Top Foods High in Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also called L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is an essential part of your diet. Although some animals can produce their own vitamin C, humans have to get it from other sources.

Vitamin C is found in many fresh fruits and vegetables, but can also be made into dietary supplements. Research suggests that eating foods rich in vitamin C supports healthy function of your immune system, maintains your bones, teeth, and cartilage, and helps your body heal wounds.

Why You Need Vitamin C

Vitamin C is involved in the development and function of various body parts. It helps your body produce essential compounds (collagen L-carnitine and neurotransmitters) that help your nerves, heart, brain, and muscles function and your body produce energy.

Vitamin C also helps restore antioxidants in your body. Antioxidants prevent cell damage that can lead to diseases. It also helps your body metabolise protein and absorb iron.

Adults aged 19 to 64 need about 40 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C a day. If you eat the right foods, you can easily get your daily value from your regular diet. 

Although vitamin C deficiency is relatively rare, it can lead to the disease called scurvy. Symptoms of scurvy include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability and sadness
  • Severe joint of leg pain
  • Swollen, bleeding gums
  • Red or blue spots on your skin
  • Your skin bruising easily

On the other hand, too much Vitamin C may cause stomach pain and other digestion issues. However, overdose of the vitamin is not a concern as it is not stored in your body.

Some health benefits of Vitamin C are:

Wound Healing 

Vitamin C is needed for the biosynthesis of collagen, which is a protein that is an essential component of connective tissue. Because of this, Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing.

Immune Function

Vitamin C contributes to immune defense against disease and infections. Vitamin C deficiency impairs your immune system and increases your risk of getting infections.

Maintenance of Bones , Teeth , and Cartilage

Vitamin C helps repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, and cartilage (the rubbery material that covers the ends of bones). 

Vitamin C might also reduce the risk of cartilage loss in people with osteoarthritis

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Foods With Vitamin C

  1. Cantaloupe
    Cantaloupe is a rich source of vitamin C, with 202.6 mg of the vitamin in a medium-sized melon, and 25.3 mg in one slice.  
  2. Citrus Fruits
    Raw citrus fruits are very high in vitamin C. One medium orange provides 70 mg of Vitamin C, while one grapefruit provides about 56 mg. Citrus fruit juices contain even higher amounts of vitamin C, with a 225 mg glass of orange juice providing around 125 mg of vitamin C.
  3. Broccoli
    Surprisingly, a cup of broccoli contains as much vitamin C as an orange. Broccoli is a good source of other vitamins and minerals, such as: 
  4. Red Cabbage
    Red cabbage, also called purple cabbage, is high in vitamin C and low in calories. A half-cup contains only 14 calories but almost half of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It is also a rich source of fiber and other vitamins.
  5. Kiwi
    One serving of kiwi contains most of your recommended daily intake. Studies have also shown that adding kiwi to a marginal vitamin C diet largely improves plasma vitamin C levels.
  6. Bell Peppers
    All varieties of peppers are low in calories and high in nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Bell peppers have more nutrients than other peppers because they are kept on the vine longer. Red bell peppers have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C than green bell peppers
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 22, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System.”

Advances in Food and Nutrition Research: “The bioavailability of vitamin C from kiwifruit.”

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: “Nutritional and health benefits of citrus fruits.”

FoodData Central: “Cantaloupe, raw.”

Harvard Heart Letter: “Vegetable of the month: Red cabbage.”

National Health Service: “Vitamin C.”

National Health Service: “Scurvy.”

National Institutes of Health: “Vitamin C.”

Nutrients: “Vitamin C and Immune Function.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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