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Keeping our immune system healthy is top of mind right now, and vitamin C supplements and pills have never been more abundant. But this water-soluble vitamin is naturally present in all different types of foods that you probably enjoy on a regular basis. When we eat vitamin C-rich foods as opposed to isolating it in pill form, we’re also reaping the benefits of the other incredible vitamins and minerals that the whole food has to offer.
Food should always come first, and we know that vitamin C in particular functions as an antioxidant and also plays a major role in immune function (not to mention helping reduce risk of several chronic diseases). Vitamin C can even help individuals with iron deficiency anemia, as it enhances absorption of iron-rich foods. The recommended dietary allowance for healthy adults is 75mg of vitamin C daily for women and 90mg for men, so this vitamin C foods list only includes good or excellent sources of vitamin C that meet 10-20% or more of the daily value. Read on to learn which foods are best to incorporate into your diet to reap their vitamin C benefits.
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Probably the mascot of vitamin C foods, oranges are in fact abundant in the micronutrient. Just one medium sized orange contains 70mg of vitamin C, making it an excellent source as it provides 78% of the daily value. Our favorite kind is Sumo Citrus, an enormous super-sweet fruit that is exceptionally easy to peel and packs in 163% of the daily value. If you prefer orange juice, opt for “100% Orange Juice” with no added sugar varieties.
Red Bell Pepper
This crudite favorite packs in 95mg or over 100% of the daily value for vitamin C in just half a cup. As one of the richest food sources of vitamin C, red bell peppers have a slew of health benefits and flavor. Try them chopped in salad or transformed into red pepper hummus.
Green Bell Pepper
Although green bell peppers don’t boast as much vitamin C as their red counterparts, they still offer 60mg in just a 1/2 cup serving which provides 67% of the daily value. They pair great sautéed with fajita veggies or make a perfect sturdy veggie for dipping.
We love this vibrant citrusy fruit that boasts 39mg vitamin C or 43% of the daily value in just half of a medium grapefruit. Eat an entire one and you’ll be close to hitting your daily vitamin C requirements for the day. The juice itself also has quite a bit of vitamin C, just be sure to look for “100% Grapefruit Juice” with no added sugar.
Mango salsa anyone? This refreshing tropical fruit is just as nutritious as it is delicious. A 3/4 cup serving of mango pieces packs in 45mg of vitamin C or half your day’s worth. Plus, it’s a good source of folate and copper too.
Those juicy tomato slices on your daily lunch sandwich are actually doing some good for your body. One medium tomato packs in 17mg of vitamin C or 19% of the daily value, making it a good source of the micronutrient. And cooking tomatoes, like in sauce or stews, can actually increase the amount of lycopene (a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes) that the body can absorb.
This gorgeous tropical fruit is rich in several antioxidants and has a great refreshing flavor. Guava contains 126mg of vitamin C, making it an exceptional source of the nutrient. The best part about guava is that the skin is actually edible too!
Part of the citrus family, one lemon contains 34mg of vitamin C. Try squeezing lemon juice on bean salad to balance the flavors in the dish and help better absorb the non-heme iron from the beans. One of the easiest ways to use lemon is in dressings, like this flavorful Lemon Caper Herb Dressing.
Although french fries and potato chips may not be the healthiest choices, a baked potato is a perfectly nutritious addition to any meal. A medium one actually has 17mg vitamin C or 19% daily value, making it a good source of the nutrient. And although sweet potatoes are quite nutritious, they only have 3mg of vitamin C.
This cruciferous vegetable, part of the family that includes broccoli and cauliflower, is packed with nutritional benefits. A 1/2 cup serving of cooked Brussels Sprouts offers up 48mg or 53% daily value of vitamin C. Not a fan of this green veggie? This Lemony Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe is sure to make you a convert.
Whether you transform this super green veggie into soup or cool ranch chips, kale is an incredible versatile food that can be incorporated into practically any meal of the day. Just one cup of kale contains 23mg vitamin C, making it the perfect nutrient-dense base for that lunchtime salad.
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