Top 20 Vitamin C Foods

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that helps the body produce collagen, a protein necessary for healthy skin and teeth. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin C is 80 to 100 milligrams per day. Sources include citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, strawberries; green vegetables including spinach and broccoli; bell peppers; broccoli sprouts; cauliflower.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps with the body’s immune system and has many other benefits, such as helping to prevent scurvy. Foods high in vitamin c include bell peppers, broccoli, kiwifruit, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and papayas.

Vitamin C is one of the few vitamins with many health advantages. Vitamin C may have a tremendous influence on your health from the inside out since it is both a vital nutrient and a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C helps with everything from skin health to immune function and everything in between. It’s easy to get all of the health advantages that this water-soluble vitamin has to offer by including a few servings of vitamin C foods in your diet.

So, how much vitamin C do you need every day, and how can you get the most bang for your buck? Let’s look at it more closely.

What Is Vitamin C and What Does It Do?

Vitamin C, commonly known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that functions as an antioxidant and helps to keep the body’s connective tissue healthy. Vitamin C may also aid in protecting your heart’s health, the repair and restoration of tissues, and the absorption of other nutrients in the body.

Vitamin C is plentiful in the diet and is found mainly in fruits and vegetables. A lack of this essential vitamin may lead to symptoms such as easy bruising, bleeding gums, exhaustion, decreased immunity, and, in extreme instances, scurvy.

Because your body cannot store or produce vitamin C, it is essential to consume a variety of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Improved iron absorption, improved immunological function, and a lower risk of gout and heart disease are among the possible advantages of vitamin C.

The 20 Best Vitamin C Rich Foods

The easiest method to achieve your vitamin C requirements is to include a few vitamin C-rich foods in your diet. So, which foods are high in vitamin C? According to the USDA national nutrition database, here are a few of the best vitamin C superfoods to start storing up, many of which are low in calories but high in nutrients other than vitamin C:

  1. 203 milligrams per cup of black currant (338 percent DV)
  2. 190 milligrams per cup of red pepper (317 percent DV)
  3. 164 milligrams per cup of kiwifruit (273 percent DV)
  4. 1 guava fruit has 126 milligrams (209 percent DV)
  5. 120 milligrams per cup of green bell pepper (200 percent DV)
  6. 1 big orange: 98 milligrams (163 percent DV)
  7. 89 milligrams per cup of strawberries (149 percent DV)
  8. 87 milligrams per cup of papaya (144 percent DV)
  9. 1 cup raw broccoli contains 81 milligrams (135 percent DV)
  10. 80 milligrams per cup of raw kale (134 percent DV)
  11. 80 milligrams per cup of parsley (133 percent DV)
  12. 79 milligrams per cup of pineapple (131 percent DV)
  13. 1/2 cup cooked Brussels sprouts: 48 milligrams (81 percent DV)
  14. 1 cup raw cauliflower: 46 milligrams (77 percent DV)
  15. 46 milligrams per cup of mango (76 percent DV)
  16. 45 milligrams from 1 lemon (74 percent DV)
  17. 1/2 grapefruit has 38 milligrams (64 percent DV)
  18. 32 milligrams per cup of honeydew (53 percent DV)
  19. 1 cup cooked peas: 23 milligrams (38 percent DV)
  20. 1 cup raw tomatoes: 23 milligrams (38 percent DV)

Health Advantages

  1. Promotes Collagen Formation and Healthy Skin
  2. Improves the absorption of iron
  3. Gout Risk is Reduced
  4. Defends Against Free Radical Damage
  5. Immune Function Booster
  6. Cancer treatment is improved.
  7. Helps to Keep Your Heart Healthy

1. Promotes Collagen Formation and Healthy Skin

Including vitamin C-rich foods in your diet will help you maintain youthful, beautiful skin. Indeed, an extensive research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the diets of almost 4,000 women and discovered that eating more high-vitamin C foods was linked to a decreased incidence of wrinkles and dryness on the skin. There is also some evidence that administering a topical vitamin C serum may reduce skin redness after UVB exposure by up to 60% and sunburn cell development by up to 60%.

Vitamin C is required to make collagen, an essential protein that forms the skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, which is one of the reasons vitamin C diets for skin health may be so helpful. Collagen is particularly beneficial to skin health since it may help with wound healing and scar tissue development. According to research from the University of Kiel in Germany, collagen may even aid in enhancing skin elasticity and hydration, making it critical to include lots of vitamin C-rich foods in your diet.

2. Increase your iron absorption

Iron is a mineral that is necessary for a variety of bodily functions. For example, iron is a fundamental component of hemoglobin, which is present in red blood cells and may provide oxygen to cells throughout the body. Therefore, iron deficiency anemia is characterized by anemia symptoms such as weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness, which a lack of this important element may cause.

