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The Importance of Ascorbic Acid

Jun 1, 2010

 

Ascorbic acid is actually a very important kind of element that is added to foods and dietary supplements. Ascorbic acid is actually a synthetic form of the vitamin C naturally found in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables. It plays a central role in how processed foods are prepared for market, and how humans ingest the antioxidant values of vitamin C.

Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin C: Health Benefits

Ascorbic acid contains many of the same health benefits as naturally occurring vitamin C. Perhaps the largest benefit of these nutritional elements is their antioxidant value. Antioxidants help to fight off viruses and infections and help the body to respond to challenges. They have a wide range of health benefits, and are found in many plant based foods.

The problem with naturally occurring vitamin C is that it breaks down easily. Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables is often lost in cooking. As soon as the foods are heated, the natural vitamin C begins to break down. Nutritional experts report that vitamin C can also be lost simply through storing fruits or vegetables before consumption.

Because of the sensitive nature of natural vitamin C, lots of people may not get enough, even if they include fruits and vegetables in their diets. This is why food manufacturers have chosen to add vitamin C qualities back into food and drink using ascorbic acid. The ascorbic acid represents the active vitamin C in most processed foods. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ascorbic acid and vitamin C are similar enough in composition to be treated as equivalent chemical compounds. Some nutritionists disagree, and the debate over ascorbic acid versus vitamin C is often at the center of the community of people who consider raw foods to be a much better diet. Raw foods advocates will bring attention to the difference between ingesting natural chemical compounds in fruits and vegetables and getting them through artificial additives like ascorbic acid.

Reasons to Include Ascorbic Acid

The common antioxidant and nutritional value in both ascorbic acid and vitamin C can help ward off a variety of health problems, according to food studies. Experts say that either of these substances taken routinely can lower the risk of heart disease. Ascorbic acid is also said to be helpful in lowering blood pressure. Experts often attribute anti-carcinogen properties to ascorbic acid. Other claims about ascorbic acid include its effectiveness for preventing dental issues and gum disease, eye problems like macular degeneration, diabetes, and much more. All of these are reasons to think about including vitamin C or ascorbic acid in your diet.

Natural vitamin C can be found in large quantities in fresh fruits and vegetables including peppers, citrus fruits, tropical fruits, spinach and cabbage, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Nowadays, lots of food makers are fortifying juices, cereals and more with ascorbic acid. Look for either of these in your supermarket to include some powerful health boosters in your daily diet.

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