The 10th edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances, which were recently announced, encouraged smokers to increase their intake of Vitamin C to 100 milligrams per day in order to replenish body stores depleted by smoking. Since winter produce is a primary source of the nutrient, now is a good time to take advantage of its nourishing effect.
According to USDA Handbook 8, oranges, kiwis, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower and raw cabbage are ideal for meeting the body's need for Vitamin C. Oranges and kiwis provide more than 100% of the daily allowance for Vitamin C. They are the fruits of choice--boasting 70 mg. per whole orange, about 74 mg. for each kiwi.
As vegetables go, Brussels sprouts and broccoli are best. A one-half cup serving of either cooked sprouts or diced broccoli pieces has about 48 mg. of Vitamin C. The same size portion of kohlrabi has about 44.5 mg. Cooked cauliflower, a one-half cup serving of flowerettes, provides about 34 mg. Cabbage, a lesser source, offers about 15 mg. per one-half cup.
While the RDA of 60 milligrams is sufficient to prevent scurvy (10 mg. is required for protection), it is thought that the additional intake may provide some protection against cancer for smokers. However, there is no data to support a link between increased Vitamin C intake and decreased risk.
What is known about the nutrient is its value in the formation of collagen, the protein that provides elasticity to tissues. Collagen is the foundation for various organs within the body, such as bones, teeth, skin and tendons. It also is an element of scar tissue, which heals wounds. It makes up the reinforcing structure that mends fractures and the supporting material of capillaries that prevents bruises. Vitamin C protects against infections, enhances iron absorption and serves as an antioxidant, as well.
Vitamin C is, however, easily destroyed. As a water-soluble substance, it is easily leached out of foods by overcooking and it is excreted in the urine daily. Therefore, health professionals recommend replenishing blood stores each day with foods rich in the vitamin. This should eliminate the need for excessive intake through vitamin supplements.
BARLEY-STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
4 tablespoons oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup barley
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 (16-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, crushed
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves, crumbled
1 large head cabbage
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in small nonstick saucepan until hot. Add 1/2 cup onion and saute 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute 4 minutes. Remove and reserve half of vegetables. Add water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, caraway seeds and half of pepper and bring to boil. Add barley and simmer, covered, until barley is tender, about 1 1/2 hours, adding more water as needed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in medium saucepan until hot. Add garlic and remaining onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, marjoram, remaining salt, pepper and reserved vegetables. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.
Remove and discard core from cabbage. Place cabbage in colander and rinse with cold water. Carefully remove outer leaves, repeating until 12 leaves are removed. (Soften leaves in boiling water to fold without breaking.) Spoon half of tomato sauce in bottom of shallow 1 1/2-quart casserole. Spoon 2 tablespoons barley mixture down center of each leaf, bringing sides over barley mixture. Roll up.
Place seam side down on tomato sauce in casserole. Pour remaining sauce over cabbage. Cover and bake at 350 degrees until cabbage is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
1 (16-ounce) can yams, drained
3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
Dash ground cinnamon
2 or 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
Slice yams and arrange in 1-quart baking dish. Combine crumbs, 1 tablespoon butter, brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. Sprinkle over yams. Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Arrange kiwis on top and brush with remaining butter. Bake 5 minutes longer or until just heated through. Makes about 4 servings.
ORANGE AND BEEF STIR FRY
3/4 pound lean beef steak, sliced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cups bean sprouts or sliced Chinese cabbage
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
2 oranges, peeled and cut in half-cartwheels
Sprinkle beef with garlic powder and ginger. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Stir fry beef until lightly browned. Remove.