Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has many essential roles in the body. It is needed for the growth, development, and repair of the tissues in the body.
It is required for the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, maintenance of healthy hair, bones and teeth, and supporting brain function.
The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends that vitamin C foods should be consumed daily. Men should consume at least 90 mg of this water-soluble vitamin daily, and women need to consume 75 mg of this vitamin.
Eating a healthy diet which is rich in fruits and vegetables will ensure that you get enough vitamin C in your diet daily. Consume any of these foods rich in vitamin C to boost immunity and reduce the risk of gout and heart disease.
Fruits rich in vitamin C
1. Kakadu plums
Kakadu plum is a superfruit that contains 100 times more vitamin C than an orange. Native to Australia, Kakadu is similar in size to an olive.
According to the Australian Government’s Rural Industries, Research, and Development Corporation, just one Kakadu plum contains 481 mg vitamin C, which is 530% of the DV (1).
This plum also contains vitamin E, lutein, folate, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. This fruit also has high potassium: sodium ratio, which helps reduce hypertension.
2. Acerola cherry
The acerola cherry is a small red fruit that contains around 65 times more vitamin C than an orange. Just half a cup (49 grams) of acerola cherries can provide 822 mg vitamin C, which is 913% of the DV (2).
Commonly known as West Indies cherry, Barbados cherry or acerola, this superfood is believed to have originated in southern Mexico and the Caribbean. Though the best way to eat acerola cherry is in fruit form, you can also consume supplements.
Acerola cherry also contains calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, and thiamine.
3. Black currant
A hundred gram serving of black currant contains over 300 % of the daily requirement of vitamin C (3). Native to Europe and Siberia, and found in Britain for over 500 years, this super healthy fruit offers many health benefits.
Blackcurrants are also rich in anthocyanins, polyphenolic substances, antioxidants and gamma-linolenic avid. Its rich nutrient content helps strengthen the immune system, soothe sore throats, and reduce the symptoms of flu.
One guava contains 126 mg of vitamin C, which is 140 % of the daily requirement (4). Its flesh, which is just underneath its thick outer rind, has higher levels of vitamin C than its inner creamy pulp.
This tropical fruit is low in fats and calories and contains several vitamins, minerals and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin that play a pivotal role in the prevention of aging, infection, and cancer.
One medium-sized kiwi contains 71 mg of vitamin C, which is 79 % of the daily value (5). This little green fruit, also known as Chinese gooseberry, is also rich in potassium, copper, and serotonin, the hormone that helps improve sleep quality.
Kiwis help treat asthma, aid digestion, boost immunity, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
One cup of strawberries (152 grams) provides 89 mg of vitamin C, which is 149 % of the daily value (6). Strawberries also contain manganese, potassium, and folate, which help to keep the heart healthy and maintain blood sugar levels.
One cup of pineapple (165 grams) contains 78.9 mg of vitamin C, which is 131 percent of the daily value (7). This tropical fruit contains manganese, foliates, thiamine, biotin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, copper, and potassium.
Pineapple also contains bromelain, which is an enzyme that improves digestion and reduces bloating.
One cup of mango provides 70 % of the daily requirement for vitamin C (8). Native to India and South East Asia, mangoes also contain calcium, vitamin A and vitamin E.
Several studies link mango and its nutrients to health benefits like improved immunity, digestive health and eyesight, and lower risk of cancer.
Half a honeydew provides 32 mg of vitamin C, which is 64% DV (9). The sweet flesh of honeydew is highly nutritious and contains vitamin B6, folate, vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium as well. These nutrients are essential for improving bone health and help improve blood sugar levels.
10. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are the most well-known sources of vitamin C. One medium-sized orange provides 70 mg of vitamin C, which is 78 percent of the DV (10). Other citrus fruits like lime (13 mg), Mandarin (24 mg) and grapefruit (44 mg) are also rich sources of vitamin C.
Vegetables rich in vitamin C
1. Chili peppers
Single green chili pepper contains 109 mg vitamin C, which 121% of the daily requirement (11). Chilli peppers also contain capsaicin which gives peppers their characteristic pungency.
Chili peppers improve cognitive function, prevent heart disease, relieve pain, clear nasal congestion, and soothe intestinal disorders.
A cup chopped broccoli contains 81.2 mg of vitamin C (12), which is almost the recommended requirement for the day. This cruciferous vegetable is low in calories and rich in nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Its numerous health benefits include lowering oxidative stress, improving immunity, and lowering the risk of cancer and heart disease.
One cup of this green leafy vegetable yields 80 mg of vitamin C, which is 89 % of DV(13). It also contains twice the recommended amounts of vitamin A and seven times the recommended amount for vitamin K. it also includes large amounts of the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol.
4. Brussel sprouts
One cup of Brussel sprouts provides 96.8 mg of vitamin C, which is the daily required amount (14). These mini cabbages are also high in fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, manganese, and potassium.
Brussel sprouts help improve bone health as they contain vitamin C and K, both of which are important for healthy bones.
5. Mustard spinach
Mustard spinach is one of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables. One cup of chopped (raw) mustard spinach contains 195 mg of vitamin C (15). This leafy vegetable belongs to the cruciferous family and is also rich in vitamin A, calcium, potassium, manganese, folate, and fiber.
One cup of fresh parsley (60 grams) provides 79.8 mg of vitamin C (16). It is also an excellent source of vitamin K. It is a rich source of plant-based non-heme iron. Since vitamin C helps in the absorption of non-heme iron, this is an excellent food for treating iron-deficiency anemia.
This delicate looking herb is an excellent source of vitamin C. One ounce of fresh thyme contains 45 mg of vitamin C, which is 50 % of DV (17). Thyme is also rich in plant phenols such as thymol and carvacrol, which are potent antispasmodics.
It helps to relieve stress, improve heart health, and improve skin and hair health.
8. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, which increases when the pepper mature. A 75 gram serving of yellow peppers contains 137 mg of vitamin C, which is double the amount found in green peppers (18). They help improve macular degeneration and cataracts and prevent anemia.
Green peas have an impressive nutritional profile. They are low in calories and contain just about every mineral and vitamin that you need. One cup of peas provides 23 mg of vitamin C, which 38 percent of the DV (19).
Peas are also rich in proteins and polyphenol antioxidants. They improve digestion and prevent heart disease and cancer.
One cup of raw cauliflower contains 46.4 mg of vitamin C, which is 77% of DV (20). Cauliflower has an impressive nutritional profile. It reduces the risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
It is high in glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, two groups of antioxidants that slow the growth of cancer cells.
The recommended dosage for vitamin C
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C depends on age and gender (21).
0 to 6 months
7 to 12 months
1 to 3 years
4 to 8 years
9 to 13 years
14 to 18 years
35 mg/day more than non-smokers
35 mg/day more than non-smokers
You must consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to ensure that you get enough vitamin C in your diet. Some fruits and vegetables naturally contain more vitamin C than others.
Besides citrus fruits, fruits like Kakadu plums, acerola cherry, guavas, kiwi also contain impressive amounts of vitamin C.
Vegetables that are rich in vitamin C include chili peppers, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, and parsley.
So, ensure that you include a diverse variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet to get enough vitamin C.