Scurvy is a health problem that makes most of us think about the pirates who sailed the seas in an era that has long passed. Since most of us have plenty of access to the fresh fruits and vegetables that prevent the malnutrition that leads to scurvy, we make little effort to learn anything about the condition, including how to treat and prevent the condition.
While the odds of you developing scurvy right now are basically non-existent, you shouldn’t assume that things will always remain that way. All it takes is one catastrophic event for much of our current food supply to disappear. If that happens, scurvy could once again become a real problem. If this should happen, the best way to prevent the disease from triggering a rash of deaths is to know as much as you can about how to treat the condition.
How Does Scurvy Develop?
For a long time, no one fully understood why sailors were prone to scurvy. Many theories abounded, but it was eventually discovered that the culprit was a severe lack of Vitamin C, which was in short supply aboard ships. Since cooking reduces the amount of Vitamin C found in foods, eating raw fruits and vegetables is the best way to keep your Vitamin C levels ideal.
Back when scurvy was a common problem amongst sailors, doctors recorded several symptoms of the diseases which includes:
- Lethargic behavior
- Swollen and painful joints
- Tooth decay and loss
- Bleeding gums
- Hardening of the muscles
Though it takes several years, if a change in diet is not made and the scurvy cured, the individual who has the disease could very well die from their condition.
The good news is that preventing scurvy isn’t at all difficult. It just requires attention to your diet and making sure that you include fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C to your diet. In addition to most citrus fruits, you should also eat:
The good thing about the high number of fruits and vegetables that contain large portions of Vitamin C is that if something does happen to knock out part of our food supply, the odds are pretty good that you’ll be able to find something else to replace it with. The one thing you should keep in mind is that Vitamin C diminishes as it’s cooked, so it’s best to eat these foods raw.
One of the interesting things that medical experts noticed was that individuals who lived in cold areas, such as Alaska and parts of Canada and didn’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, didn’t seem to suffer from scurvy, though their living conditions indicated they should. Further research indicated that the reason they remained so health stemmed from the fact that some of the meats they ate, especially some types of fish, were very high in the necessary Vitamin C.
What to Do to Prevent Scurvy If Your Food Supply Is In Jeopardy
Planning ahead is the trick to making sure that you remain scurvy free if something goes horribly wrong and you are no longer able to find the foods you need to prevent the disease. If you are worried about the future, you should start stocking up on Vitamin C rich supplements right now. There are several ways that you can do this, including:
- Enriched drink mixes
- Canned fruit
- Vitamin C capsules
- Dried fruit
If you’re worried about how long your supply of Vitamin C supplements will hold out, there are some things you can gather in nature that will help your remain healthy. One of the best, untapped edible sources of Vitamin C is dandelions, and considering how difficult it is to rid your yard of the plant, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t survive just about any type of disaster.
The good thing about taking the time to learn more about scurvy is that you will find that you’re more conscious about the number of foods you eat that contain Vitamin C and will make an effort to eat more of them each week. Vitamin C should be included in every prepper’s stockpile in some form. Have you added Vitamin C to your preps?