By Karen Azeez
When you think of vitamin C, you probably think of a big glass of orange juice to ward off a winter cold. But today, we know that vitamin C is vital for so much more than just bolstering immunity.
As a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C (or Ascorbic Acid) can help slow the aging process and prevent cell damage leading to cancer and other diseases. In fact, some of the many benefits of vitamin C are:
Although you can still get a healthy dose of vitamin C with citrus fruit like oranges or grapefruits, using a variety of fruit sources to reach your daily intake helps ensure you are obtaining adequate amounts of other nutrients, too.
Check out the following foods, which are veritable vitamin C powerhouses:
1. Camu Camu
Just one teaspoon of camu camu powder has 708 mg – or about 1200% of your recommended daily intake. That’s nearly 8 times as much as the classic orange. So, swap out a smoothie with camu camu powder instead of OJ if you want to boost your C intake.
2. Red Peppers
A cup of chopped red bell pepper contains 190 mg – combine that with some spinach and, not only will you have a vitamin C-packed side dish, but your body will be able to better assimilate the iron coming from the leafy greens.
One serving of this delicious, tropical fruit contains 188 mg or nearly 300% of your daily requirements.
4. Kiwi Fruit
Coming in right behind at 167 mg, kiwis make ho-hum yogurt and salads sing.
5. Goji Berries
For an extra antioxidant punch, try dark chocolate covered goji berries. This makes a great healthy snack with a hefty dose vitamin C.
With a whopping 95.6 mg, this yummy fruit also aids in digestion and makes a fabulous smoothie.
One cup of this sweet treat offers 84.7 mg of C. Why not make your dessert a healthier one by topping it with these gems, drizzled with a little coconut milk!
This cruciferous vegetable proves that vitamin C is not just for fruits. Each cup has more than a day’s supply of vitamin C. Add some to your next stir fry with red pepper and you’ve got one heck of a vitamin-rich dinner.
9. Honorable Mention: Tomatoes
Because tomatoes are one of the most popular plant foods in the nation, it’s fortunate that they are also a great source of Vitamin C. A medium tomato contains about 23 mg of vitamin C. And, when added to a salad, their vitamin C will enhance the iron absorption from your leafy greens.
It’s important to remember that vitamin C is water-soluble, therefore it cannot be stored in the body and must be replaced each day. C vitamins can lose their potency in food quickly, so the fresher your fruits and veggies, the better!