Scurvy is more than just a pirate word. It’s a life-threatening illness. And for some reason, it’s making a comeback.
According to Vitamania, a documentary about vitamins, Eric Churchill, MD of Springfield, Massachusetts, claimed to have diagnosed about 20 to 30 cases of genuine scurvy in the last six years.
“Many people who have difficulty affording food tend to go for food that is high fat, high calorie, and very filling – if you have a limited food budget, those are the meals that will fill you up and will satisfy you more than eating fruits and vegetables.”
You’d think that as a modern society, we wouldn’t be prone to such an illness as scurvy, especially when the solution is to just eat some fruit. Scurvy used to be such a prevalent problem with travelers and sailors. This was because fruits and veggies, the main source of the scurvy-stopping vitamin C, would go bad quickly, leaving the months-long travels without the source. This is why pirates are often depicted as having messed up, missing teeth.
Now we can travel across the world in a few days, and local markets everywhere offer a variety of produce.
Signs of Scurvy
Do you have a limited food budget? Do you opt for frozen goods and stay away from something as quickly perishable as an orange? Then you’re the main target of scurvy. Here are some key worthy symptoms.
- Muscle pain
In more severe cases:
- Swollen, bleeding gums
- Tooth loss
- Red rash or red spots on skin
- Severe bruising
- Damaged, coiled hair
- Possible drop in body weight
- Bleeding into joints and muscles
How To Prevent Scurvy
Simple answer: eat some fruit. Vitamin C is the target item. The most popular examples of this are oranges and limes. Some high vitamin C options also include guavas and strawberries, if those are more in your favor. If you’re worried about your vitamin C input, try eating more of these. they aren’t expensive.