Vitamin C Day was started in 2019 by a skincare company (Skinceuticals ®), when their scientists showed that some Vitamin C can be absorbed by the skin. This is an important find, as Vitamin C is a key nutrient for skin health and production of collagen, a structural protein found in all connective tissues in our bodies. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient – essential means it must be obtained by eating and drinking because humans cannot make it. Vitamin C is important to many body systems, and research is always reaching to better define roles and mechanisms, especially for preventive health efforts like reducing incidence of cancer or heart disease.
Vitamin C is found in multiple foods, including all citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, and cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Many foods are fortified with Vitamin C, and it may also be a functional ingredient that maintains freshness. It is so commonly available in foods typically eaten by Americans; it is rare to find a deficiency. It was long recognized that citrus fruits contained a substance that prevented scurvy, a disease that killed sailors from the 1500-1800’s, but the nutrient was not actually identified until 1932.
Many people increase their intake of Vitamin C via foods and supplements to ward off chronic health issues, or perhaps when a cold is coming on. In the 1970’s, Linus Pawling, a scientist, and proponent of mega dosing Vitamin C, recommended the equivalent of 12-24 oranges, to support overall health. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means our bodies do not store it well. Due largely to Dr. Pawling’s recommendations, it was not uncommon for people to take high potency supplements of 1000 mg or more, but that is rarely recommended now. In fact, though well-recognized as an antioxidant, at very high levels it can become damaging to cells.
The Recommended Daily Amount for adults 19 and older is 90 mg for men and 75 for women. Children’s needs are lower and defined by age and stage of growth. High intake over time results in lower absorption once the body’s limited stores are maxed out. Though it is not toxic, the Tolerable Upper Limit (the maximum amount generally recognized will not cause harm) is 2000 mg per day. Excessive Vitamin C can result in nausea and other GI issues. High, excessive intake of Vitamin C can backfire if it is suddenly stopped – a person that pivots from excess to none can develop rebound scurvy. Despite prevalent belief that Vitamin C can prevent colds, research has so far shown limited benefit, though it may be helpful to reduce virus duration.
Ensuring you get enough Vitamin C is a great motivator for eating more fruits and vegetables, preferably often over the course of the day. The benefits of eating more produce stack up as other nutrients come along for the ride, such as Vitamin A, fiber, bioactive substances (polyphenols) and water. Vitamin C enhances absorption of iron, which is important to children, pregnant women, and anyone with malabsorption due to intestinal issues or perhaps even a medication interaction. To get the best food benefit, pair higher iron foods, like cooked, unprocessed red meats, legumes, and iron-fortified foods with foods high in Vitamin C to enhance natural absorption of iron. Despite prevalent belief that Vitamin C can prevent colds, research has so far shown limited benefit, though it may be helpful to reduce virus duration.
Enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – the more you eat, the more likely you are to meet the RDA without a supplement. If you are concerned, ask your health care provider or registered dietitian-nutritionist to assess if you would benefit from a supplement and why, as well as ensuring there are no concerns about current medication/supplement interactions by sharing supplement information with your pharmacist. If supplements are needed, keep them lower dose and consider using every other day. The RDA is based on a weekly average – you are sure to get some Vitamin C most days and can fill in gaps with moderate supplementation.
January rings in the New Year and inspires us to evaluate targets and goals that will bring positive results to our lives. There is one change that would bring more wellbeing benefit to more people than almost any other – eating more fruits and vegetables! Only one in ten Americans eats enough to meet daily guidelines for health. We also see shoppers are seeking more organic items for many reasons, particularly because they know that since 2002, organic items meet strict USDA certification standards.
The USDA certification offers production insights and confidence to shoppers. As quoted in Food Insight’s “What is Organic” article, USDA notes that “organic products must be produced using agricultural production practices that foster resource cycling, promote ecological balance, maintain and improve soil and water quality, minimize the use of synthetic materials, and conserve biodiversity.” This is right in line with shopper aspirations to eat more mindfully, consider production impact and sustainability along with taste and health value.
