As a health and lifestyle coach, I am constantly looking for ways to live a life that is revitalizing, energetic and in balance. There are so many different perspectives to consider, and each factor is as important as the other. On a daily basis, I am learning to do things one step at a time, so I can fully embody and make these important changes as a way of living, which in the long run will transform me as a human being.

One of the important factors I would like to share with you is to get the right balance of vitamins and minerals in our body.  Considered the “essentials,” their role is to perform and restore our physical body. The right blend of vitamins and minerals will strengthen bones, heal wounds, support the immune system, repair cellular damage, and convert the food sources you consume into energy.

Leafy greens like kale are high in vitamin C.

Leafy greens like kale are high in vitamin C.

Vitamin C is certainly one of those essentials. With summer looming, the days are most definitely getting fuller and longer, and it is very important to boost your immune system so your body can repair, heal and remain full of vitality.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant. It is also known as ascorbic acid which is abundant in fruits and vegetables. It restores connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, bones, blood vessels and, of course, your skin, as it helps the body to form collagen. Vitamin C also helps to fight free radicals and is vital for circulation and heart health.

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include easy bruising, bleeding gums, gingivitis or bad breathe, dry splitting hair, dry red spots on the skin, weakened immune system, digestive disorders, and possible weight gain as it can affect metabolism. If these simple symptoms are ignored, the deficiency can lead to more severe problems including high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, stroke, arthritis and even certain cancers.

The RDA for vitamin C is 90mg/day for men and 75 mg/day for women, remembering this is based upon your body size and structure. I typically consume 80mg-100mg of natural vitamin C daily as part of a balanced lifestyle. If I need a higher dose, I will then take an additional supplement along with a homemade concoction of essential oils (e.g. wild orange, tea tree and chamomile). It works wonders for me – especially when I am travelling.

Foods to consider for vitamin C consumption are usually vibrant colored (say, orange and yellow) fruits and vegetables such as mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, red peppers, oranges, and green peppers. Other ideal foods include kiwi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale,  grapefruit, and guava. These foods are typically higher in beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, lycopene and potassium as well.

I like to eat my fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible. If I feel physically run down, I will eat as much raw food as I can and blend in some good fats and protein with each meal. For example, I love eating red peppers, so I will often make raw red pepper dips or sauces which keep in the fridge for up to a week in an air tight container. This vitamin C-packed mixture can be used as a dip or as a marinade, or to sauté other veggies. You can even use it as a spread which beats all pre-packaged foods that you find in the store.

I invite you to add some form of natural vitamin C into your lifestyle today.

Dipika Patel specializes in holistic health by empowering clients to activate balanced lifestyle of the mind, body and soul. For more information, visit or contact her at [email protected].

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