One of the best-known vitamins, Vitamin C, is widely consumed worldwide in the form of supplements, and it is always remembered when we have colds and flu. But we can get Vitamin C not only from the supplements sold in pharmacies but also from our food. Many foods rich in Vitamin C are available and contribute to a balanced and nutritious diet.
In this post, we will talk a little about this vitamin, some benefits of this nutrient for our health and list several foods rich in Vitamin C to help us compose a menu that provides the ideal amount of this vitamin. Some of them are amazing, and you probably did not know they are excellent sources of the vitamin.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin C?
The most notorious property of Vitamin C is its a great antioxidant power, protecting against the action of free radicals our cells, DNA, molecules present in the blood and tissues. These radicals are extremely reactive molecules that can cause a lot of damage to our health.
Vitamin C also helps in the absorption of iron through the gastrointestinal tract, transforming it into a form that the body can absorb more easily. This is why many people who have iron deficiency ingest along with mineral supplements, rich foods or Vitamin C supplements.
Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, an essential constituent of our hair, skin, mucous membranes, and bones. This role was responsible for discovering the symptoms of vitamin deficiency when the crew of ships of European navigators developed a disease called scurvy after days of navigation without any food source of the vitamin.
Vitamin C is also important in the production of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, involved in various physiological processes, including biological clock, stress, pain, and moodiness. So, it helps in maintaining the health of the nervous system.
How much is vitamin C recommended?
The National Academy of Sciences of the United States has defined the recommended amounts of Vitamin C according to age, sex, also taking into consideration if the person is pregnant or breastfeeding. According to the institution, the recommended daily amounts of Vitamin C would be as follows:
How much Vitamin C do I need per day?
|0–6 months||40 mg||40 mg|
|7–12 months||50 mg||50 mg|
|1–3 years||15 mg||15 mg|
|4–8 years||25 mg||25 mg|
|9–13 years||45 mg||45 mg|
|14–18 years||75 mg||65 mg||80 mg||115 mg|
|19+ years||90 mg||75 mg||85 mg||120 mg|
|Smokers||Add 35 mg to your usual daily needs|
Don’t exceed 1000 mg/ day
Note that smokers need an extra dose of Vitamin C and should add 35 mg to the recommendations listed above.
Many supplements and multivitamins contain much larger amounts than those mentioned above, up to 1000 mg per dose. The body can quickly eliminate the excess of vitamin, hardly high values are achieved even if you take supplements in addition to your daily food intake. The effects of a very high dose of Vitamin C are mild but may include indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and insomnia.
How to get vitamin C naturally?
A balanced diet is key to achieving all the nutrients necessary for our health. There are numerous foods rich in Vitamin C, with which you can enrich your diet. Fruits have important participation. Here’s what they are:
1. Acerola cherry
Acerola cherry is a shrub or small tree that bears delicious cherry-like fruit. It contains about 1800mg of Vitamin C in 100g of this fruit. It provides much more Vitamin C than the orange.
These fruits are an excellent source of Vitamin C, and their consumption serves to stimulate the immune system and help fight free radicals. 100g of currants contain around 202mg of Vitamin C more than 220% of your daily vitamin needs and 20% of the required iron. Their anthocyanins are useful in the fight against age-related illnesses.
3. Yellow pepper
Only 100g of the yellow pepper contains 201mg of Vitamin C. In addition, the ingredient is also pointed as a source of Vitamins A and B. This helps the immune system and can contribute to the improvement of heart rate and blood flow, as well as acting as antioxidant and in the improvement of the skin and hair.
Originally from New Zealand, you might be surprised by the fact that this small, green fruit has more Vitamin C than the orange! Some studies have shown that children who eat this fruit rich in Vitamin C have a stronger respiratory tract than children who do not eat it.
It contains around 75 mg of Vitamin C in 75g of the fruit. That is, in 100g we find 100mg of the vitamin.
5. Brussels sprouts
They are not everyone’s favorite food, but brussels sprouts have an excellent reputation for containing Vitamin C. One serving of 150g contains 126mg of Vitamin C, the same as 84mg per 100g.
In addition to being one of the best foods that contain Vitamin C, Brussels sprouts also have a lot of Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin A, Manganese, Potassium, and dietary fiber. However, despite all these nutrients it is almost impossible to convince children to try these vegetables.
The most consumed food as a source of Vitamin C contains a significant amount of nutrient. A portion of 120g orange (the size of a medium fruit) contains 70mg of Vitamin C, meaning that in 100g of the fruit we found 60mg of the vitamin. Just to get the idea, one orange is enough to cover our daily needs of vitamins. Oranges are also a source rich in Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium.
Sweet, delicious, with a soft, oil-like consistency, not by coincidence that Christopher Columbus called the papaya the “angelic fruit.” This fruit contains a high dose of Vitamin C. In addition to a great source of Vitamin C, it also contains Vitamins E and A – three potent antioxidants. These nutrients prevent oxidation of cholesterol. A portion of 270g (the size of a medium fruit) provides 165 mg of Vitamin C, the same as 61 mg in 100g.
Many fresh herbs such as cilantro, green chives, thyme, basil, and parsley have a lot of Vitamin C. Buy fresh herbs and sprinkle each meal with them. In fact, a cup of fresh parsley has more than 160 mg of Vitamin C. And thyme ranks first, with 180 mg per cup.
Returning to the list of fruits. The strawberry also contains lots of Vitamin C. Only 100 grams of strawberries provide 57 milligrams of Vitamin C. In addition to the benefits of Vitamin C, strawberries are diuretic, rich in fiber, aid in the growth of bone, tissues and nervous system of children, fights anemia, cancer and helps you when you want to lose some weight.
Last but not least, lemon is also on our list. It also contains a significant amount of Vitamin C and can supplement your diet to ensure daily recommendations. In 100g of lemon juice, we found almost 53mg of Vitamin C.
Rich in minerals and composed of several vitamins as well as dietary fiber, broccoli is considered a superfood with few calories. Also, in its composition, broccoli is also known to have anticancer properties, as it contains Phytochemicals such as Isothiocyanates. Research reports that daily consumption of broccoli avoids heart disease, ulcers, and gastritis.
In conclusion, the broccoli is a very nutritious vegetable, containing many minerals and vitamins, including Vitamin C. One serving of approximately 1 cup of broccoli provides 120mg of Vitamin C, which is equivalent to 50mg every 100g.
Although not as colorful as other foods that contain a lot of Vitamin C, cauliflower has enough of this essential nutrient. 125g of the cauliflower provide 57mg of vitamin C or the equivalent of 48mg in 100g. It also contains enough Vitamin K, folate and dietary fiber.
Now is time for the pineapple as an essential source of Vitamin C. In this fruit, there is a vital substance, called Bromelain, an enzyme that suppresses swelling and inflammation. It is especially useful after a workout. The amount of Vitamin C in pineapple is also higher than in oranges. A portion of approximately 165g of pineapple gives us about 78 mg of Vitamin C, the equivalent of 48mg in 100g of the fruit.
Bright red tomatoes are another common food that contains a lot of Vitamin C. 180g of tomato contains 24mg of Vitamin C. In 100g we found about 14mg.
With such a wide variety of Vitamin C sources, we can’t miss this vital nutrient for our health.
Eat Them Fresh!
Have in mind that foods can lose significant amounts of the vitamin by the cooking process, contact with oxygen, and over time. Just the fact of cutting the fruit for example already starts the process of vitamin degradation.
Thus, we recommend consuming the vegetables as fresh as possible to take advantage of a higher amount of nutrients. Even freezing does not prevent vitamin degradation. When making natural juices, for example, consume them immediately.