- The trouble with avocados – and why your cells have the same problem!
- How vitamin C slows down ageing
- Another way to boost your immune system this winter – by switching this appliance off at night!
I love avocados.
They’re not only delicious but full of nutrients, including vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, riboflavin, folate, niacin, potassium and magnesium.
There are two very annoying things about them, though.
Firstly, trying to get a properly ripe one is tricky.
Often the ones in the shops are rock hard, so you have to take them home and let them ripen.
But that means you have to wait for THEM to get ready – everything happens on their schedule.
They’re so arrogant!
The only thing you can do is put them in a bag with a banana for a few days, which can speed up the process.
Once they’re ripe, you then need to act fast and prepare your dish – whether it’s guacamole, prawn salad, or even a vegan cake (avocados replace the butter!).
The second problem with avocados is that almost as soon as you open one, that lovely green flesh starts to turn brown.
The reason for this is oxidisation.
The trick to avoid this is to squeeze citrus juice, like lemon or lime, all over the exposed flesh of the avocado.
This stops the oxidisation process happening.
Then you can take your time and prepare your dish without it becoming very unattractive.
Now, the reason I’m telling you this isn’t because I’m passing on a cooking tip.
(Well, I am, but that’s not the main reason.)
I’m telling you this because this is exactly how vitamin C was discovered.
The vitamin that stops oxidation inside YOU
A scientist named Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986) was experimenting on plants and found that plant browning was caused by peroxidase, an enzyme that becomes active during oxidation.
However, adding citrus juice stopped it.
To find out why, he investigated further and found a substance in citrus juice which he called ‘hexuronic acid’.
This was later renamed ‘ascorbic acid’ or – as most of us like to call it – vitamin C.
His experiments showed that we need vitamin C for a properly functioning immune system.
If you remember my recent email, it’s absolutely essential that you ensure you get enough vitamin C this winter.
We’ve not only got a pandemic to contend with but the usual rounds of cold and flu.
To find out more, check out my blog post here: what the science says about fighting off winter illnesses
But it’s not only your immune system that vitamin C boosts.
What’s interesting is that vitamin C not only stops the process of oxidisation in plants, as Szent-Gyorgyi discovered, but inside humans too.
You see, your body is constantly undergoing oxidative stress. This causes DNA damage and accelerates the ageing effect.
To defend against this, your white blood cells draw in vitamin C to help kill the pathogens.
So when you have adequate amounts of vitamin C in your system, you can help keep your cells healthy and slow down the internal ageing process.
It also helps to slow the external ageing process too.
This is because vitamin C helps form collagen, which keeps your skin, teeth, muscles and eyes healthy. It also stops the cartilage in your joints wearing out.
But how much vitamin C is ‘adequate’?
What you need to know about vitamin C dosage
Let’s imagine that you need a vitamin C boost.
You might think that going on a vitamin C binge for a few days would give your health a massive boost.
This isn’t the case.
The key with vitamin C is to have a little bit every day.
You see, from a 100mg dose only around 80% of the vitamin will be used.
If you go above that amount the benefits don’t rise in tandem, because it’s not possible for your body to absorb more. So all that extra stuff just flushes out.
This is why a daily small dose – as you get in our special vitamin C and vitamin D combination package for winter – is the best way to keep your levels up.
You can read more about that special winter package here: Vitamin C and D combo
Boost your immune system by switching this appliance off at night
At Washington State University, a scientist named James Krueger has shown a strong link between quality of sleep and immunity to flu.
In tests on mice he showed that a brain protein called AcPb speeds up recovery from flu by promoting sleep.
In mice that lacked this protein, symptoms of flu were worse and the death rate higher.
Another research paper in 2012, entitled ‘Sleep and Immune Function’, concluded:
“Sleep and the circadian system are strong regulators of immunological processes… prolonged sleep curtailment and the accompanying stress response cause your body to go into a state of chronic low-grade inflammation.”
So sleep is vital, along with good nutrition, for strong immunity.
Of course, it’s not always as simple as going to bed early.
Like many in the UK, you might have trouble sleeping.
I cannot promise you a cure for insomnia, but if I have one tip to give you today, it’s this…
Avoid watching TV directly before you go to sleep. Same goes for your phone. Stop using it 30 minutes before bed and, if possible, avoid having your mobile phone in the bedroom.
And here’s why…
- The light emitted from screens keeps your brain in a state of wakefulness
- Being aware of alerts, missed notifications and communications on social media can make it difficult to relax
- Electromagnetic fields generated by smartphones and TVs can disrupt your sleep
So, strange as it might sound, switching off TVs and phones at night could, in the long run, help your immune system this winter.
And of course, don’t forget to eat well and supplement your diet with high quality, whole food-based vitamins like these: Vitamins C and D.