Scurvy, vitamin C and failsafe foods

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A doctor has discovered scurvy among a group of diabetes patients at a major western Sydney hospital.

Scurvy is a rare condition that used to be associated with sailors on long voyages in sailing ships. It is caused by a chronic lack of vitamin C that is found in fresh fruit and vegetables.

Vitamin C is needed to promote healing. Symptoms of scurvy can include wounds that don’t heal, gums that bleed easily, and people who bruise easily.

Professor Jenny Gunton is head of the Diabetes Centre at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. She was investigating whether a vitamin C deficiency was behind a patient's unhealed leg ulcer when she decided to test others as well.

In a group of 12 diabetics with low levels of vitamin C, she reported:

“one person was eating little or no fresh fruit and vegetables, and the rest ate fair amounts of vegetables, but they were simply over-cooking them, which destroys the vitamin C"


When people think of vitamin C, they usually think of oranges. Obviously, citrus fruit are not suitable for people with salicylate sensitivity or other food intolerances as they as very high in salicylates and also contain amines, however, there are other options.

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Potatoes & Vitamin C

It is a little known fact that potatoes are a good source of vitamin C. In 2010, Chris Voigt from the Washington Potato Board ate a potato-only diet - nothing but 20 potatoes a day for 60 days – to prove that potatoes are part of a healthy diet. He said:


“The potato is one of the most near-complete foods on earth. [One potato] provides 45% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C …”


You can see the whole 4 minute video http://www.forksoverknives.com/getting-well-on-twenty-potatoes-a-day/


Best cooking methods

Vitamin C is soluble in water. That means if you cook your vegetables in water (boiling or microwaving in water), you will lose significant amounts of the vitamin C –unless you cook them in soups that mean you are eating the cooking water as well. Otherwise it is better to “dry” cook them, through either dry microwaving, pressure cooking or steaming, so the goodness doesn’t get thrown out.


More details
: an article by a chemistry professor on how to dry-microwave vegetables to get the most nutrients  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/28/AR2006022800282.html


Sources of vitamin C on the RPAH Elimination Diet

There are many excellent sources of vitamin C for failsafers. Potatoes aren’t the only source.

In the RPAH elimination diet handbook, page 93, researchers recommend: potatoes; parsley (although this has now been upgraded to high in salicylates so you can’t eat much); Brussels sprouts; cabbage; beans and swedes (rutabaga). All fruit and vegetables contain at least some vitamin C, so every little bit helps.

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Vitamin C content of some low salicylate foods  (mg per 100g) from USDA

Vitamin C daily requirements range from 30 mg for infants to 45 mg for adults and 85 mg for lactation.

Brussels sprouts

85.0

Pawpaw (papaya) (low in salicylates but contain amines)

60.9

Chives

58.1

Red cabbage

57.5

Green peas (low in salicylates but contain natural glutamates)

40.0

Cabbage

36.6

Garlic

31.2

Cabbage

31.0

Swede (rutabaga)

25.0

Potatoes

19.7

Green beans

16.3

Leeks

12.0

Banana (low in salicylates but contain amines)

8.7

Choko (chayote)

7.7

Mungbean sprouts

4.8

Pears, Bartlett

4.4

Bamboo shoots, raw

4.0

Celery

3.1

Lettuce, iceberg

2.8

 

Mum’s mash (or how to get Brussels sprouts into children)

 
“… I was not giving up on Brussels sprouts and swedes as veggie options.

 

First of all I mashed the potatoes and swede together. No one seemed to notice and they ate it all up. Next I added Brussels sprouts, which I cooked separately then added to the potato and swede, mashing it with a stab blender , a bit of milk and butter with a bit of salt to taste on serving. No one noticed until my son said one night ‘What’s in this mashed potato? It’s really nice.’ “ – from The Failsafe Cookbook page 110


Pawpaw milkshake (or how to get pawpaw into children)
 

For sals-sensitive people who have passed their amine challenge.

 
“My daughter doesn’t like the taste of pawpaw, so I tried her on a milkshake her amine challenge but doesn’t like to eat pawpaw. So I tried it in a milkshake – some fresh pawpaw blended up with soymilk and a bit of sugar, and she loved it”.


Supplements

During the strict phase of the elimination diet – usually 3-6 weeks - your dietitian will probably recommend a daily multivitamin and mineral tablet that contains vitamin C but no preservatives, colours or flavours (such as Blackmores or Orthoplex Children’s). Vitamin C powder supplements without colours and flavours are also suitable, e.g. Melrose Sodium Ascorbate, see photo.   (More details on pages 108-109 RPAH elimination diet handbook).  

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Diet liberalisation
Even if you fail your salicylate challenge, after a month or two established on your own personalised diet, your dietitian will take you through careful reintroduction of moderate salicylate foods such as to find out how much you can tolerate.

Vitamin C content of some MODERATE salicylate foods (mg per 100 gm) from USDA

Peas, sugar snap, fresh, raw 

58.0

Bok choy, raw                                      

45.0

Zucchini, baby, peeled

34.1

Pumpkin (butternut, butternut squash)

21.0

Turnip

21.0

Sweet potato, baked

19.6

Parsnip

17.0

Rhubarb

8.0

Asparagus, boiled

7.7

Carrot (contain heaps of vitamin A)

5.9

Beetroot

4.9

Apple (golden or red Delicious)

4.6

Cucumber, peeled

3.2


More info

RPAH Elimination diet Handbook from libraries, dietitians and www.allergy.net.au

Our list of dietitians http://www.fedup.com.au/information/support/failsafe-friendly-dietitians-and-other-health-professionals

Resurgence of scurvy in the news http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-29/resurgence-of-the-rare-condition-of-scurvy-among-diabetics/8073136

Symptoms of scurvy https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/scurvy

A chemistry professor tells how to dry-microwave vegetables to get the most nutrients  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/28/AR2006022800282.html

4 minute video on the potato-only diet  http://www.forksoverknives.com/getting-well-on-twenty-potatoes-a-day/

Our salicylate factsheet http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/salicylates