Iron absorption may be boosted by eating vitamin C-rich meals in addition to iron-rich foods, which can help avoid iron insufficiency—consuming 100 milligrams of vitamin C with a meal enhanced iron absorption by 67 percent, according to one research.

3. Lower Your Gout Risk

Gout is a painful kind of arthritis that causes extreme redness and soreness in the joints, particularly the big toe. Although anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to treat symptoms during flare-ups, long-term diet and lifestyle adjustments are generally suggested to avoid recurrences of this unpleasant illness.

Increasing your intake of vitamin C-rich foods is a simple and efficient method to lower your gout risk. According to a large research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a high vitamin C consumption was linked to a considerably decreased incidence of gout. Not only that, but supplementing with at least 1,500 mg of vitamin C every day reduced the incidence of gout by almost half.

4. Protect yourself from free radical damage

Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants since it may protect against damage produced by free radicals and hazardous substances and pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

Free radicals may accumulate in the body and have a role in developing diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. These disease-causing molecules are produced over time due to factors such as a poor diet, an unhealthy lifestyle, and long-term exposure to pollutants and chemicals in the environment.

5. Boost Your Immune System

Looking for high-vitamin C meals and pills is virtually second nature for many individuals when you’re feeling under the weather. The immune-boosting advantages of this potent vitamin, which is high in antioxidants, have been well-documented in recent years. Unfortunately, a compromised immune system is one of the most common symptoms of vitamin C insufficiency.

According to a Swiss research, eating enough vitamin C may help lessen symptoms and minimize the duration of respiratory infections, including the common cold, bronchitis, and sinusitis. Furthermore, it can enhance outcomes and lower the occurrence of other illnesses, including pneumonia, malaria, and gastrointestinal infections.

6. Improving Cancer Treatment

Vitamin C is high in antioxidants that fight cancer, and it has been found to have potent anticancer activities in both in vitro and animal models. Foods high in vitamin C, such as lemons and oranges, have been found to slow the growth and spread of cancer cells and may be linked to a decreased cancer risk.

Vitamin C may also have some advantages when taken in conjunction with standard cancer therapies. For example, intravenously vitamin C might increase time to relapse, reduce tumor size, improve quality of life, and lessen chemotherapy-related symptoms including nausea, melancholy, and exhaustion, according to a significant evaluation of 76 research.

7. Encourage heart health

Heart disease is the primary cause of mortality, accounting for about 32% of all fatalities worldwide. One of the most effective strategies to prevent heart disease is to change your diet and lifestyle. Some study even suggests that eating a few portions of vitamin C-rich foods each day might help lower various heart disease risk factors and boost heart health.

A big Finnish research found that those who took at least 700 milligrams of vitamin C daily had a 25% reduced risk of heart disease than those who did not. Another research found that consuming 500 milligrams of vitamin C daily lowered triglycerides and levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, two main factors to heart disease.

Deficiency in Vitamin C

Vitamin C insufficiency manifests itself in various ways, and sustaining low amounts of vitamin C for an extended period may be harmful to one’s health. For example, scurvy, a condition caused by the breakdown of collagen that produces symptoms including bruises, bleeding gums, and exhaustion, may be caused by a severe vitamin C deficit.

The following are some of the most prevalent vitamin C insufficiency symptoms:

  • Bruising is simple
  • Gums swollen
  • Gums that are bleeding
  • Wounds heal slowly
  • Gingivitis is a condition that affects the gums
  • Hair that is dry and splitting
  • Skin with dry red patches
  • Skin that is rough, dry, and scaly
  • Nosebleeds
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • The leaky gut syndrome is one example of a digestive illness.
  • Weight gain is a possibility due to a sluggish metabolism.
  • Joints that are swollen and uncomfortable

Health problems caused by a vitamin C shortage might worsen over time and lead to significant health consequences.

Dosage

So, how much vitamin C do you need to keep your health in tip-top shape? The amount of vitamin C you need depends on various variables, including your age and gender. For example, pregnant or nursing women and those who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke have higher vitamin C requirements.

Vitamin C’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is as follows:

For babies:

  • 40 mg/day for 0–6 months
  • 50 mg/day for 7–12 months

Children’s activities:

  • 15 mg/day for 1–3 years
  • 25 mg/day for children aged 4–8 years
  • 45 mg/day for children aged 9 to 13

For teenagers:

  • 65 mg/day for girls 14–18 years old
  • 80 mg per day for pregnant teenagers
  • Teens who are breastfeeding: 115 mg per day
  • 75 mg/day for boys 14–18 years old

Adults should read:

  • 90 mg/day for men aged 19 and above
  • 75 mg/day for women aged 19 and above
  • 85 mg per day for pregnant women
  • Women who are breastfeeding should take 120 mg each day

To satisfy their vitamin C demands, smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke should increase their daily vitamin C intake by 35 mg/day.

