We know about the immune-support properties of vitamin D, currently the subject of many studies examining its ability to help our immune system resist Covid19.
We know about the antioxidant effects of vitamin C, and vitamin E, both of which limit the impact of free radicals and reduce chronic inflammation.
(Antioxidants neutralise free radicals which are molecules that cause cellular damage when their levels become too high. Damage caused by free radicals is associated with numerous chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.)
Asparagus ranks as an excellent source of both vitamin E and vitamin C. It is also a good source of a vitamin which you have probably never heard of before — vitamin P.
In fact, vitamin C and vitamin E work synergistically to enhance the antioxidant effects of vitamin P.
What the heck is vitamin P?
Vitamin P is also known as rutin.
It has been used in alternative medicine as an aid to enhance the action of vitamin C, to support blood circulation, as an antioxidant, and to treat allergies, viruses, or arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
What is vitamin P good for?
It is good for a lot of beneficial health outcomes, as it turns out.
Here is a list of some of its pharmacological properties:
- Antiprotozoal, i.e. dysentery or malaria
- Cytoprotective, i.e. protective against ulcers
- Vasoactive, i.e. affecting the vascular system
- Hypolipidemic, i.e. lowering fat levels in the blood
- Antiplatelet, i.e. preventing blood clots
- Antispasmodic, i.e. reducing muscle spasms
But that’s not all, this study found that vitamin P enhanced skin elasticity and reduced the length, as well as the area and number of wrinkles (and this one found it reversed baldness). In simple terms, it reduces skin aging.
While vitamin P supplements are available, it is readily available in many everyday foods.
8 foods and drinks rich in vitamin P
Here are some excellent dietary sources of vitamin P (rutin).
- Buckwheat is the best-known food source of rutin. The rutin content of tea made from buckwheat flowers contains even more rutin than then grain.
- Amaranth is best known for its edible seeds which are usually eaten much in the same way as rice, buckwheat, and quinoa. As Asian cooks know very well, the leaves make delicious dishes. And, the leaves contain far more vitamin p than the seeds.
- The white blossoms of the Elder tree can be dried and infused in hot water to make a rutin-rich hot drink.
- Apples are loaded with flavonoids such as rutin. To reap the maximum benefits, eat your apples with the peel on — most of the flavonoids are in the peel. Apple extract has a high content of rutin (as well as the most significant antioxidant capacity in comparison with other extracts).
- Unfermented rooibos tea contains high amounts of rutin. However, suppose you’re looking to boost your overall antioxidants. In that case, a cup of regular green or black tea may be a better choice. The total antioxidant activity of unfermented rooibos tea is about 50% lower than that of green or black tea.
- Figs also contain significant amounts of rutin, comparable to apples according to some research.
- Asparagus is a good source of rutin and readily accessible.
- Finally, rutin is found in significant quantities in oranges and other citrus fruits, especially in the skin. The latter is yet another reason to eat the skin of your oranges.
Vitamin P has neuroprotective properties
The ability of rutin to protect the brain has been the subject of several experiments.
For example, studies report that when rutin is administered to aged rats, they exhibit improved spatial memory and reduced neuron damage in the hippocampus (CA3b region).
The hippocampal CA3b region is very dense in neural connections and is critical for our associative memory and pattern completion tasks. As we age the hippocampus loses some of its acuity, so anything to help is a blessing.
To add to your daily menu
Of course, soba noodles are made from buckwheat (authentic soba noodles are made from 100 percent buckwheat flour). Many brands of organic soba are easily obtainable. If you like noodles, then add more soba in your diet to up your vitamin P consumption.
I add cracked buckwheat into my morning oats mixture, add hot water and let them all soak overnight. In the morning, I add a good quantity of full-cream milk and reheat to near-boiling point in the microwave and let them cool again (this cooling makes the oats prebiotic).
Asparagus is one of my fav vegetables, so adding more is fine by me. I also drink a big glass of green tea and ginger tea first thing every morning, so this is helping my vitamin P intake.
For me, eating oranges and apples daily is routine — both with the skin. I wash them thoroughly first as I don’t trust the pesticides.
It is common to find in many fruits and vegetables that there is a higher concentration of nutrients closer to the skin, or in the skin, then elsewhere. Vitamin P is just another example. Half of the beneficial antioxidants and protective compounds of an orange are in its skin.
But don’t let eating the skin put you off. Just eat the orange flesh to give your vitamin P a boost.
Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.