When you think of vitamin C most people think about citrus. More specifically, they think of oranges. When you ask most people what vitamin C does or why vitamin C is important, most people don’t have a clue. We’re going to get into 8 of the best vitamin C rich foods that have more vitamin C than an orange, as well as why it is important to include this powerhouse nutrient into your diet on a daily basis. Let’s get learning!
What Is Vitamin C
Originally discovered in 1932, citrus was used way back in the 1500s - 1800s as a method to treat scurvy (a deficiency disease) in sailors and pirates. Since then, nutrition experts have found that Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin found in naturally occurring fruits and vegetables. It is also known as ascorbic acid but most people in day to day life just refer to it as vitamin C. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, it is easily dissolved in water, but unlike other vitamins, it is not well stored within the body. This is why you want to obtain it from vitamin C rich food and vitamin C supplements.
RELATED: Vitamin C Benefits For Health
Why Is Vitamin C Important
Vitamin C is an important nutrient that aids the body in a variety of functions from immune system health, to healing wounds, even combatting the negative effects over time from free radicals and oxidative stress. Furthermore, for athletes and active individuals, vitamin C is an important component of building and repairing broken down tissues like muscle, cartilage, and even blood vessels. When you incorporate this nutrient often, you give your body the best fighting chance to prevent illness and unnecessary breakdown from strenuous activity. [R] Vitamin C also improves the body’s ability to absorb non-heme iron, the iron that is found in vegetables and leafy greens, which has a protective effect against inflammation, free radical damage, and chronic disease. [R]
Vitamin C Benefits For Skin
In addition to improving bodily functions, vitamin C plays an important role in your body’s ability to synthesize collagen. Collagen is an essential, incomplete protein, that is used for the building/rebuilding of tissue like skin, tendons, ligaments, and even our hair and nails. One of the main vitamins that is needed for synthesizing collagen is vitamin C, especially when it comes to our skin. Some of the vitamin C benefits for skin comes down to improving things like slowing the skin aging process, reducing the harmful effects of sun exposure, and improving skin elasticity.
The more collagen you can make and maintain throughout the aging process means the less aged the skin appears. All in all, the vitamin C benefits for skin, as well as the collagen supplementation benefits, are pretty great and they should be taken together regularly (also combined with eating vitamin C rich foods in your daily diet).
How Much Vitamin C Is Too Much
When you eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables you may wonder to yourself if you’re getting enough vitamin C through your vitamin C rich foods. If you supplement on top of that (or eat too many vitamin C dummies because they’re delicious) you may also wonder to yourself just how much vitamin C per day is too much? The good news is that the upper limit for adults of vitamin C is ~2,000 mg a day. [R] If you eat a well rounded diet with vitamin C rich foods, you’re probably good to go. If you’re lacking in the fruits and vegetables department and/or you’re a pretty active person, then we recommend supplementing with a vitamin C gummies.
RECOMMENDED: Vitamin C Gummies (60 servings)
Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
While it isn’t very often someone is deficient in vitamin C in developed countries, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen worldwide every single day. Scurvy aka the ‘pirates disease’ aka vitamin C deficiency happens most often when fresh/whole foods are unable to be accessed regularly in the diet. Socioeconomic status often plays into this as well and this is why developing/underdeveloped nations are often the ones that have the highest risk factors and numbers of vitamin C deficiency. To put this into perspective, rates are as low as 7.1% in the US and nearly 73.9% of the population are deficient in vitamin C in north India. [R]
Risk Factors For Vitamin C Deficiency [R]:
- Babies not breast fed
- Seniors not eating fresh foods
- Low income individuals with limited/no access to fresh foods
- Individuals with eating disorders
- Type 1 diabetics
- Individuals with GI issues/diseases (ex. inflammatory bowel disease)
- Individuals with restrictive diets and/or food allergies
- High caliber athletes training at intense levels
Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency [R]:
- Fractures and dislocations
- Poor iron absorption
- Bleeding easily
- Iron deficiency/anemia
- Poor immune system function
- Getting sick often/easily
- Poor bone health/development
- Poor recovery from exercise
- Poor wound healing
- Gum swelling
It is important to note that more often than not vitamin C is not the only deficient vitamin in the body when it is analyzed. Other vitamins commonly associated with vitamin C deficiencies are B vitamins, folate, calcium, zinc, and iron.
RECOMMENDED: Vitamin B-Complex Supplement (30 servings)
8 Vitamin C Rich Foods
One medium sized Kiwi contains nearly 70 mg of vitamin C. Pro tip, was the skin and eat it like an apple instead of peeling it (this is how they’re meant to be eaten!).
2. Brussels Sprouts
Similar to other green veggies, Brussels sprouts make a great vitamin C rich food to incorporate into your diet. Just how great? Well, about 1 cup of these little sprouts pack about 100 mg vitamin C.
3. Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers specifically provide 190 mg per 1 cup of vitamin C making this vegetable a vitamin C rich food.
Tomatoes are a vitamin C rich food but mainly when they’re consumed raw instead of cooked. In 1 cup of fresh tomatoes you’re looking at obtaining ~40 mg of vitamin C.
Strawberries make an excellent and delicious vitamin C rich food because they contain 85 mg vitamin C per 1 cup serving.
While you might overlook this item in the supermarket you may want to think twice. One cup of broccoli boasts 100 mg vitamin C and its a great way to get other essential vitamins and nutrients.
While you’ve probably walked past the green papaya in the grocery store not knowing that this juicy orange fruit contains about 90 mg vitamin C per cup, you’ll probably think again next time. Give it a slice down the middle, scoop out the seeds, and chow down on this vitamin C rich food (they’re the most ripe in the Summer).
You probably don’t need another reason to eat potatoes, but in case you do, the next time you eat a medium sized baked potato you’re going to be obtaining about 20 mg of vitamin C in addition to fiber and potassium. Make sure to eat the skin!
The Best Vitamin C Gummies
One of the easiest ways to get more vitamin C into your body, aside from the 8 vitamin C rich foods mentioned previously, is by taking a vitamin C supplement. Instead of taking a pill or capsule, we recommend supplementing your diet and health with the best vitamin C dummies out there from Swolverine. These delicious dummies are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free, packed with 250mg of vitamin C in each little orange slice shaped morsel.
Vitamin C Rich Foods: Takeaway
Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient that your body needs to function at an optimal level. From boosting the immune system to repairing cellular damage, vitamin C rich foods are a great way to incorporate this vitamin in a really enjoyable way. However, if you exercise often, are a high performing athlete, or maybe don't have access to a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, you may want to consider supplementing with Vitamin C gummies, like the ones from Swolverine.
Looking For An Easy And Optimal Way To Get More Vitamin C In You Diet?
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