A recent study indicates that taking Vitamin C supplements can lead to increased kidney stone production, so we've got a list of foods with high 'C' content to help circumvent that particularly painful problem.
In order to get the Daily Recommended Allowance of Vitamin C and keep deficiency at bay, many people have taken the step of including dietary supplements to their daily intake of food and drink. But there might be a problem with that, according to a recent study out of Sweden. It appears that an extensive longevity study has found that taking Vitamin C supplements on a regular basis can lead to a higher incidence of kidney stones.
The Vitamin C Supplement Study
Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, after studying a group of over 23,000 men for 11 years, found that taking Vitamin C supplements regularly for an extended time could lead to a higher risk of developing kidney stones. Research showed that men who took supplemental tablets of 1000 mg regularly were twice as likely to develop the sometimes debilitating stones than were those who didn't take the supplements. Increasing the frequency of use also increased the risk. However, men who regularly took multivitamins, supplements that included Vitamin C but in much smaller amounts, did not suffer from the development.
During the study, 436 of the men developed kidney stones that required medical attention.
Of the findings, study leader Agneta Åkesson, Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet's Institute of Environmental Medicine, stated: "As with all research, the results should be corroborated by other studies for us to be really sure. Nor can we say anything about whether women run the same risk as men. But given that there are no well-documented benefits of taking high doses of vitamin C in the form of dietary supplements, the wisest thing might be not to take them at all, especially if you have suffered kidney stones previously."
The study findings were published in the scientific periodical JAMA Internal Medicine.
The Danger of Developing Kidney Stones
According to RightDiagnosis.com, one million people a year are diagnosed with kidney stones. An estimated 10 percent of the American population will develop kidney stones at some point in their lives. The incidence rate is higher in men than women, with 6.3 percent of the male population between the ages of 20 and 74 developing stones. Among women in the same age range, the percentage was 4.1 percent.
Kidney stones are crystallized bits of matter that form in the kidneys. They sometimes reach sizes that temporarily block the urinary tract, causing severe pain and sometimes requiring medical attention. Severe cases can lead to kidney failure and even death.
With potential debilitating episodes, hospitalization, and even death in rare instances, the importance of the Swedish study is not to be minimized.
Where To Get Enough Vitamin C Naturally
At the same time, everyone knows how important Vitamin C is to the body. It is very important to the immune system, is vital to well-functioning neurotransmitters in the brain, protects against cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even combats skin wrinkling. The vitamin is even thought to protect the body against cancer.
So how to get enough Vitamin C into the body on a daily basis? Why, eat the right foods, of course.
The RDA for Vitamin C is at least 90 mg for men and 75 for women, but it is suggested that no one take more than 2,000 mg per day. Here are five foods high in Vitamin C to help you reach your RDA:
1. Green and Chili Peppers. Chili peppers are great spices for any number of dishes and can be cooked whole as part of a dish as well. Green chili peppers contain almost 182 mg of Vitamin C per half cup (chopped). A single green chili contains over 109 mg of Vitamin C on average. Red chills: 108 per half cup, 65 mg per whole chili.
2. Guavas. Some varieties of guava fruit provide up to 377 mg of Vitamin C per cup or 126 mg per fruit.
3. Bell Peppers. A main ingredient in salads and pasta sauces, bell peppers can provide a full day's allotment of Vitamin C as well. Their vitamin content, like the chilis, depends on the color. Yellow has the highest Vitamin C concentration with 341 mg per pepper. Green bell peppers have the least with 132 mg per pepper. Orange and Red fall in the middle.
4. Fresh Herbs. Herbs, like thyme and parsley, are used in salads, sauces, and as flavorings for countless dishes. They are also rich in Vitamin C. Thyme provides 1.6 mg in each teaspoon. Parley gives up 5 mg per tablespoon.
5. Dark Leafy Greens. Greens like kale, mustard, and garden cress also provide a fair amount of Vitamin C. Kale contains the most: 80 mg per cup (chopped). Garden cress provides 35 mg per cup. Mustard: 29 mg.
For a more extensive list of foods high in Vitamin C -- like broccoli, kiwi, oranges, papayas, and strawberries -- go to Healthaliciousness.com.
If you're looking to knock off your minimum RDA in one shot, the aforementioned kiwi fruit, papayas, and oranges can accommodate. About 8 strawberries (at about 11 mg of Vitamin C each) will satisfy as well.
(photo credit: Nagarazoku, Creative Commons)
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