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the benefits of vitamin c and zinc

The Benefits of Vitamin C and Zinc

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that our bodies can’t store it. We, therefore, must get our Vitamin C from food or supplements.

The Benefits of Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body.
  • It helps the body make collagen – an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and maintain bone and teeth health.
  • Assists with the absorption of iron from non-heme (plant based)
  • Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant which helps protect against damage by free radicals (substances that damage the DNA). The build-up of free radicals over time may contribute to the aging process[i] and the development of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
  • Assists with wound healing.
  • Vitamin C plays a role in protecting against the following.

Heart Disease

Studies suggest that Vitamin C may help protect arteries against damage by slowing down the progression of atherosclerosis.

High Blood Pressure

Population based studies suggest that people who consume a diet rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure compared to people who have poorer diets.

Common Cold

Contrary to popular belief that Vitamin C cures the common cold, studies suggest that taking Vitamin C regularly (and not just at the beginning of a cold) could reduce the duration of a cold by one day.


In osteoarthritis, friction destroys the joint cartilage overtime. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the production of collagen, which is contained in cartilage, and acts as an antioxidant to prevent damage from free-radicals. Evidence shows that people who regularly take Vitamin C are less likely to be diagnosed with arthritis.

Age Related Macular Degeneration

Vitamin C (500mg) along with other antioxidants such as Vitamin E (400IU), Zinc (80mg),  and beta-carotene (15mg) protect your eyes against AMD. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 65 in South Africa, according to the Eye Care Centre of Johannesburg.

How Can I Get More Vitamin C from My Diet?

Food can be an excellent source of Vitamin C. The following fruit and vegetables should in your diet.

  • Oranges
  • Red/Green Peppers
  • Watermelon
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Berries: Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Cranberries
  • Pineapple
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Leafy greens such as spinach/kale

Vitamin C is light, air and heat sensitive, so be mindful to consume as many of the fruits and vegetables listed above raw or lightly cooked

What is Zinc?

Zinc is an important nutrient for human health. It is a natural element found in all plants and animals and plays an important part in the health of our skin, hair, teeth, bones, nerves and brain function.

The Benefits of Zinc

  • Maintains testosterone levels and aids in men’s health.

Adequate zinc levels allows for sufficient precursor hormones to be released from the brain in order for testosterone to be produced. Zinc also prevents the breakdown of testosterone to produce excess oestrogen

  • Boosts the immune system.

Zinc is a component in thymic hormones which facilitates the maturation of lymphocytes (White blood cells which fight infection).

  • Reduces the length of common cold.

Zinc has anti-viral and astringent properties which were found to reduce the length of a cold by up to 50%

  • Boosts brain activity.

Zinc is in the fibre system of the hippocampus in the brain. These fibres play a vital role in thinking and memory skills.

  • Heals and protects the skin.

Zinc-based ointments treat nappy rash, chapped lips, and itchy skin. Inside the body, zinc stimulates cell division, healing, connective tissue formation and assists in the transport of vitamin A from the liver to skin to protect and repair the skin.

  • Assists with pregnancy and infertility.

Zinc plays a crucial role in cell production. Therefore, it is vital for the growth and development of a growing baby. Moreover, Zinc improves male fertility by enhancing sperm count and motility.

How Can I Get More Zinc from My Diet?

Examples of Zinc-rich food items are:

  • Shellfish
  • Beef
  • Other Red meats
  • Organ meats
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Root vegetables

Features of Zinc Deficiency

  • Growth retardation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hair loss
  • Decreased Immunity

Consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements.

Affinity Health Day to Day and combined plan members have access to unlimited telephonic consultations with a healthcare provider. Affinity Health aims to make affordable healthcare available to all South Africans with healthcare plans designed to suit your health and financial needs.

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