Vitamin C foods should be an essential part of your diet, as Vitamin C is an important micro nutrient that your body needs. It is an immune boosting nutrient which act as an antioxidant. It is also vital for growth and maintenance of the bones, teeth, collagen synthesis, connective tissue and for the small blood vessels.
Vitamin C is one of those nutrients that your body cannot produce. Therefore, you need to incorporate vitamin C foods into your meal every day, in order to fulfill the daily requirement. To clarify, excess of this vitamin leaves from the body with urine, as it is a water-soluble vitamin.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) of vitamin C is 90 mg for adult men and 75mg for adult women. It is also called ascorbic acid and it can be found in many vegetables and fruits.
Given below are the RDA values of vitamin C depending on the age and the gender of individuals, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH.
|0-6 months||40 mg*||40 mg*|
|7-12 months||50 mg*||50 mg*|
|1-3 years||15 mg||15 mg|
|14-18 years||75mg||65 mg||80 mg||115 mg|
|19+ years||90mg||75 mg||85 mg||120 mg|
*Adequate Intake (AI)
Smoking people requires 35mg of this vitamin more than that for nonsmokers.
Vitamin C foods
Fruit and vegetables are the best sources of Vitamin C 90% of general population fulfill their requirement through these sources. Citrus fruits, tomato-based foods, potatoes, peppers, broccoli, strawberry, kiwifruit are the main contributors of this micro nutrient in the European diet.
1. Red/Green Bell peppers
Although both red and green bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, red bell paper provide 50% more than green bell pepper. Bell peppers help increasing fat burning and may also reduce pain and inflammation.
Red bell pepper contains 95 mg in a half of a cup where as green bell pepper contains 60 mg in a half of a cup.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guava is an excellent source of vitamin C which contains 377 mg in one cup. Guava is also rich in fiber, energy, other vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and potassium. Moreover, it boosts immune system and is also helpful for diabetics.
One half cup of blackcurrants contains 101 mg of vitamin C. Further, blackcurrant contains lots of nutrients like vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, flavonoids, omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fibers. It keeps your cardiovascular system healthy and control high blood pressure.
Papaya keeps you looking young. A cup of papaya can provide you 87 mg of vitamin C. It is also rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. Additionally, it helps you to lower cholesterol, boost your immunity. Again, its also good for diabetics as well as your eyes.
One medium size orange contains 70 mg of vitamin C. Orange is widely consumed in European countries. If you prefer orange juice, ¾ cups of orange juice contain 93 mg of vitamin C which helps you to fulfill the required daily value.
One medium kiwi fruit contains 64 mg of vitamin C. If you choose kiwi as a vitamin source you can get extra health benefits also. Specifically, studies have shown that, kiwifruit may help to reduce oxidative stress, lower triglycerides and increase white blood cell activity.
Broccoli is so healthy, and rich in fiber to vitamins and minerals. About ½ a cup of cooked broccoli contains 51 mg of vitamin C. It is a good source of protein, iron, potassium and calcium. Also, it is good for heart and eye health.
Half a cup of strawberries fresh or sliced, can provide 49 mg of vitamin C. They are also rich in considerable amounts of Manganese, Folate, Potassium. Moreover, 100 grams of strawberries contains 3.5 ounce of dietary fiber as well.
Grapefruit is a tropical citrus fruit. It is one of the healthiest citrus fruits which is rich in nutrients, fibers, antioxidants and low in calories. A sized medium fruit can provide you 78 mg of vitamin C. Grapefruit also improves heart health by reducing risk factors of heart disease.
10. Tomato juice
Tomato juice is popular in European countries. It provides plenty of nutrients such as Vitamin C, A, K, B1, B3, B6, B9 and minerals such as Magnesium and potassium. Three fourth cup of tomato juice contains 33 mg of Vitamin C. Moreover, it is a good source of antioxidant.
Cantaloupe contains 29 mg of vitamin C just in ½ a cup. This fruit is available year-round. In addition, cantaloupe is rich in fiber, Vitamin A and potassium as well.
One cup of raw cauliflower contains 51.6 mg of vitamin C. It is a magical vegetable that can provide antioxidants and phytonutrients. Hence, can protect you against cancer. Furthermore, cauliflower is a good source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Potato is available in everywhere and is relatively cheap. One large potato contains 72.7 mg of vitamin C. Nutritional content of potatoes can vary with the variety. Moreover, it is a good source of protein, carbs, fiber, and minerals.
Spinach health benefits includes, keeping our eyes healthy, reducing hypertension, aiding detoxification, boosting immunity and enhancing skin. One half of cup of cooked spinach contains 9 mg of vitamin C.
15. Green peas
A serving of peas (100g) contains 40 mg of vitamin C. Peas are an excellent source of Vitamin A, E and K and they are rich in minerals such as zinc, selenium as well.
Vitamin C provides a lot of health benefits including the synthesis of collagen, bosting immune system, healing of wounds and repair and maintenance of bones and cartilage. Next these health benefits will be discussed briefly.
1. Boosts immune response
Studies show that vitamin C can upregulate the immune system. Vitamin C helps to keep the immune system strong and fight for any infections if you take adequate requirements of vitamin C.
2. Prevent cell damage
Vitamin C is an antioxidant which can prevent accumulation of free radicals in the cells. To clarify, free radicals are compounds produced by normal cell process as well as external sources like cigarette smoke.
3. Prevention of scurvy
Weak blood cells, bones and collagen may lead to symptoms of scurvy. Antioxidants are useful to produce collagen. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to produce collagen.
4. Reduce high blood pressure
People who consume foods rich in vitamin C may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Consequently, decreasing the potential risk of heart attacks.
5. Treat for stroke
Stroke is a type of cardiovascular disease and vitamin C is beneficial to fight against strokes. In addition, including vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables to your diet can maintain the balance of the blood. Since vitamin C can prevent forming free radicals, it helps fight strokes.
6. Improves skin health
Collagen is a protein which plays a crucial role in our skin health. Vitamin c improves skin health, because it assist in synthesis of collagen.
Signs and symptoms of vitamin C deficiency
- Rough, bumpy skin
- Spoon-shaped fingernails with red spots or lines
- Corkscrew shaped body hair
- Dry, damaged skin
- Easy bruising
- Slowly healing wounds
- Painful, swollen joints
- Weak bones
- Poor immunity
- Bleeding gums and tooth loss
- Fatigue and poor mood
- Bright red hair follicles
Does cooking destroys vitamin C?
Vitamin C in foods may be reduced by heat and prolonged cooking, because it is water soluble. This means, boiling is the biggest threat to vitamin C as both heat and solubility in water causes it’s loss. Baking and pan-frying of foods also lower the vitamin C content of foods. Canned food may decrease vitamin C during storage.
However, microwave cooking or steaming may reduce cooking loses of vitamin C. Moreover, most of the fruits and vegetables mentioned above can be includes to your diet, in fresh form, without losing vitamin C.