Top 10 food sources of

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the body maintain healthy tissues and a strong immune system, and it aids in the absorption of iron. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adult men is 90 mg and for adult women it’s 75 mg. Here are the top 10 food sources of vitamin C, according to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines.

1. Guava
Guava is rich in vitamin C -- one half-cup of the fruit contains 188 mg of vitamin C and 56 calories. Eat the fruit raw, or try it in a smoothie.

2. Red sweet pepper
You probably instantly think citrus when you think of immune system-boosting vitamin C, but red sweet pepper offers a solid dose of the nutrient. One half-cup of raw red sweet pepper contains 142 mg. of vitamin C and 20 calories. If you cook the veggie, a 1/2 cup offers 116 mg. of vitamin C.

3. Kiwi
Kiwi--the fruit, not the bird that’s the national symbol of New Zealand--is rich in vitamin C. One medium kiwi contains 70 mg. of the nutrient and 46 calories.

4. Orange
Who doesn’t want an injection of acidic orange when in need of a vitamin C boost? You’re justified. One medium orange contains 70 mg of vitamin C and 62 calories.
If you prefer it in liquid form, 3/4 cup of orange juice contains 61-93 mg of vitamin C and 79-84 calories.

5. Green sweet pepper
Green sweet peppers offer 60 mg of vitamin C per half-cup, with only 15 calories. When cooked, the vegetable provides 51 mg. of vitamin C.

6. Grapefruit juice
Grapefruit juice provides almost the same amount of vitamin C as green peppers: 3/4 cup has 50-70 mg. vitamin C and 71-86 calories.

7. Vegetable juice cocktail
Drinking your vegetables provides plenty of nutrients, including a vitamin C punch. You’ll get 50 mg. of vitamin C and 34 calories in 3/4 cup of juice.

8. Strawberries
Strawberries are full of fibre and antioxidants, including vitamin C. One half-cup of strawberries contains 49 mg. of the vitamin and 27 calories.

9. Brussels sprouts
You already know this kid-unfriendly vegetable has a good nutritional reputation, but did you know that includes vitamin C? One half-cup of cooked brussels sprouts offers 48 mg. of vitamin C and 28 calories.

10. Cantaloupe
One quarter of a medium cantaloupe has 47 mg. of vitamin C and 51 calories.

Free radicals and health

Nutritionists and health advocates recommend ingestion of food that contains high amounts of antioxidants to counteract the free radicals that are produced in the body. Free radicals are unstable oxygen atoms and as people are aware, an atom has a nucleus comprised of protons and neutrons, around which electrons travel. Everything is fine when the electrons are in pairs, but difficulties are present when an electron is not paired, as with unstable oxygen atoms. These free radicals steal electrons from normal, or stable body cells and create a sequence known as oxidation.

Antioxidants have been proven to limit the effect of oxidation in the body caused by free radicals, or to put it more succinctly, antioxidants protect a person from free radical damage. It is unquestionable that antioxidants shield people from some of the most serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and many more. There are those who actually suggest that an adequate supply of antioxidants in their diets can slow down the ageing process!

The actions of free radicals are not all bad. They assist the body to fight micro-organisms and it is only a surplus of free radicals that is responsible for health disorders, and not a balanced amount.

The importance of fruit and vegetables

Antioxidants are readily obtainable to maintain the balance, and clean up any surplus free radicals, because natural antioxidants are found in fruit and vegetables. Therefore it is very important to ingest a minimum of five servings of fruit a day.

Fats in food

A high fat diet may significantly increase free radical production, and it is widely accepted that saturated fat is responsible for free radical problems. However, the situation is complicated as not all fats are loaded with free radicals. A sensible way to begin would be to seek to avoid saturated fats, including animal meat, and fried foods of any description. There are other fats, including fish oils, which current studies suggest are actually helpful, but transfats, widely used in manufactured biscuits, cakes, etc. are best avoided.

The environment

Sadly, our intake of free radicals is not solely from our diets, but also from environmental contaminants, including industrial emmissions, tobacco smoke, and others. One cannot possibly avoid them altogether, although an excellent way to guard oneself, is through a practical knowledge of antioxidants.


