A Quick Preface
Nowadays, you see people scarfing down small sample cups of vitamins and supplements. As the population is starting to become more health conscious, this is a good step. Certain supplements can be beneficial, such as vitamin C – if taken in addition to a wholesome diet which we’ll get into later. But it’s important to understand one thing.
Taking too many supplements is not necessarily the best route. You can’t improve your health by just taking in a ton of vitamine. Consuming too many supplements can infect the liver, it can also give way for an uproar of side affects such as drowsiness and lethargy if taken at large dosages. Lastly, supplements aren’t as easily absorbed into the bloodstream as easily and efficiently as they are through natural sources like food.
As you can see, the downs outweigh the ups. It’s important to pay close attention to the last point. “Supplements or vitamins aren’t as absorbed into the bloodstream as easily and efficiently as they are through natural sources like food”.
Well at least for most vitamins and supplements. There are exceptions which we will touch on later in this article.
Enter Vitamin C
Vitamin C is something we should all be consuming more of. It’s water-soluble, a potent antioxidant, an inflammation fighter, an immune system booster, and a stress reducer. Vitamin C or also known as ascorbic acid, can be taken both in a supplement form or from food and delicious beverages. I prefer to get it from natural sources.
Vitamin C And Stress Levels
Vitamin C has a countless number of health benefits. A good amount of those include stress reducing benefits.
Here are just some of the reasons for why you should be consuming more vitamin C:
- Consumed regularly, it drastically reduces cortisol (study 1).
- Its been shown to reduce the elevation levels of cortisol and adrenaline (two hormones responsible for conducting stress responses) (study 2).
- Lowers the chance and degree to which anti-inflammatory polypeptides rise (which is good).
- Reduces systemic oxidation (also very good- study 3).
- Reduce anxiety since chronically elevated cortisol is linked to anxiety according to this article.
So, vitamin C is good. On top of that, most of the foods highest in vitamin C are fruits which is great:
- Fruits are high in other vitamins and minerals (a wholesome diet filled with micronutrient-rich foods will work wonders for improving you gut health, and balancing out hormones – thus reducing internal inflammation resulting in lowered stress levels).
- Fruits are hydrating. The hydration that fruits provide is utilized way more efficiently than the conventional tap water you’ve been drinking for most of your life.
- Fruits are high in sugar, mainly fructose. Sugar gets a bad rep. Sugar, more specifically fructose is actually very metabolic to our systems (highly absorbed and used anabolically for reducing stress and improving body composition) (study 4) (study 5) (study 6). *Fructose is also imperative for proper thyroid functioning. Hypothyroidism sucks and is becoming more common as people start to shy away from sugar. Go for natural sources of course like fruits and honey.
*If your thyroid ain’t working well, high cortisol levels are to be expected. Thyroid hormone is at the core for proper metabolic functioning which means its the center for how all other hormones work and how the HPA (Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenals Axis) interacts . I’ll end up writing an article on this or bringing in a thyroid/metabolism expert in the future. But for now understand that sugar, namely fructose, no matter what people tell you is not the enemy – its essential for lowering stress levels (study 7). This is of course if its coming from natural sources like fruits and honey.
So, eating more fruit is probably a good idea too. I like to indulge in eating 3 to 6 servings a day to get enough fructose and to fill up my micronutrient profile for the day.
Back to vitamin C, getting it through natural sources is one of the best things you can do. I prefer to incorporate a lot of fruit into my diet (since I’ve noticed how profound of a impact it has made in lowering my stress) – I’d recommend you do the same. Without further ado, here is the studied, tried and tested list of foods highest in vitamin C that fit into a stress-lowering diet.
Kiwi fruits taste so darn good and are one of the best foods for lowering your stress levels for a couple of reasons.
- Super high in vitamin C; 100g’s of kiwi fruits contain about 92 mg’s of vitamin C (which accounts for 155% of your RDA).
