C YOUR WAY CLEAR OF STRESS
Benefits of Vitamin C
No, you can’t eat your troubles away. But stress may take less of a toll if you have a tall glass of OJ in the morning and eat other vitamin C-packed fruits and vegetables like oranges, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli every day. If your body is “high on C,” recent research suggests, you may be able to take stress in stride.
In a two-week study at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, people who ate two daily bowls of tomato-based gazpacho increased their blood levels of vitamin C and decreased levels of four molecules secreted by the body as a normal response to stress. Besides tomatoes, this chilled vegetable soup also contains C-rich bell peppers.
Earlier studies, which assessed anxiety, suggest that supplemental C is also an effective stress buster. In a British study, subjects who took a multivitamin and mineral supplement that included 500 milligrams of vitamin C (as well as calcium, magnesium and zinc) rated themselves as less tired and stressed than a group who took placebos. In a German study, people who took 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C three times a day showed fewer signs of stress--such as higher blood pressure and elevated levels of cortisol—when subjected to the surefire stressor of public speaking, than those who didn’t. What’s more, folks with high blood levels of vitamin C reported feeling less anxiety and bounced back from the stressful situation more quickly than those with low levels.
After analyzing available clinical trials and epidemiological studies on vitamin C, 14 leading experts, including Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, of Tufts University, concluded that vitamin C is safe at up to 2000 milligrams daily. But always check with your doctor before taking supplements.