To determine which of the five food groups contain vitamin C.  I chose to investigate vitamin C because I swim everyday, and in order to swim at my top performance I have to eat a healthy diet.  Investigating vitamin C will help me achieve this goal.                  







      I believe that vitamin C will not be found in the five major food groups.  I predict that it will be found in the fruit and vegetable groups only. I made this choice because in my research I learned that vitamin C is found in fruit and vegetable sources.




The purpose of my project was to find out which of the five foods groups have foods that contain vitamin C.  After researching vitamin C, I concluded that vitamin C would be found in the fruit and vegetable groups. 


            I learned that vitamin C is a colorless crystal and is a water-soluble vitamin which means that it dissolves easily in water.  Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and is a weak acid.  Vitamin C is found in the watery part of fruits and green vegetables. 


            Plants and some animals make their own vitamin C, but humans do not.  You need four enzymes to make vitamin C.  Humans only have three of these enzymes so we cannot produce vitamin C.  Somewhere in our development, we lost the fourth enzyme and ascorbic acid became a vitamin for us.  A vitamin is a group of natural substances which are necessary in small amounts for growth and good health and which must be obtained from food or pills, as the body cannot usually produce them.            


            Vitamin C is probably the most important vitamin we need to take because our bodies do not make it.  We must get this vitamin through our diet or in a vitamin tablet because our diet alone is not enough.  Our diet along is not enough because most of our vitamin C is lost in our urine.  In addition, smoking causes a very serious loss of vitamin C in our body.  One cigarette takes out 25-mg. of vitamin C in our bodies.  A person smoking a pack of cigarettes a day would lose a lot of vitamin C.  Many different things cause our body to lose vitamin C.  They say alcohol and stress are things that also cause you to lose vitamin C.  The recommended daily allowance in the United States is 60 milligrams of vitamin C.  A study in 1992 revealed that people who have high blood levels of vitamin C live six years longer than people do with low vitamin C levels.   


            Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant essential for tissue growth and repair, and healthy gums.  Anti-oxidant is a substance, which slows down the rate at which something decays because of oxidization.  Vitamin C helps to prevent oxidation of water-soluble molecules that could harm our bodies.  If a substance oxidizes it combines with oxygen to form another substance.  For example, iron becomes rusty when it oxidizes, and an apple becomes brown when it oxidizes. 


Other things vitamin C can do for us are fight the affects of pollution, help to prevent cancer, enhance the immune system, be helpful against fighting infections, protect against blood clotting and bruising.


            Vitamin C is taken into our intestines and our body uses it within two hours after consuming it, and it leaves our bodies three or four hours after ingestion.  Cooking and storage does not affect the amount of vitamin C in foods, but bruising, over cooking, and reheating will.  Also, slicing fruits and vegetables and letting them be exposed to light or heat can cause vitamin C loss. ‘ “Eating five fruits and vegetables a day will easily provide 200 mg,” says principal investigator Dr. Mark Levine of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. ’