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Vitamin C and the Holidays

Insider's Viewpoint: Expert Supermarket Advice: Vitamin C and the Holidays. Nutrition Experts, Save Mart. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

Maybe it is not THE cure for the common cold, but the benefits of vitamin C are many and mighty. Let’s “C” why we should focus on this interesting vitamin and then bring a “healthy serving” to your holiday table. Why is “C” so interesting? Every living thing on this planet except primates (including man) and guinea pigs produce their own vitamin C internally, do not require it in their diet, and do not suffer from a host of diseases and maladies caused by vitamin C deficiencies.

“C” What Vitamin C Can Do …

Cardiovascular “Cleaner”: The antioxidant properties of vitamin C help prevent formation of arterial plaque. Vitamin C’s support of connectives tissues enables arteries to be strong and elastic, reducing risk of aneurisms, stroke, etc.

Cancer Risk Reducer: Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, helping to limit damage to the body from free radicals…those unstable compounds that cause oxidative damage to cells and organs, accelerate aging, and contribute to arteriosclerosis and cancer.

Collagen Connections: Collagen is the foundation of all connective tissues, literally everything that holds the body together. Vitamin C deficiency can result in deterioration of blood vessels, bleeding gums, bruising, loose teeth, tendency of bones to fracture, as well as a malady of effects on tendons, ligaments, skin, cartilage, heart valves, and eyes.

“Cold Killer”: Immune systems require vitamin C for proper functioning. It is involved in white blood cell production, T-cells and more “fighting agents.” Without vitamin C in adequate quantities, our body’s best defense against disease is left without fuel.

The best sources of vitamin C are fresh fruit (especially in the citrus family, including oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines), strawberries, and cantaloupe. Green leafy vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, collard greens, lettuce, cabbage, peas, and asparagus are also good sources.

Let Vitamin C Shine at a Holiday Celebration with These Tasty Recipes …

Oranges in Spiced Wine
Winter chill is no complaint with a bowl of oranges prepared with spiced wine syrup… kind of like “chewy” Sangria!

Serves 10-12

  • 1 bottle dry red wine (use 3 cups cranberry– or pomegranate juice for non-alcoholic version)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 8 EACH whole allspice AND cloves
  • 10-12 oranges
  1. Bring wine, 1 cup sugar and spices to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves; boil until reduced to 1 cup (about 20 minutes). Cool and chill.
  2. Grate peel from 4 oranges; mix with remaining tablespoon sugar.
  3. Peel remaining oranges; slice into serving bowl.
  4. Drizzle syrup over and sprinkle with sugared orange peel.

Orange Pecan Sprouts
If traditionally steamed Brussels sprouts haven’t scored with your family, don’t give up! You must try again, but slice them first and prepare with a splash of even more vitamin C in this “delish dish!”

Serves 4

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  1. Run sprouts through slicing blade of food processor or slice thinly into shreds.
  2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté pecans in butter about 2 minutes; add sliced sprouts and sauté, stirring every few minutes until tender and sprouts have a few brown spots.
  3. Stir in orange juice and rind; cook additional minute

Sharon Blakely, Food and Nutrition Supervisor
Erin Tassey, Nutrition Program Spet
LeAnne Heckenlaible, Nutrition Program Spet
Save Mart/Lucky/Food Maxx Supermarkets

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