Although vitamin C supplements vary, most capsules contain roughly 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Many multivitamins also include it, with dosages ranging from 50 to 100 milligrams. Except for a slightly increased risk of kidney stones, there seems to be no evidence that large doses of vitamin C in supplement form have any negative consequences, even at 2,000 mg per day.

Uses in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Foods high in vitamin C have long been known to have great health-promoting qualities. Several types of holistic treatment, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, consider these exceptionally nutritious fruits and vegetables to be a mainstay.

Lemons, for example, are supposed to help eliminate toxins, cleanse the body, and remove stagnation in Traditional Chinese Medicine, while strawberries are thought to alleviate thirst and clear the throat.

Meanwhile, the Ayurvedic diet encourages you to consume a wide range of seasonal fruits and vegetables to improve your diet’s nutritional content. To maximize your diet and health, it’s typically suggested to eat vitamin C-rich fruits aside from heavier meals and always choose fresh fruits over fruit juice whenever available.

Supplements vs. Vitamin C Foods

So, should you start supplementing your vitamin C consumption at the grocery store or the pharmacy? There are a few distinctions to be made between supplements and dietary sources of this vital vitamin.

Both seem to be comparable in terms of bioavailability. While some animal studies have revealed a difference in the bioavailability of vitamin C meals vs. supplements, human research has typically shown that both are similarly absorbed, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients.

Several studies, however, have shown some adverse effects related to vitamin C pills, but not with dietary sources. For example, one research found that males who used vitamin C supplements had a substantially greater incidence of kidney stones.

Vitamin C meals are often high in a variety of other essential elements, including fiber and antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals. To satisfy your vitamin C requirements, it’s recommended to use natural sources rather than supplementary ones whenever feasible. Not only will you be able to get the advantages of vitamin C, but you will also be able to supplement your diet with a variety of other micronutrients that are needed for good health.

How Does Cooking Affect Vitamin C Levels?

Increasing your vitamin C intake may be as easy as adding a few additional portions of vitamin C-rich foods to your daily meals. It’s simple (and tasty) to satisfy your daily vitamin C requirements by changing up your food to include more vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables. For example, replace your sugary snacks with a fresh fruit salad or add a side salad packed with vitamin C veggies to one meal every day.

Keep in mind that it’s preferable to eat vitamin C-rich foods fresh rather than cooked whenever feasible. This is because cooking procedures such as boiling, simmering, sautéing, stir-frying, and poaching have been shown to produce considerable nutritional losses in foods containing vitamin C. For example, according to one research, stir-frying broccoli reduced the vitamin C level by 38%.

History

Scurvy became a severe concern for the British fleet in the 18th century. A severe vitamin C deficit causes this illness, resulting in bleeding gums, bruises, and even death. Scurvy was formerly thought to be the primary cause of mortality among British sailors.

James Lind started performing studies onboard a British navy ship in 1747 and is credited with discovering that lemons, due to their vitamin C concentration, might assist in the cure of scurvy. As a result, foods high in vitamin C, such as lemons and limes, were staples for sailors on long sea trips to help prevent scurvy in the years after.

Vitamin C insufficiency is significantly less common nowadays. With a growing number of possible vitamin C advantages being discovered by studies, there’s an increasing focus on eating more vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet.

Side Effects and Risks

Overdosing on this water-soluble vitamin is seldom a problem since it is not stored in the body and excess levels are eliminated. However, it’s still crucial not to exceed the maximum acceptable limit of 2,000 milligrams per day to prevent undesirable symptoms and vitamin C side effects, including stomach upset and diarrhea.

Recent research showed a relationship between vitamin C supplementation and kidney stones in males, revealing that supplementation increased the risk of kidney stones considerably. If you have a history of kidney stones, speak with your doctor before beginning supplementation, or just increase your vitamin C consumption via meals and beverages to satisfy your daily requirements.

Supplements containing vitamin C may interact with certain drugs. For example, estrogen, protease inhibitors, anticoagulants, niacin, and aluminum-containing drugs like phosphate binders may all interact with it. Consult your doctor before beginning supplementing if you’re presently using any of these drugs.

Last Thoughts

  • What is the function of vitamin C? Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that has a role in various elements of health, including skin health and immunological function.
  • According to promising studies, boosting your vitamin C consumption may help stimulate collagen synthesis, improve iron absorption, improve cancer therapy, boost immunity, and lower your risk of gout and heart disease.
  • What foods contain a lot of vitamin C? Although vitamin C may be found in various healthful meals, red peppers, kiwis, guavas, and black currants are among the highest vitamin C foods.
  • While supplementation is an option, eating a wide range of vitamin C-rich foods may help you fulfill your daily requirements.
  • To get the most vitamin C out of your favorite foods, eat them raw rather than cooked.

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods help with vitamin C deficiency?

A: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers.

How can I increase my vitamin C level?

A: You can increase your vitamin C level by eating citrus fruits or taking Vitamin C supplements.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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