Antioxidant food is vital to well-being, but if one need extra protection one might consider vitamin supplements. A person usually gets all Vitamin C from fruit and vegetable consumption, but it’s good to include Vitamin E as well. Good sources of Vitamin E are peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and green leafy vegetables. Also the vitamins are particularly good if they are an integral part of a healthy diet. Supplements are available, in a variety of forms, but are best considered under professional guidance.


Responding to emergencies in medicine

By Usha Perera
In a medical emergency, every second counts and the most important thing is to reach a medical facility as soon as possible. But reaching a medical facility is dependent on many things such as transport, people who could take you in the available transport, the distance of the closest medical facility etc etc. Therefore it is equally important to have access to some medical facility that could reach you in an emergency as much as vice versa and Medi-Calls was established as far back as in 1985 as a subscription based Emergency Medical Services in response to this specific need.

Today twenty four years after it was first established and following a change in its management and location, Medi-Calls aggregates the skills of 26 medical professionals on its roster with doctors and other paramedical staff representing a portfolio of key medical specialisations which allows the practice to respond thoughtfully to the special needs of patients who call on them for medical attention.

“At present we have five ambulances for our services that are fully equipped with ECG machines and resuscitation equipment and we are on call twenty four hours of the day”, says Dr. Yasa Siriwardene who is the head of the medical operations at Medi-Calls.
“Our home visiting services are built around a team that comprise a doctor, nurse and an ambulance driver and we have three or more teams on duty at any given time at this place throughout a 24 hour cycle. Also our ambulances and the communication centre are wireless linked for better communication”, adds Dr. Siriwardene.

“When a team reaches a patient in response to a call they conduct a quick evaluation whether the patient could be treated on the spot or if he or she requires OPD treatment or would need hospitalisation. If it is the latter case the patient is taken to the hospital of his or her choice and the team makes all the necessary arrangements with the hospital while transporting the patient in the ambulance and briefs the doctors and other medical staff that would take over the patient from them” explains Siriwardene. “Again even after giving over the patient, we continue to monitor the patients as they are our clients. In short we look after patients right through any crisis till it is over” she further adds. The Majority of Colombo and greater Colombo areas are covered by Medi-Calls services

According to Siriwardene, all the doctors on duty at Medi-Calls are those who work in emergency medical services in other hospitals and are fully trained in different procedures and those who have full registration with the Sri Lanka Medical Council.

It is not only emergencies that Medi-Calls attends to, but also responds to routine home medical care that includes catheterisations and bladder irrigations of the elderly and those with special needs for the above, naso gastric tube insertion to those who would need nasal feeding, wound toilet and dressing, bed sores care, nebulisation of asthma patients, suturing and removal of sutures and post operative care, random blood sugar testing, giving intravenous drips to those with vomitting and diarrhoea who do not want to enter hospital, and giving intravenous injections.

“We have two types of subscription categories”, says Siriwardene. “We have the family / household subscriptions that covers everyone in the member’s household including visitors, house guests, and household staff, and the other type is the corporate subscription that applies to corporations, institutions, clubs, hotels and communities of five or more households. We also cover special events such as exhibitions, sports festivals on request where we become stationed at places where there are such events taking place with an ambulance and a doctor and a nurse. As part of our civic duties we also visit children’s homes, and homes for the aged but on request” adds Dr. Yasa.

Medi-Calls has also started an onsite 24 hour Medical Clinic at their premises in Colombo 05 recently where services available include a doctor on call at the centre where anyone can walk in to see a doctor and get treatment. The clinic is open to corporate clients as well and each patient that comes to the clinic has a file opened and would be updated each time he or she visits the clinic. Any blood test that is deemed necessary by the doctor is done at the clinic and if necessary the patients are referred to specialists. Medi-Calls is registered at the Ministry of Health as a Professional Healthcare Providing Institution.

Write in with your medical queries

Dr. Usha Perera would be happy to answer any medical queries mailed into The Nation Health page. Your questions about health and nutrition can be mailed to No. 742, Maradana Road, Colombo 10 or email: floydp@sltnet.lk
Confidentiality will be guaranteed.