fresh-fruit-and-vitamin-cFresh fruit salad needs to be a staple choice in menu planning to provide adequate Vitamin C in the diet, especially when short winter days and sneezing friends can alter your immune status. A healthy fruit salad enhances natural killer cell and lymphocyte production in the body. Vitamin C and the peroxide produced in your body can kill microorganisms and even destroy some bacteria like pneumococci.

Pass on the waldorf salad and choose fruits high in Vitamin C like kiwi fruit, strawberries, papaya, oranges and mango. Even star fruit or carambola has more Vitamin C than blueberries, apples, and bananas. Instead of sending canned fruit cocktail (5 mg Vitamin C), add a tangerine (22 mg Vitamin C) to the school lunch. Forget snacking on grapes to drown out the dinner hunger, eat 1/2 grapefruit or an orange.

Vitamin C is one of the least stable vitamins in our food supply so canned fruits or vegetables have virtually lost their ascorbic acid content. The less processed diet of our forefathers contained more Vitamin C than our currant foods which may be contributing to chronic diseases. Fruit juices that are pasteurized are poor sources of this critical nutrient. Fresh squeezed juices are becoming more readily available and home juicers may even be making a comeback.

Guinea pigs, apes and humans somewhere or somehow in the evolutionary process lost their ability to convert glucose into ascorbic acid in the liver. Some Vitamin C is stored in the body – adrenal glands, pituitary, brain and eye- but not sufficient for meeting daily needs. Those who smoke, take antibiotics, aspirin or pain medications and have environmental toxin exposures to lead, mercury or cadmium may need 2 to 3 times more Vitamin C.

Linus Pauling, Ph.D. a two time Nobel prize winner, stressed the importance of Vitamin C as a means of treating and preventing the common cold. Studies used to prove Dr. Pauling’s hypothesis prescribed ascorbic acid too low to be effective in any medical condition but many researchers now believe his biochemical expertise outweighs the doubters.

The aging population needs to take special heed to including fresh fruit salads in their diet because Vitamin C is crucial to the formation and maintenance of collagen in skin, ligaments, joints, capillaries, bones and gums. Ascorbic acid heals wounds, reduces bruising, and maintains healthy blood cells. Add to that, Vitamin C stimulates dopamine and epinephrine for stress hormone management in a fast changing world.

Ascorbic acid is one of the best antioxidants available in food and as a dietary supplement. Those wanting to select non-GMO supplement choices need to look for tapioca or cassava based Vitamin C because most Vitamin C is produced on corn.

Fresh Fruit with Mango Vinaigrette

2 kiwi fruit, peeled & sliced
1 orange, peeled & sliced
1/2 cup papaya cubes
1 carambola, sliced
10-12 strawberries
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 green onion, chopped
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley, basil, cilantro
1 mango, peeled & cubed

Arrange fruit on serving dish. Combine oils, vinegar, salt, green onion, garlic, herbs and mango in blender. Puree. Serve 2 tablespoons vinaigrette over fruit salad or garnish with plain yogurt. Makes 4 servings.

Calories 98 (no dressing), 188 (with dressing)
Protein 1 g
Carbohydrates 17 (no dressing), 23g (with dressing)
Fat 0 (no dressing), 9 g (with dressing)
Sodium 10 mg (no dressing), 55 mg (with dressing)