You can always find high quality produce, proteins, and grocery items in our stores, including a huge selection of organic items. To help you enjoy more, now through January 28th, earn 3X AdvantEdge Rewards points on organic purchases that can help families bring more benefits to your table.
Organic product tags on our website can help you select organic items for pickup or delivery and explore products across our site that fuel your wellness routine. Check out our weekly flyer each week this month and look for our special organic shelf tags to find out which simple, seasonal organic items are ready for you to enjoy!
Happy New Year!
It’s Canning Season!
One of the best parts of summer is easy access to an abundance of fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables. However, when the colder months roll around we are once again left deprived of these natural delights. Enter canning! Canning is a method of preservation, and the best way to enjoy summertime vegetables throughout the colder months.
Canning is an essential and safe, if done properly, method to food preservation. The canning process involves placing foods such as fruits, vegetables, jams, jellies, pickles, and other preserves, in jars and heating them to a temperature that eliminates micro-organisms that cause the food to spoil. During the heating process, air is driven out of the jar and as it cools a vacuum seal is formed. This seal prevents air from getting back into the jar, preventing these micro-organisms from contaminating the food and leading to successful preservation.
With fall fast approaching, we’d like to share some home canning tips to help you have as much success as possible this year. If your garden has been a success this year, you’ll probably have a good amount of vegetables to can! And if you’re canning from store-bought items, make sure to read your ingredient list closely and beforehand to see if ingredients need to be prepped before the canning process. For example, does your watermelon rind need to be soaked in brine overnight before you can begin the pickling process?
When it comes to filling, experts have said that sterilizing jars and lids is not necessary because all bacteria will be eliminated in the process. Therefore, you can reuse jars from previous years, as long as they are in good condition. You’ll just need new lids to ensure a tight seal. Jars should be washed and dried before they are filled. It’s important to soak your new lids in hot water for ten minutes to soften the rubber edge, and help the lids grip on the top of the jar when the rings are screwed on.
Once the jars have been successfully processed, let them sit, untouched for at least an hour. As the jar cools the lids will sink into the center and you may hear a “ping” sound, indicating the lids have sealed. Store your jars away from direct sunlight, in a cool, dry place. Processed foods typically are good for a year, although many items will not spoil for a longer period of time. If you see mold, discoloration, or smell something funny, discard the food immediately. If a jar’s seal has been compromised discard of the food immediately, and ultimately, when in doubt, throw it out.
The Family Fruit Bowl
The family fruit bowl, fresh and fragrant, can make enjoying fruit easy and accessible for everyone that encounters it. Teach kids and cue your own appetite for wellbeing by creating that fresh display in your home every week. March is National Nutrition Month – what better way to kick off a delicious and nutritious spring than creating a beautiful fruit bowl full of flavor and benefits!
Many nourishing fruits need a little time to ripen before you can enjoy their best flavor. Pears do not ripen on the tree, they only ripen after they are picked. In addition to pears, avocados, bananas, and mangoes can all benefit and promote ripening together. The few days generally needed to finish ripening makes pears uniquely suited for that fresh fruit bowl – including a variety of fruit at varying stages of ripeness each week will ensure you can enjoy something every day!
Pears are a powerhouse of flavor and fiber, and perfect for some sweet and savory meals that energize the transition from winter to spring. Chilly mornings that still merit a warm breakfast create a perfect setting for PICS Oatmeal with chopped pears, ginger and pecans. Roast American Heart Association Certified Pork Tenderloin with crushed rosemary on a sheet pan alongside acorn squash stuffed with pears and baked to tasty tenderness. They earn a quick drizzle of PICS Maple Syrup or Honey to finish – yum! Take that Market 32 Honey Turkey panini to the next level with sliced pears and brie – the heat melts it all together into a delicious combo you can share (but you probably won’t!).
Some pear varieties change color from green to gold as they ripen, others do not, so check the neck for ripeness – a little give means you get their best flavor. Join in the fun and share an Instagram picture with #whatsinyourfruitbowl. Learn more here and you might win some great prizes. Check out more wonderful pear recipes at www.pricechopper.com/recipes.