that come from distant tropical lands and sport funny names, textures and tastes.

Mangosteen - Super Food

Mangosteen - Super Food

Three new recently-lauded Super Foods are Goji berries, Mangosteen and Noni. Here is a quick look at all three of these and how they compare to the common, but equally powerful, Vitamin C-packed orange.

Gogi berries: These bite-sized reddish berries are somewhat like a raisin in appearance and texture: small, wrinkled and chewy. Gogi berries come from China and Tibet where they have been used for thousands of years to improve eye sight, promote liver function and add to overall health and longevity. Folklore has it that a Chinese man named Li Qing Yuen consumed goji berries daily and lived to be 252 years old (a rather undocumented claim).
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Acai Berry is the Most Absorbed Fruit

Recent research has added another gold medal to the already lauded acai berry. Researchers have shown that this tiny purple Brazilian berry is, to date, the fruit that is better absorbed by the body than any other fruit because of its superior antioxidant content. The data shows that similar to Vitamin C, more is not always better. When consumed in excess, the disease-fighting compounds of the acai berry will be excreted once the body absorbs and uses what it actually needs. Since the acai berry is still a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S., health experts have not yet determined the appropriate acai consumption required to get the most powerful punch of antioxidants.

If you’re wondering if the pulp or juice version of acai is working better for you, don’t worry. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, both forms have been shown to be absorbed by your body in equal porportions. So go ahead and sip your smoothie or acai juice with gusto, but don’t go overboard.



Honey Will Have You Breathing Easier

As someone who suffers from allergies and asthma (even though whatever is causing my allergies is still a mystery to me), this news is intriguing: A new study from the University of Ottawa shows that honey can be effective in killing bacteria that cause chronic sinusitis.

In chronic sinusitis, the mucous membranes in your sinus cavities become inflamed, causing headaches, stuffy nose, and difficulty breathing. While chronic sinusitis can be caused by allergies, it can also be caused by bacteria that colonize in the nose and sinuses. That’s where this news on honey may have some exciting prospects.honey

Honey is predominantly sugar (fructose and glucose). It also contains tiny amounts of several compounds thought to function as antioxidants, including chrysin, pinobanksin, vitamin C, catalase, and pinocembrin. Honey has long been touted for its health benefits, and is commonly used to soothe sore throats and relieve coughs. But its powers may be even more extensive than first thought.

Researchers, led by Tala Alandejani, MD, at the University of Ottawa, tested two honeys, manuka and sidr. Singling out three bacteria, they found that the honey was effective in killing them. Maybe the most interesting discovery was that the honey worked significantly better than an antibiotic against two bacteria: MSSA (methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus) and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

The study is being presented at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery annual meeting in Chicago.

NOTE: Infants one year or younger should never eat honey. It can become toxic in their underformed intestinal tract, causing illness or even death.