December 5, 2023

Eating an orange is not a bad idea if you want to get plenty of vitamin C. A medium-sized navel orange has 59.1 milligrams of this nutrient, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FoodData Central.

That’s over half of the Recommended Dietary Allowances established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—90 milligrams for adult males and 75 milligrams for adult females.

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that can help protect the body against various diseases and conditions. It also helps people absorb more iron from plant-based foods and plays a role in immune function, according to the NIH.

And there is even some evidence to justify vitamin C’s reputation as a cold-fighter. Though a 2013 meta-analysis in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found no evidence that consuming vitamin C supplements can prevent colds, it found some evidence that regular vitamin C supplementation may help slightly shorten the length of time you’re sick and reduce the severity of your symptoms.

Plenty of fruits and vegetables have just as much or even more vitamin C per serving than an orange. To reap the benefits of vitamin C, include some of these healthy foods in your diet.

Any bell pepper can be an excellent source of vitamin C. At the top of the list, according to the USDA FoodData Central, orange bell peppers contain 158 milligrams of vitamin C. Red bell peppers have 142 milligrams, with yellow bell peppers following close behind at 139 milligrams per 100 grams. Green bell peppers contain the least amount of vitamin C of the bell peppers, having only 99.5 milligrams, but do have more vitamin C than an orange.

Bell peppers do come with other benefits as well. For example, red peppers are also a great source of vitamin A, important for vision, according to the NIH. Additionally, green bell pepper has a high antioxidant capacity of 78%, according to a Molecules article published in September 2021, meaning that a large concentration of antioxidant compounds is available in the vegetable.

Raw broccoli provides 91.3 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. Broccoli has also been linked to many other health benefits, including heart and brain health and cancer prevention, as noted by the author of a 2021 Journal of Food and Nutritional Health article.

A one-cup serving of this tropical fruit delivers 88 milligrams of vitamin C. Beyond its vitamin C content, papaya may also have several other benefits, per an April 2021 Biology review, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, and wound healing properties.

A cup of sliced strawberries contains 98 milligrams of vitamin C. According to a February 2022 article published in Scientia Horticulturae, strawberries are a great source of antioxidants and minerals such as potassium and calcium.

According to the USDA FoodData Central, a cup of pineapple contains 78.9 milligrams. Research has also found other health benefits: A June 2021 article in Journal of Agriculture and Food Research found that pineapple can help improve digestion and has anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, and anti-hypertension properties.

Kiwi contains 74.7 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, according to USDA FoodData Central. Additionally, an August 2019 review in Nutrition and Cancer found evidence of direct and indirect anti-cancer effects in this fuzzy fruit.

A single fruit contains a 122 milligrams of vitamin C. Mango is also a great source of betacarotene and other antioxidants linked to eye health.

According to a May 2021 Molecules study, mangos that are more yellow have more carotenoids (promoting eye health), while mangos that are redder in color have more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

At 93.4 milligrams per cup, you don’t want to miss out on adding kale to your diet for vitamin C.

Kale includes vitamins A and K, potassium, and fiber as noted by the authors of a Nutrients article published in January 2022. Finally, raw kale can also be a good water source, as it has 89.6 grams of water, per the USDA FoodData Central.

Guava, a tropical fruit, has 376 milligrams of vitamin C per cup. Additionally, the entirety of the guava plant—from the roots to the leaves—may be helpful for conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, and inflammation, per a December 2018 Open Access: Toxicology and Research article.

Raw green and red chili peppers are great sources of vitamin C as well: Per 100 grams, green chili peppers have 242 milligrams, while red chili peppers have 144 milligrams per USDA FoodData Central.

The authors of a July 2018 MOJ Food Processing & Technology review indicated that chili peppers also include other vitamins, like vitamin A, E, and B, as well as minerals such as magnesium, iron, and calcium.


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