57 Foods Rich In Vitamin C
1. Chilli Peppers
242.5 mg / 100g
Add some spice to homemade breads and pasta sauces by chucking in diced, fresh chilli peppers. Whilst all chilli peppers have some pretty good levels of vitamin C, it is the green chilli pepper that has the highest amount, with an average sized chilli containing around 182% of the recommended daily allowance!
228.3 mg / 100g
Guavas tend to be one of the best sources of vitamin C. In particular, the common guava can contain more than 600% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C per one cup serving. Enjoy it on its own as a snack, or add it to fruit salads, smoothies and juices.
120 mg / 100g
Kale is a delicious and versatile leafy green that packs one hell of a nutritional punch. Its earthy flavour makes it ideal for salads and stir fries, but it is also very tasty drizzled in oil, baked in the oven and lightly sprinkled with salt as a healthy alternative to crisps.
92.7 mg / 100g
One large kiwi fruit can provide you with more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. It can be enjoyed on its own as a healthy snack between meals, chopped up into natural yogurt for breakfast or added to fruit salads and smoothies for an exotic flavour.
89.2 mg / 100g
Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, containing around 135% of the recommended daily allowance per one cup serving! Some people enjoy it raw and flaked through salads in order to experience the maximum nutrients possible, but it can also be steamed and served as a side dish to many foods, or added to macaroni cheese with peas and cauliflower.
6. Brussels Sprouts
85 mg / 100g
One of the best ways to enjoy the wonderful flavour of Brussel sprouts is to roast them in the oven with diced bacon. This helps to caramelise the naturally occurring sugars in the sprouts and releases their sweeter side. A single cup of Brussel sprouts also contains around 125% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
7. Bell Peppers
80.4 mg / 100g
Bell peppers come in a variety of colours, and therefore flavours. The greener the pepper, the more bitter tasting; the more yellow the pepper, the sweeter it tastes. They are used in a number of recipes including stir fries, chillies and bolognaise, but are equally delicious sliced into sticks and used for dipping in hummus.
8. Mustard Greens
70 mg / 100g
To easily add a flavoursome, spicy-tasting side dish to your meal without any faff, simply steam some mustard greens! They have a wonderful flavour that works incredibly well with most meats, but especially chicken. Mustard greens can also be added to stir fries, curries and blended into soups.
66 mg / 100g
Also known as Sharon fruit, persimmon fruit can be stewed with cinnamon and a little bit of honey or maple syrup to serve with cream or natural yogurt for a healthful dessert or breakfast item. Persimmon also works beautifully when cooked and blended with pumpkin to make a warming winter soup.
62 mg / 100g
Kohlrabi can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Raw, it can be added to salads and coleslaws if the plant is young and tender; it is also delicious shredded, drizzled in oil and served in pitta with kebabs. Cooked, kohlrabi is simply wonderful in soups or turned into fritters to serve as a side to quiche or fish.
60.9 mg / 100g
Papaya can be enjoyed fresh or dried in a variety of recipes, including as a snack, in fruit salad and chopped into yogurt for breakfast. Papaya also provides a delicate, exotic flavour to homemade smoothies. A cup of papaya contains around 140% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
58.8 mg / 100g
Summer is the time for strawberries! They are at their sweetest and most flavourful then, which is the best time to freeze them or turn them into jams and cordials in order to preserve their flavour. Strawberries are a wonderful snack on their own, but are equally delicious chopped into Greek yogurt or added to smoothies.
53.2 mg / 100g
A single, average sized orange contains more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Oranges are ideal for taking on-the-go as a snack and also for adding a deliciously refreshing element to fruit salads. They can even be added to vegetable-based salads for a Mediterranean twist.
53 mg / 100g
The juice from lemons can be used to make deliciously citrusy homemade smoothies and juices, drizzled over fruit salad to help prevent other fruits from turning brown, and to make an excellent, yet simple salad dressing with salt and pepper. The juice from a single lemon provides around a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
48.2 mg / 100g
Cauliflower pairs beautifully with strong flavoured cheeses like mature cheddar and brie. It is best served al dente in order to retain maximum nutrients but also to enjoy the wonderful texture it has to offer. Cauliflower is also fast becoming popular as a replacement for flour in pizza bases and potato in mash, making it a very versatile vegetable to keep in the fridge.
47.8 mg / 100g
Fresh, ripe pineapple can be sliced into sticks, chilled and then served to children for a refreshing, delicious alternative to ice creams and lollies on a hot summer’s day. Pineapple can also be used in a number of savoury recipes such as prawn curry and stir-fried pork, as well as being traditionally served with gammon, egg and chips.
17. Bok Choy
45 mg / 100g
Also known as pak choi and Chinese cabbage, bok choy is a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine, often included in stir fries and soups, or filled with things like egg fried rice and vegetables. It can also be enjoyed raw in salads in place of more traditional leafy vegetables like lettuce thanks to its delicious, yet mild mustard flavour.
43 mg / 100g
The strong, mustard flavour of watercress makes it perfect for using in place of lettuce in sandwiches or wraps. It can also be fried off with some onion and garlic, added to vegetable or chicken stock and used to make a replenishing soup that is ideal for people recovering from a cold.
40 mg / 100g
A one cup serving of peas contains nearly 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. These humble little vegetables are easy to include in the diet: they can be served as a side to many dishes, chucked into things like pasta sauce, bolognaise and cottage pie or pureed and poured over fish and other meats.
36.7 mg / 100g
Cantaloupe melon is an excellent source of vitamin C; indeed, a single cup contains around 100% of the recommended daily intake. These delicately flavoured fruits make a refreshing snack on a hot summer’s day. They can also be frozen and crushed to make healthy slushies for children that will keep them hydrated in the heat, thanks to their high water content.
36.6 mg / 100g
There are numerous ways to enjoy the flavoursome cabbage, depending on which variety you are using. Crunchy red and white cabbages are simply delicious in homemade coleslaw and add a lovely texture to raw salads. Leafy green cabbages, like the savoy cabbage, are very tasty in garlic and chicken-based soups.
36.4 mg / 100g
Mangoes have a naturally creamy texture that makes them ideal for freezing in chunks and then juicing or blending to make a dairy-free, no added sugar ice cream alternative for those hot summer days. By the same token, they can be blended and poured into ice lolly moulds and given to children as healthy treats.
23. Collard Greens
35.3 mg / 100g
A single cup of collard greens will provide you with nearly half of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. They should be lightly steamed in order to maximise flavour and nutrients and are wonderful as a side dish to meats like lamb, or even used to make pesto.
24. Dandelion Greens
35 mg / 100g
The earthy, bitter flavour of dandelion greens means that they pair incredibly well with garlic, mustard and onion. In fact, an excellent gravy to use with dandelion greens is caramelised onion and sage. The ideal way to cook them is boiled in salted water and then served as a side dish or in place of other leafy greens.
34.4 mg / 100g
The refreshing zing of grapefruit makes it ideal for including in homemade smoothies and juices. It can also be served halved as part of a wholesome breakfast. Grapefruit is also a pretty good source of vitamin C, containing between 120% and 128% of the recommended daily allowance per cup, depending on whether it is a pink/red or white variety respectively.
26. Passion Fruit
30 mg / 100g
The seeds of the passion fruit provide a refreshing, exotic flavour to homemade smoothies, juices and fruit salads. Passion fruit can also be used in recipes like lamb tagine and spicy dipping sauces as well as turned into a puree that can be used to marinate meats like pork, or for pouring over yogurt and granola for breakfast.
27. Swiss chard
30 mg / 100g
A one cup serving of Swiss chard contains nearly a fifth of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Swiss chard has quite a rich, yet strong flavour that allows it to work very well in recipes with other strong flavours like slow roasted lamb and braised vegetables, or pork marinated in beer.
29.1 mg / 100g
Limes are another wonderful smelling citrus fruit that make homemade smoothies & juices taste simply divine! The juice from limes is also used in recipes such as guacamole, Thai green curry and even hummus. The juice from a single lime contains around a 22% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
28.1 mg / 100g
Spinach is one of the best leafy greens to use as a base for green smoothies, especially for those who dislike the stronger flavours of other greens. It can also be used raw in green salads or as an alternative to lettuce in wraps. A cup of spinach contains around 14% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
26.7 mg / 100g
The wonderful, mouth-watering flavour of tangerines makes them perfect for adding to smoothies and homemade juices. An average sized tangerine contains more than one third of the daily intake of vitamin C, whilst a cup of tangerine juice contains around 128%.
26.2 mg / 100g
A single cup of raspberries contains more than half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. These juicy fruits bring with them a lot of health benefits and are best when consumed in season as simple snacks, but also work very well in fruit salads and smoothies. Raspberries can even be juiced and frozen in lolly moulds for a healthy alternative to ice lollies.
25 mg / 100g
More commonly known as a swede or turnip, the rutabaga vegetable is a winter staple that provides a delicious sweet and sour flavour to root mash. It can also be used to make soup, chopped and added to vegetable stew and is often used in traditional recipes for Cornish pasties.
24.9 mg / 100g
Thanks to the rather spicy flavour of horseradish, it is commonly used as a sauce for burgers and other barbequed meats. However, horseradish is also excellent grated and added to mashed potatoes or coleslaw to give the recipes a peppery kick. A single tablespoon of horseradish can contain as much as 6% of the daily allowance of vitamin C.
23 mg / 100g
Okra is a popular, staple component of gumbo thanks to its ability to thicken sauces without the need for anything else. Its gelatinous quality also means that okra makes a delicious, comforting curry that is perfect for consuming on a cold winter’s night. A one cup serving of okra contains around 35% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
21 mg / 100g
These autumnal fruits taste divine when they are picked in season and paired with other seasonal fruits like apples and pears. Blackberries can be used to make homemade jams and cordials, but are also delicious when added to wholesome flapjacks and granola bars. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, with a single cup containing 50% of the daily allowance.
21 mg / 100g
With the exception of using them in root mash, many people are unsure about what to use turnips for. They have a delicious, sweet and sour flavour that is really enhanced when they are roasted, especially with other root vegetables, then they can be enjoyed as a side dish or blended into a soup.
21 mg / 100g
A one cup serving of raw purslane contains around 15% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. This common garden weed is surprisingly tasty and nutritious and can be used in a number of recipes including green salad, steamed as a side to meat or added to green smoothies.
20.2 mg / 100g
Also known as Mexican water chestnut or yam bean, jicama looks a bit like a turnip, but has a flavour similar to that of an apple. Jicama should be peeled and can then be grated or sliced for use in stir fries, salads and coleslaw. It is also delicious served chilled and sprinkled with chilli, lime juice and salt.
39. Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)
20.2 mg / 100g
Also known as rapini, broccoli rabe has a slighter more bitter flavour than regular broccoli, which means that it holds its own very well with flavours like garlic and onion, as well as stronger-tasting meats like beef. Broccoli rabe can be enjoyed as a side dish, but also tastes delicious in pasta and flaked through warm salads.
18.8 mg / 100g
Sometimes referred to as spring onions, scallions come in a range of sizes from the small ones that are ideal for chopping into green salads, to the large ones that are perfect for grilling on the barbeque. Scallions can also be added to broths and stir fries to provide a mild onion flavour.
18 mg / 100g
Having a high water content and delicately sweet flavour, honeydew melons make an excellent and refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day, especially for children. They can be scooped into balls and added to fruit salads, but they also work well when frozen on sticks and served in place of ice cream.
17.9 mg / 100g
Also known as courgette, zucchini is a delicious, yet mild-tasting vegetable that adds a wonderful crunch to pasta sauce, bolognaise, curries and stir fries. It is also delicious spiralised and used as spaghetti. A single cup of raw zucchini contains more than a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
17 mg / 100g
Roasted parsnips are absolutely delicious! They provide a sweet base, with a slightly sour aftertaste that makes them incredibly moreish. Parsnips can also be used to make soup and are very tasty in root vegetable curries and stews. The wonderful flavour can really be appreciated in a raw, winter coleslaw that uses seasonally available roots, like parsnip.
15 mg / 100g
This deliciously spicy-tasting, green leafy vegetable makes a wonderful addition to sandwiches, wraps and salads, but can also be enjoyed in savoury smoothies. Because it has quite a peppery flavour, arugula will work incredibly well with most tomato and red meat-based dishes like lasagne and chilli, either as a main component of the meal or as a simple side salad.
14.8 mg / 100g
The spicy flavour of radishes makes them a tasty addition to a number of green salads, especially if they don’t already contain raw onion – ideal for anyone who wants a bit of a kick to their salad, but who might be allergic to onion. Half a cup of radishes contains around 14% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
13.7 mg / 100g
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, containing anywhere between 21% and 70% of the recommended daily allowance per one cup serving, depending on variety. Tomatoes are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed raw in salads, sandwiches and cold pasta or cooked in pasta sauce, soups and casseroles.
13.3 mg / 100g
These sour tasting fruits make an excellent sauce that is traditionally served with white meats like turkey, but they can also be sweetened and turned into a lovely jam that tastes great with cheese and biscuits. Cranberries can also be dried and enjoyed on-the-go as a snack or added to granola and trail mix.
12.3 mg / 100g
There are a number of squash varieties available, with some being sweeter than others, like some pumpkins. These are ideal for roasting or using to make winter soups and wholesome breakfast muffins. Other less sweet varieties work incredibly well in pasta sauces, curries or stuffed with rice and other vegetables.
49. Green Beans
12.2 mg / 100g
Being one of the easiest vegetables to grow, green beans make an excellent addition to any novice’s garden and when eaten straight from the vine they are an abundant source of nutrients. Green beans can be simply enjoyed raw as a snack, or steamed and served with lemon as a side to fish.
12 mg / 100g
Being members of the onion family, leeks have a distinctly delicious, yet mild onion flavour that lends itself incredibly well to soups, pasta dishes and even shredded and served raw in salads. An average sized leek will provide around a fifth of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
12 mg / 100g
Fennel has a pungent, aniseed aroma and flavour that is simply wonderful in raw summer salads, served alongside chicken. It is also excellent when added to roast vegetable dishes like ratatouille because it helps to really bring all of the flavours together. A cup of fennel will provide around 17% of the daily intake of vitamin C.
11.7 mg / 100g
To enjoy artichokes at their best they should be consumed when they are in season. Artichokes can be lightly grilled on a barbeque or flaked through a warm salad. They are equally delicious when canned and served as antipasti. An average sized artichoke will provide around a quarter of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
11.4 mg / 100g
Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables around and there are so many different varieties! They can be boiled, roasted, baked and mashed to create a huge range of delicious dishes that are often served as a side to meats or vegetarian meals. Potatoes can also be used to make potato salad, which is delicious with other salad items like fish, chicken, green salad and coleslaw.
10.2 mg / 100g
The seeds of the pomegranate fruit can be sprinkled over fruit salad, added to homemade smoothies and enjoyed with yogurt and granola for breakfast. However, pomegranate can also be used in a number of savoury recipes such as tabbouleh, vegetable-based salads and meats that are slow roasted in a mulled wine-style marinade.
10 mg / 100g
Apricots can be enjoyed in a number of ways: dried, fresh and tinned. Dried apricots make a wonderful on-the-go snack and pack a nutritional punch, which is likely due to the nutrients being concentrated during the drying process. Fresh apricots add a deliciously fragrant aroma to fresh fruit salads and tinned apricots make an excellent store cupboard staple.
10 mg / 100g
Enjoy sweet cherries as a healthful snack, fresh and dried, or add them to fruit salads and homemade jams. Sour cherries are excellent for making into a sauce to use with meats like chicken and turkey, or enjoyed with dark chocolate as a treat. A single cup of cherries can contain between 16% and 26% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
10 mg / 100g
The creamy texture of avocado makes it an ideal part of diets where dairy products are absent. When it is extremely ripe, avocado can be used to spread on sandwiches and crackers in place of butter or mayonnaise. It can also be used to make a wonderful guacamole for dipping as a snack or serving with chilli and wraps.
About Vitamin C
Otherwise known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it cannot be stored in the body for any length of time and must be consumed on a regular basis. Vitamin C plays a fundamental role in the production of collagen, which is needed for producing healthy skin cells and proper wound healing, and it also plays a role as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Nearly every single fruit, vegetable and herb contains good amounts of vitamin C. Some of the best sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, mangoes, pineapple, broccoli and tomatoes.
Why is Vitamin C Important?
There is much speculation over the importance of vitamin C in the diet, with some suggesting that it helps boost the immune system and fends off colds, whilst others believe this is not the case. At present, there isn’t any scientific evidence to support the idea of vitamin C being useful in preventing colds, however, it has been shown to help support the immune system and, therefore, its consumption may help the immune system to fight off illness and infection.
Because it is an antioxidant and supports the immune system, there has been plenty of research into the effects that vitamin C has on cancer and helping to prevent it. A 1997 study looked at different approaches to preventing the growth of cancer cells and found that ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, was very effective in doing so. Another study conducted in 2005 found that ascorbate, a derivative of vitamin C, could help to kill cancer cells.
Despite studies like these, most scientists are still conflicted over the exact nature of vitamin C when it comes to cancer treatment and prevention, however, it is worth noting that vitamin C does have some kind of impact and further, more precise research is needed.
We know that consuming high quantities of fruits and vegetables is good for our health, but research suggests that doing so can have a significant impact on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Much of the research is conflicting and further investigation needs to be conducted in this area.
That said, some studies have found a positive relationship with vitamin C intake and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease including a ten-year study conducted in 2008. The results showed that higher intakes of vitamin C were associated with a lower risk of experiencing a stroke.
Up until the age of thirteen, the recommended daily intake of vitamin C is the same for both males and females, with infants under twelve months only having guidelines that ensure that they receive an adequate amount. Babies under six months old should be getting around 40mg of vitamin C per day, whilst those aged between seven and twelve months need roughly 50mg a day.
Youngsters between the ages of one and three years old need about 15mg of vitamin C per day; four to eight year olds need 25mg a day; and those between nine and thirteen years old require 45mg a day. Once young people get to about fourteen years of age, their daily requirement of vitamin C varies depending on whether they are male or female and pregnant or breastfeeding, and under or over nineteen years of age.
Males require about 75mg of vitamin C per day when they are between fourteen and eighteen years of age, and 90mg per day when they are nineteen years or older. Females between the ages of fourteen and eighteen years require 65mg of vitamin C per day; unless they are pregnant, when they require 80mg a day; or breastfeeding, when they require 115mg a day. From nineteen years onwards, females need 75mg of vitamin C a day, or 85mg when pregnant and 120mg when breastfeeding. Smokers tend to need about 35mg more of vitamin C per day than non-smokers.
Vitamin C Deficiency and Inadequacy
Vitamin C deficiency, whilst possible, is quite rare in developed countries. However, a deficiency can occur if the consumption of vitamin C falls below 10mg a day for a number of weeks, resulting in a condition known as scurvy. Scurvy is fatal if left untreated and symptoms of it include fatigue, inflammation of the gums, joint pain, bleeding gums and depression. Children are also at an increased risk of experiencing bone disease.
For the most part, however, people in developed countries are more likely to experience a vitamin C inadequacy rather than an outright deficiency. Symptoms of a vitamin C inadequacy tend to be milder forms of those experienced by people suffering from a deficiency of vitamin C and should be treated urgently before a deficiency can occur. There are a number of people in developed nations who are at an increased risk of experiencing a vitamin C inadequacy and they include the following groups:
- Non-weaning babies fed boiled or evaporated milk – despite the general consensus that infants should be consuming either breast milk or specially formulated infant formula, there are some occasions when parents might feed their baby boiled milk or evaporated milk. If this practice continues on a regular basis, then babies who are not weaning can experience low levels of vitamin C because cow’s milk does not contain very much vitamin C, unlike breast milk and fortified infant formula.
- People with certain medical conditions – there are some medical conditions, particularly pertaining to the digestive system, that can significantly decrease the body’s ability to successfully absorb vitamin C or, in contrast, require the body to increase its levels of vitamin C beyond what it is receiving in the daily diet.
- Smokers and passive smokers – numerous studies have shown that people who smoke consistently have lower levels of vitamin C in their blood stream than people who don’t, which is why it is recommended that they consume around 35mg more of vitamin C per day. It is also understood that people who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke also have lower vitamin C levels.
- People with limited or unhealthy diets, including alcoholics – people who consume alcohol in excess tend to have rather unhealthy and/or limited diets that mean they don’t get enough vitamin C on a regular basis. The same is true of people suffering from mental illness, those on fad diets and even children.
Risks and Warnings
Vitamin C is not believed to cause any serious health problems when consumed in high doses, although some people may experience diarrhoea, cramps and other problems associated with the digestive system. Some people who suffer from kidney stones may slightly increase their risk of developing them again if they consume too much vitamin C and in people who suffer from hemochromatosis, there is a risk of vitamin C encouraging an increase in iron absorption. But for most people these are not concerns.
With regards to interactions with medications, for the most part vitamin C doesn’t seem to cause any concerns. However, there is debate over the effects that vitamin C supplements can have on patients undergoing cancer treatment, specifically chemotherapy, because there is some suggestion that antioxidants like vitamin C might protect cancer cells from damage caused by treatment.