In times of stress, we must take steps to not only reduce the collective anxiety of our family and friends, but also boost our immune function, a not always easy proposition when you’re at home with limited groceries and supplies. It’s easy to turn to your favorite salty or sweet snacks but that quick carb fix can also create a yo-yo effect on your blood sugar that can actually worsen anxiety and your mood. Your diet and food choices can and should work for you, boosting your immunity.(1)
Enter the modest orange or red pepper, two tasty foods that provide Vitamin C! According to Dr. Anitra Carr, “Vitamin C is necessary for the immune system to mount and sustain an adequate response against pathogens.”(2) People deficient in Vitamin C have more impaired immune systems and are more susceptible to infections. Vitamin C also helps your body use the iron and to make collagen.
Unfortunately, for the acid sensitive, Vitamin C supplements usually use ascorbic acid which is well known to trigger irritation. Buffered Vitamin C in the form of calcium ascorbate, is much easier to tolerate. The best source of Vitamin C, however, comes from real fruits and vegetables. It’s not just found in citrus fruits. You’ll find lots of Vitamin C in other fruits and veg too! Men need roughly 90mg per day and women a more modest 75mg.
Roasted Red Peppers
Just 1/2 cup of red peppers have about 95 mg of Vitamin C. Thankfully, there’s a really easy way to get your Vitamin C by making roasted red peppers! They have have a sweet, charred flavor that can add some sizzle to your favorite pizzas, tacos, frittata, sandwiches and soups. While there are several ways to roast peppers, the easiest is to char the whole peppers over a gas burner, broiler or grill until the skin is blackened. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap for ten minutes which gently steams and softens the peppers. Peel and remove any loose skin as well as the stem and seeds. You’re done! Toss into your favorite recipes!
Just one taste of ripe papaya can bring back wonderful memories of tropical islands and when one cup has 90 mg of Vitamin C, maybe you should enjoy that trip a few times a week. Papaya is so rich in carotenes, flavonoids, B vitamins, folate, magnesium and fiber that it’s considered good for your heart and bowel. Simply slice in half, scoop out the seeds and enjoy. Some prefer to use a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice on top!
You might not eat Kiwi’s every day but they offer a healthy punch of Vitamin C with 70mg in just one fruit. Ounce for ounce, kiwi’s have more vitamin C than an orange. Kiwi adds an unusual tart yet sweet flavor to foods and drinks. After peeling off the hairy skin, chop finely and add to your favorite fruit salads or chicken tacos. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a Kiwifruit daiquiri or margarita. Or, use the sweetness to contrast with a lovely meat or pork dinner. The California Kiwifruit association has many recipes here! https://www.kiwifruit.org
Once Spring begins, fresh strawberries beckon from road side stands and stores. For the perfect afternoon snack, you can’t go wrong with a cupful of fresh, ripe organic strawberries that will also give you 85 mg of Vitamin C. Easy, peasie! Right? You can create light, wonderful desserts, sweet drinks and, of course, add some sparkle to a simple fruit salad. (We recommend only eating organic strawberries. Conventional strawberries have been found to contain high levels of chemicals and fungicides by the Environmental Working Group.)
One of the easiest vegetables to make, just 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli contains 50mg of Vitamin C. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and is a healthy source of fiber! Just steam it for 5 minutes or less, top with butter and go. One of our family favorites is broccoli and chicken casserole. Of course, broccoli makes stir fry meals that much better! Enjoy!
Oh, the sweet melon. Just one cup of fresh chopped cantaloupe will give you about 60mg of Vitamin C. How do you pick the perfect cantaloupe at your store? Start with the color. The skin should be a light beige in color with only a little green. Pick it up. If it feels heavier than other melons, then it might be more ripe! Cantaloupes should smell very sweet and fruity. If it’s too sweet, it might be too ripe. Last but not least, check the stem circle. If it has a little give, then it’s perfect! Enjoy!
- 1 medium cantaloupe, cubed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp water plus more as needed
Separate cubes of cantaloupe onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Freeze overnight. Place into a food processor and pulse until the cantaloupe becomes crumbly. Add the lemon juice, honey, and water and then pulse again until it is the consistency of sorbet. If it gets too soft, return to the freezer for an hour. Taste for sweetness and feel free to add more honey if you prefer it. Serve immediately, or store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
With many families planting victory gardens for the duration of our home quarantines, many are agonizing over which tomatoes they should grow. Yellow, orange and pink tomatoes are less acidic than traditional red tomatoes. We prefer the small yellow pear variety, as well as Sungold and Lemon Boy. Need a tomato for a quick BLT, look for the bigger yellow heirloom tomatoes! One tomato generally provides about 20mg of vitamin C if you eat it raw. If your family prefers traditional red, Prelief can help! 3 caplets of Prelief will reduce 60% of the acid in 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
When you and your family is in need of comfort food, you can’t go wrong with baked potatoes each of which offer about 20mg of Vitamin C. Topped with their choice of butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese, steamed broccoli, salsa or sautéed mushrooms, they can satisfy almost everyone in the family. Should you eat the skin? Sure! The skin has more nutrients and plenty of fiber. Again, though, we suggest purchasing only organic potatoes. Regular potatoes have also been found to be quite high in chemicals.
One of the coolest new things you’ll find in the veggie section of your supermarket is cauliflower rice, a simple and easy way to make a healthy veg. One cup contains about 40mg of vitamin C, as well as vitamin K, folate and, of course, fiber. Cauliflower florets can be eaten raw but beware its gas producing effects. Steaming or roasting is ideal, with salt, pepper and perhaps some herbs like Thyme. Cauliflower rice, though, is very popular. Simply grate a head of cauliflower. Saute 1/2 an onion in olive oil until soft. Added grated cauliflower and sauce for 5-7 minutes. You can also make a cauliflower pizza crust! Who knew?
The ultimate side dish, roasted brussel sprouts provide 100mg of Vitamin C in every cup. These mighty sprouts also contain vitamin K and fiber! Roast with a wee bit of bacon, onions and/or olive oil for the perfect Springtime veg. Fair warning. These sprouts can produce gas! If you’re in a crowd or driving for a long distance, perhaps you should pass!
Last but not least, many turn to drinking grapefruit or orange juice for their Vitamin C and that won’t disappoint. A six ounce glass can give you 70 to 95 mg of Vitamin C but, unfortunately, it’s also quite acidic and potentially irritating. This is where PRELIEF can help dramatically. Three caplets of Prelief will reduce 60% of the acid found in 4oz. of juice! Three caplets will also reduce 68% of the acid in 2/3 of a cup of grapefruit!
We are in this together. For those of you staying at home, we thank you. Don’t let the anxiety and stress drive you to high risk foods. When you can, enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables that can boost your immune system! Vitamin C foods are a great place to begin. Prelief reduces up to 95% of acid from certain foods and beverages before they can trigger problems. It works on the food not on the body. Try it today. Now available on Amazon.com
- Naidoo U. Eating during COVID-19: Improve your mood and lower stress. Harvard Health Blog. April 7, 2020 – https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-during-covid-19-improve-your-mood-and-lower-stress-2020040719409
- Carr A & Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutriets. 2017 Nov;9(11):1211
- Foods with Vitamin C Besides Oranges. WebMed. 02/25/19 – https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/ss/slideshow-vitamin-c-sources