As one of many antioxidants, vitamin C reduces free radicals, the damaging chemicals responsible for aging, while it also has a primary role in building and repairing tissues, such as skin, blood vessels, tendons and ligaments, bones, teeth and cartilage, according to PubMed Health. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin required for cell repair and growth throughout the body.
Because the body neither makes nor stores vitamin C, according to PubMed Health, one must eat foods containing vitamin C every day. All fruits and vegetables contain some amount of vitamin C though the foods containing higher levels include fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, berries, cantaloupe, kiwi and watermelon, and vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and other leafy greens, such as spinach, green and red pepper, and tomatoes, explains PubMed Health. Cooking reduces the amount of vitamin C in foods, so the best source of vitamin C is raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables.
Many people believe that vitamin C can help to prevent colds, but studies show that this is not true, according to PubMed Health. People who regularly take vitamin C can see a reduction in the severity of their symptoms, but vitamin C does not prevent a cold. Vitamin C taken after one already has a cold seems to have no benefit.
PubMed advises that the recommended daily amount of vitamin C varies by age, gender and health status, but women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding need 75 milligrams, while men need 90 milligrams. Though seen primarily in malnourished older adults, vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy.