Cal C, Bio C… how ’bout homemade Vit C?

After the chilly weather we’ve been having lately, it seems like an appropriate time to write about vitamin C.

Vitamin C plays a part inn maintaining healthy tissues and a robust immune system, helping iron be absorbed more effectively into the body.  It’s included in many over the counter supplements, and has long been an ingredient in beauty products, heralded for its ability to protect the skin from environmental pollutants and free radicals.

Historically, vitamin C was instrumental in the fight against scurvy.  Sailors who embarked on voyages for months on end with no adequate supplies of fresh fruit and veg were especially susceptible to the illness.  Nowadays it’s the usual remedy for the common cold.

There is some thought that vitamin C may help the heart and blood vessels due to its traces of rutin and hesperidin. It is used for hardening of the arteries, clot prevention in veins and arteries, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  The bioflavanoids have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and the monoterpenes expedite wound healing.

Did you know orange peels contain higher levels of vitamin C than its juice?  Per 100g, orange peel has 136 mg of vitamin C while its flesh contains about 71 mg/100 g.  Fruit peel is rich in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, calcium, selenium, manganese, zinc to name a few – containing many times more of the “good stuff” than its pulp.  You can read detailed nutritional info on the orange here.

Day 1 in the sun

Food sources rich in this vitamin include guava, citrus fruits, red capsicum, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, brussel sprouts and rockmelon.

Browsing the shelves at a local chemist, I found some processed vitamin C supplements selling for over $32!  Crikey!  One must wonder the efficacy of these products, given the exposure to heat during the manufacturing process and the widespread use of (cheap) genetically-modified food sources such as corn.  Go figure.

Dr Ben Kim, a Canadian chiropractor and acupuncturist, gives a low-down on vitamins quite eloquently:

  • “The majority of commercial vitamin supplements are made up of synthetic vitamins
  • Synthetic vitamins do not perform the same functions in your body as vitamins found naturally in whole food
  • Many synthetic vitamins deplete your body of other nutrients and tax your kidneys before being excreted through your urine

Vitamins do not exist as single components that act on their own. Vitamins are made up of several different components – enzymes, co-enzymes, and co-factors– that must work together to produce their intended biologic effects.”

In the ingredient list of vitamin C supplements, the majority contain only ascorbic acid or a compound called ascorbate, which is a less acidic form of acorbic acid.  Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C. It represents the outer ring that serves as a protective shell for the entire vitamin C complex, much like an orange peel that serves as a protective shell for an orange. “

He states naturally present vitamins from food sources are complete in terms of their necessary components.  Synthetic vitamins (majority of supplements on the market) are merely isolated portions of vitamins that occur naturally in food.

Authentic vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables contains the full suite of the elements below:

  • Rutin
  • Bioflavonoids (vitamin P)
  • Factor K
  • Factor J
  • Factor P
  • Tyrosinase
  • Ascorbinogen
  • Ascorbic Acid

For next to nothing anyone can make their own vitamin C powder out of orange peels, complete with live enzymes to ensure 100% bioavailability of the vitamin in your body.

Homemade Vitamin C Powder

Orange peels
Sunlight
Powerful blender / spice grinder / coffee grinder

We’d just chowed down on about half a dozen oranges so had plenty o’ peel to spare!  Make sure you wash your peels first.

Place the peels in the sun to ensure they fully shrivel and dry out.  I left mine out for 2-3 days.

Put dried peels in your blender / grinder and pulverise until the consistency of a fine powder.

Store your homemade vit C powder in an airtight container.  I keep mine in the fridge.

OMG.  The aroma when I opened the lid of my blender can only be described as intense citrus utopia!

IMAG0480

Day 3 in the sun

Just 1 teaspoon provides more than the daily dose of vitamin C your body needs, regardless of age or size.

Another idea could be to put some dried peels in with your favourite teas (orange ginger, anyone?), however the high temperature is likely to destroy the enzymes.

I’ll be adding my vit C powder to my usual breakfast smoothie and even sprinkling it on top of salads!

C no evil, hear no evil

C no evil, hear no evil

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Cabbage: The Chinese fountain of youth

raw cabbage saladLast week I met food coach Marion Egger.  A food ‘coach’, you say?  What is that?  Well, similar to how a sports coach motivates, advises and trains athletes to improve their performance, a food coach does the same except with food.  They assist clients in maximising their output by changing their input (ie. food intake).

Anyway, I really liked her cabbage salad, and so decided to play around with it.

The phyto-nutrient rich cabbage belongs to the “Brassica” family of vegetables.  Other brassica veges are brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, Chinese cabbage and broccoli.

I know cabbage is good for you.  I mean, really good for you.  It’s probably one of the most under-rated veges out there. The health benefits are impressive:

  • Nutritious yet low in fat and calories. 100 g of leaves provide just 25 calories.
  • Powerhouse of antioxidants (thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates) which protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL levels in the blood.  LDL is the “bad cholesterol” peeps, in case you’re wondering.
  • Rich in Vitamin C (61% of RDA per 100g).  Regular consumption of vitamin C-rich foods helps the body develop resistance against infection and free radicals.  Cabbage also contains essential vitamins B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine) and B-1 (thiamin).
  • It also contains minerals potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
  • Provides about 63% of RDA levels of Vitamin-K, which gives you strong healthy bones. In addition, vitamin-K is a known cure for Alzheimer’s as it limits neuronal damage in the brain.

cabbage in the raw

Cabbage and Mushroom Salad

¼-½ head of white or red cabbage (shred finely with a knife)
½ Spanish onion
½ parsnip, thinly sliced
2 handfuls of roughly chopped broccoli
¼ carrot, thinly sliced
½ cup of sesame seeds
Sliced mushrooms

Dressing:
fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
tamari
1 clove of garlic chopped
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
EVOO

Mix all ingredients together and marinate for at least 30 mins.

The original recipe called for radish (instead of parsnip) and sunflower seeds (in lieu of sesame seeds).

Hope you like it as much as I do! 🙂