Vitamin C is the one of antioxidants that we get from food that help our bodies prevent infection. Good sources of it include dark green vegetables and fruits such as citric fruits and guavas.
In addition to this, Vitamin C has other advantages such as aiding in the absorption of iron from foods in the small intestines.
Vitamin C Aids in Prevention of Cancer
|Oranges are a good source of Vit. C|
Vitamin C is capable of reducing carcinogenic compounds that occur in the stomach. One such compound is nitrosamine which is one of the risk factors for stomach cancer.
Nitrates are found in some of our foods such as processed meats that are preserved with nitrates, vegetables and water. Due to the acid present in the stomach, nitrite is converted to nitrosamine very fast.
Vitamin C inhibits the formation of this chemical so that it instead forms nitrite oxide. This explains why most of the people with stomach cancer are told to take Vitamin C rich foods or are given Vitamin C supplements to impair the formation of nitrosamine.
Fats Inhibit this Action
However, this process can be interfered with when there is presence of lipids (fats). This according to a 2007 study that showed in the absence of lipids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) reduced the formation of nitrosamine however when lipids were introduced, there was high formation of nitrosamine.
According to the study, this happens because ascorbic acid cannot dissolve in lipids, but the nitric oxide that is formed does dissolves very easily in it. The nitric oxide then reacts with amine present in lipids resulting in formation more nitrosamine compounds.
The results of that study suggest that it’s better to limit fats when eating foods with nitrates and vitamin C however the study makes no definite recommendations with regards to diet in light of its observations.
Regardless, it’s widely regarded that nitrosamines are cancer causing and thus any foods that promote their formation should be avoided. Likewise, high intake of salt, processed food products, fat (mostly saturated fat), high consumption of red meat and physical inactivity should be avoided as they are linked to cancer.
1. Fat transforms ascorbic acid from inhibiting to promoting acid-catalysed N-
nitrosation (Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6055876_Fat_transforms_ascorbic_acid_from_inhibiting_to_promoting_acid-catalysed_N-nitrosation)