Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C)

Photomicrograph of Ascorbic Acid under the microscope

Vitamin C is found in a wide spectrum of popular foods, but occurs most commonly in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and grapefruits, as well as tomatoes. The sugar-like vitamin easily oxidizes in air and is sensitive to both light and heat. Ascorbic acid is a relatively fragile molecule and may be lost from foods during preparation, cooking, and/or storage. In spite of the fact that vitamin C is easily destroyed, it has the ability to preserve foods by virtue of its role as a reducing agent. Leafy greens such as collards, spinach, and turnip greens are good sources of needed vitamin C in either raw or cooked forms. Most foods, however, yield maximum amounts of ascorbic acid when eaten raw or minimally cooked. Other good food sources of vitamin C include rosehips, strawberries, watercress, papaya, and mangos. Potatoes and green vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage also provide this essential nutrient. In addition to natural sources, vitamin C may be obtained in synthetic derivatives of glucose. Supplemental forms include tablets, capsules, powdered crystalline, and liquid forms.

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