The Return of Scurvy

It’s hard to believe that a disease like scurvy still exists, but this easy-to-avoid ailment has made a comeback in modern America thanks to poor nutrition and the standard fast-food diet. Scurvy is basically a Vitamin C deficiency so severe that it can cause nausea, and eventually, bleeding gums, scarred skin and in the most extreme cases, even death. Back in Columbus’ day, almost half of the sailors on long voyages would die from scurvy thanks to the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Like those sailors from hundreds of years ago, the people suffering from scurvy today have little access to nutritious food – either thanks to poor food choices or economic concerns. Junk food is cheap for a reason – the nutritional “value” isn’t there. For people who can’t afford fresh vegetables and fruit, scurvy could also go undiagnosed for years until the more severe symptoms appear. Those suffering from scurvy also can experience fatigue, joint pain and mood changes.

Unfortunately, even those who eat canned vegetables may not be getting enough Vitamin C because overcooking vegetables destroys the C within them. Besides taking a Vitamin C supplement, there are ways to increase the intake of this vitamin with fresher food options. Some foods high in C are Tomatoes, Peppers, Strawberries, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Spinach and of course, citrus fruits. Bringing back a variety of fresh foods into our diets is one way to get the different vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. And since our bodies have no way of producing Vitamin C, we must get it from the other sources.

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