- High in fructose content which is vital for proper thyroid hormone functioning as mentioned above, protecting liver cells and having many more health benefits (study 8) (study 9)
- They’ve also been shown to improve sleep quality in humans. This study showed that healthy adults given two kiwis one hour before bed saw a drastic improvement in their sleep latency (how quickly they fell asleep) and their ability to stay asleep.
Kiwis are impeccable; they fill the requirements for healthy thyroid functioning, they are high in vitamin C, and they improve sleep quality – a combo that makes it a stress-reducing superfood.
Might want to pick a few of these bad boys up the next time you hit the grocery store! I take two one-hour before bed (just like the study :)), and it h
elps immeasurably with my sleeping.
Or freshly squeezed orange juice, whichever you prefer. Oranges have been one of my favorites ever since parents would bring them to my soccer games for us to eat during half-time. Oranges are delicious and have boatloads of vitamin C. One glass of squeezed OJ has around 108 mg’s of vitamin (roughly 120% RDA).
Not only does this fruit taste great and give a tropical vibe, its chock-full of vitamin C. 100 grams of pineapple chunks contain 47 mg’s of vitamin C (52% RDA). Not as high as the first two fruits but they have something else beneficial for keeping stress levels in check…
Bromelain, a compound that is known for breaking down the peptide chains that bind together amino acids – making protein more absorbed into the bloodstream – is a proteolytic enzyme that helps keep your cortisol levels down when you workout (study 11). As you probably already know cortisol levels are raised when exercising.
Or any kind of potato. Potatoes are a great starch that you should be consuming regularly since they’re high in carbs (which is crucial for healthy stress levels) and high in in other minerals and vitamins (study 12). One of which being vitamin C, 100 grams of sweet potatoes provides about 19 mg’s of vitamin C (21% RDA). They’re also pretty high in vitamin A which has some stress reducing benefits as well (a future article).
So don’t be afraid of starchy carbs if you’re into health, they’re imperative for balancing hormones and help with the secretion and production of calming neurotransmitters.
Berries are filled with antioxidants, antochyanins, and lots of vitamin C. 100 grams (which is less than half a cup) contains 100 mg’s of vitamin C which accounts for close to 100% of the recommended amount. On top of that, they are very low calorie, are high in potassium, and make for a darn good addition to a green smoothie.
They also provide some good carbs and some good fructose that boosts metabolic rate.
Add It To The List!
The next time you go the supermarket, give some of these fruits a shot! Proven by research they will lower your stress levels. But more importantly, put it to the test.
What foods high in vitamin C do you notice have an impact on your stress levels? Comment below!
One Last Thing
Looking to lower your stress levels, vitamin C-rich foods are one of the best things you can do through diet. Start eating more of them and shoot for going over the recommended amount. This number is simply not enough to get the stress reducing benefits. Trying to get for 500 mg to 1 gram will do the trick.
A lot of this information was learned over on Anabolic Men, a site that I read regularly and would encourage others to read as well. It’s primarily for men, however women can find some of the information beneficial as well.
As stated before, vitamin C from foods are the best sources since they provide the added benefits of eating more carbs, fructose content and the plethora of micronutrients but it is a water-soluble vitamin which means it can be absorbed through supplemental form.
If you’re looking to get the stress reduction benefits, aiming to get 500 mg to 1 gram should be the goal. This can be relatively hard through diet and somewhat tedious. With that said, adding a powdered form of vitamin C into a delicious green smoothie may not be a bad idea.
The one that I have used and recommend to get maximum absorption is this bulk vitamin C powder. It’s free of any artificial ingredients and its as natural and close to pure vitamin C from natural sources as it can. It also taste great! I like to have it just in case, in bulk form – so that if I feel I need a boost, I’ll
add it to a smoothie or drink it down with some water. Just about 500 mg’s or so is a good starting level.
That’s all she wrote! Hope you guys enjoy these type of articles. Now go drink some fresh OJ 😉
One Last Thing
Thank you all for reading this, I truly hope you found it of good information. If you found this article useful and enjoyed it – please share it! Share it to people who need to know about the positive effects of getting in more vitamin C!