Getting Those Needed Vitamins in the Winter…in Romania.
Vitamin C gets a lot of positive press for its ability to strengthen our immune systems and help us resist all the winter bugs floating around (especially if you work with kids). Despite giving us a boost in fighting off colds, Vitamin C performs many other important tasks. In fact, most living organisms on the planet produce their own Vitamin C internally. Vitamin C helps keep the human body healthy, both by combating infection and aiding in healing processes. Vitamin C is vital in having healthy gums, teeth, joints, and even bones.
Without enough Vitamin C, humans can develop scurvy. Scurvy is nasty, and leads to poorly healing sores in the mouth and liver spots and bruising on the skin. Since humans are one of the only races on Earth that don’t produce their own Vitamin C, it’s important that we keep our Vitamin C levels high by eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Of note, smokers are recommended to get more Vitamin C, to lessen their chances of contracting a lung-borne disease.
Since so many organisms on Earth produce their own Vitamin C, it’s not difficult for us to meet our daily recommended levels (from 60-90 mg/day). Again, the best sources of Vitamin C are in fresh, unprocessed fruits and veggies, which can be found year round at your piata or supermarket:
One cup of red bell peppers has almost 3x your daily recommendation of Vitamin C.
-One cup of cauliflower has about 55 mg of Vitamin C, which is very close to the DV.
-One medium orange has over 100% of your DV, at about 60 calories. A glass of orange juice has about 200% your DV, but may be sweetened with sugar.
-Even a small sprinkling of parsley (2 tablespoons) has about 15% the DV.
During the winter, it’s important to up your Vitamin D levels. See, Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin,” because our bodies begin to produce it naturally after 15 minutes of exposure to direct sunlight. This is great because Vitamin D helps maintain strong, healthy bones by controlling their levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D also has a hand in keeping our circulatory and nervous systems healthy, and even acts as an anti-inflammatory.
However, without adequate exposure to sunlight, humans can develop a Vitamin D deficiency (like rickets), which most commonly results in weakened bone structure, fractures, and breaks. Therefore, volunteers living in cold, cloudy places (Romania) sometimes need to find other ways to increase their Vitamin D levels during the darker seasons.
-The USDA recommends about 400 IU of Vitamin D, per day. The very best sources of Vitamin D are in seafoods, like salmon and shrimp. Not very likely for a PCV in Romania, but, fortunately, we can find other sources:
If you like canned herring, or sardines, one serving daily of either will provide all the Vitamin D you need.
-Look for Vitamin D enriched dairy products, such as milk or yogurt. A serving of either contains about 100 IU.
-Eggs can be used to supplement your Vitamin D intake, as they contain approximately 75-100