Fight smoke with vitamin

EATING WELL

February 15, 1994|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Special to the Sun

"Second-hand smokers" should join the "100 mg Club" and make friends with oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and kiwi fruit. Broccoli, spinach, romaine and tomatoes also join the list.

Passive smokers have below-normal blood levels of vitamin C according to a study published recently.

Vitamin C is important because:

* Shortages of vitamin C delay wound healing and weaken capillary walls, resulting in small hemorrhages like bleeding gums.

* Vitamin C activates folic acid, a B vitamin known to prevent certain birth defects and possibly prevent cataracts and some uterine cancers.

* Vitamin C increases the iron you get from grains and beans, an important nutritional consideration for folks who have given up high iron foods like meat, chicken and fish.

* Vitamin C may also play a role in reducing cholesterol build-up in arteries.

* There are strong indications vitamin C reduces risks for several kinds of cancer.

Nonsmokers need to take in 60 mg/day of vitamin C from food or supplements, and smokers need 100 mg/day to maintain normal blood levels, according to the Recommended Dietary Allowances of the National Academy of Sciences. Based on the new study, passive smokers should probably aim for 100 mg/day also.

MA If you want variety, mix and match from the accompanying box.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center and Vanderhorst & Associates in Baltimore.

High C fruits and vegetables

Fruit .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Amount .. .. .. .. ..Vitamin C (mg)

Kiwi fruit .. .. .. .. .. ..1 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..75

Mango .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .one .. .. .. .. .. .. ...57

Navel orange .. .. .. .. .. one .. .. .. .. .. .. ...80

Papaya .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 1/2 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .94

Strawberries .. .. .. .. ..1 cup .. .. .. .. .. .. ..85

Cranberry juice .. .. .. ..1 cup .. .. .. .. .. .. .108

Fresh grapefruit juice .. .1 cup .. .. .. .. .. .. ..94

Fresh orange juice .. .. ..1 cup .. .. .. .. .. .. .124

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..High C Vegetables

Broccoli (raw) .. .. .. .. .1 cup .. .. .. .. .. ...163

(cooked) .. .. .. .. .. .. .1 cup .. .. .. .. .. ...135

Brussels sprouts .. .. ...6-8 medium .. .. .. .. .. .87

Cauliflower (raw) .. .. .. .1 cup .. .. .. .. .. .. .78

(cooked) .. .. .. .. .. .. .1 cup .. .. .. .. .. .. .60

Kale .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..1 cup .. .. .. .. .. .. .82

Sweet green pepper .. .. ..1 large .. .. .. .. .. ..128

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