avoiding scurvy - preparedness

Prepping to avoid scurvy
Prepper's Guide: How to Avoid Scurvy

Scurvy is the dreaded pirate's disease brought on by a lack of
Vitamin C. The deficiency of Vitamin C auses sores, pale skin
and depression, Could people again become susceptible to
scurvy? It's possible. While this disease virtually is gone from
modern society, we may see a recurrence in an apocalyptic
situation where people are deprived of proper nourishment.

The primary cause of scurvy is insufficient intake of Vitamin C
(ascorbic acid). Vitamin C helps your body with the growth and
repair of tissue. Your body requires Vitamin C for the synthesis
of collagen. Without proper levels  of Vitamin C, scurvy might

Pirates were at sea longer than the supplies of fresh meats,
citrus fruits and Vitamin C bearing fresh vegetables could last,
which could be the same fate preppers will face in apocalyptic
times. Compounding the problem of a lack of Vitamin C, pirates
subsisted on cured and salted meats, which robbed them of any
Vitamin C their bodies had stored. (This is the same diet that
preppers may subsist on if they don't quickly begin to grow their
own food.) As a result, pirates developed a particularly nasty set
of ailments, including bleeding gums, symptoms of malaise and
lethargy, and finally death.

Certainly preppers must prepare their pantry and garden to
supply a diet rich in Vitamin C if they want to avoid the pirates

How to Avoid Scurvy in Survival Times

Who might get scurvy following a catastrophe?
In addition to people eating a diet too high in salted and cured
foods anyone on poor diets who are not eating fresh fruits and
vegetables is susceptible. People particularly at risk include:

  • Alcoholics. Those who have alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver
    are at risk for scurvy.

  • Children, infants and developing fetus. Kids who eat less
    than 2 servings of fruits/vegetables per day are at risk for
    getting scurvy. Researchers from the University of
    Copenhagen reported that "Vitamin C deficiency is
    especially dangerous for the fetus (developing baby in the

  • Cigarette smokers. Smoking cigarettes lowers the amount
    of vitamin C in the body, so smokers are at a higher risk of

  • People who don't eat fresh meats. Meat is not only the
    perfect prepper protein, but it also has all the essential
    nutrients. If you ate nothing but fresh meat you would have
    every vitamin, mineral and nutrient you need. If you have
    fresh meat cook it, but don't overcook it. Meat has enough C
    from that source alone to prevent scurvy!

  • People with medical conditions. People who suffer from
    medical conditions which prevent the intake or absorption of
    vitamin C have a risk of scurvy, for example people suffering

  • Crohn's Disease (inflammatory bowle disease)
  • Dialysis
  • Dyspepsi
  • other malabsporption disorders

  • Preppers who have limited resources. Preppers who are
    planning to subsist mostly on grains without any access to
    fresh fruit or vegetables.  Nearly all of us preppers get
    enough vitamin C in our regular diets. Preppers into canning
    should add canned sauerkraut to their preps. Fermented
    Cabbage is loaded with scurvy preventing Vitamin C.

Why do humans get scurvy (and not animals)?
Astonishingly, scurvy is not found in animals. That's because
they have an enzyme to synthesize their own. Humans lack an
enzyme (L-gulonolactone oxidase) necessary for synthesis and
must supplement with diet.

What are the symptoms of scurvy?
    In scurvy, you might see:
  • bleeding and inflammation gums (gingivitis);
  • dry and splitting hair
  • rough, dry, scaly skin;
  • decreased wound-healing rate;
  • easy bruising;
  • nosebleeds;
  • decreased ability to ward off infection.

Foods to Prevent Scurvy
Thankfully, eating foods that will prevent scurvy is relatively
easy. While you could pop a Vitamin C tablet, the potency of
Vitamin C depends on it's exposure to light, air and heat.
Essentially you'll absorb more Vitamin C by eating raw
vegetables or lightly cooked ones. To that end, here are some
foods you can eat to prevent scurvy.

    List of fresh foods with Vitamin C:
  • Bell peppers
  • Black currants
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage (fermented cabbage, especially)
  • Cantaloupes
  • Carrots
  • Guava
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons and limes
  • Liver (fresh organ meat)
  • Kale
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oranges
  • Oysters
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Pine needles (made into a tea or chewing on them)
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Rose hips
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnip Greens
  • Watercress
  • Watermelon
  • Winter squash

List of Pantry items to prevent scurvy

Hidden Sources of Vitamin C
If pirates only knew they had an abundance of Vitamin C in the
seas they sailed. Seaweed is loaded with Vitamin C! Pioneers
who forged the American frontier may have suffered the same
fate, but they foraged for dandelions along the Oregon Trail.

  • Dandelions. Dandelions are a prepper superfood, loaded in
    Vitamin C to help prevent scurvy, but there are so many
    more reasons to plant dandelions and find them in the wild
    to supplement your diet. Did you know that DANDELIONS
    are an important flower for the health of beehives? They're
    the first flower to bloom in the West, (Crocus also blooms
    around the same time). Back East, when settlers first
    arrived on Plymouth rock, there were no dandelions. When
    word got back, emigrants brought them because they bloom
    nicely each Spring and supplemented the food until the
    fresh crops came in.  Both bees and humans need
    Dandelions for survival. Consider dandelions as a dandy part
    of your survival preparations.

  • Pine Needles. Pine is an excellent resource for preppers.
    Pine needle tea is another readily available remedy for
    scurvy! Pine tree (Spruce) needles are high in vitamin C and
    will have a citrus flavor a little on the bitter side. Its best
    to harvest them while they are soft and most edible. The
    stiff ones are edible, but uncomfortable. Just pick your pine

Here's how to make pine needle tea:

  • Potatoes. Preppers are often surprised to hear of the
    amazing benefits of potatoes,  but one medium potato
    contains 70% of the recommended Vitamin C!

  • Seaweed. If pirates had harvested seaweed, they could
    have survived as sea vegetables are loaded with Vitamin C.
    Stock up: seaweed snacks are an easy prep (and lightweight
    for the bugout bag).

Be prepared with scurvy prevention in survival times. Know the
natural sources around you, pack Vitamin C, and grow citrus if
you are able.

Happy endings...
Go full-tang with Tang in your food storage plans. (It's just one
way preppers avoid scurvy.) Did you know you can serve this
scurvy-fighting drink hot or cold? When you're living on mostly
dried grains and beans, along with the meat you've hunted for
yourself, Tang will be a welcome treat. Tang is a delicious way
to add not only Vitamin C but calcium to your diet. Tang is the
drink of Pirates, Nasa astronauts, Alaska Bushmen and Iditarod
(mushers), and, of course, preppers.

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