Oh, those teeth hurt! Why do I get cold so easily? Why do my kids have lower immunity?
Have you at some point felt any of these questions arise in your mind?
A, B, C, D, E, K – the list of essential Vitamins is bigger than one can remember. Each of these Vitamins contributes in their own way to the human body. In this article we look at what Vitamin C is and how it is helpful to us.
What is Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is important for normal growth and development of the human body. It is essential that we include Vitamin C in our daily diet as our human body cannot store it. Our system uses only the required amount of Vitamin C on a daily basis, eliminating the rest via urine.
Vitamin C scientifically known as Ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient serving a number of important functions in our body:
- It aids in the production of collagen, needed for calcification of bones, teeth and other tissues.
- It also helps in absorption of Iron from plant based foods, prevents cell damage and reduces the risk of certain cancers & chronic disease.
- Vitamin C protects the body from infections like cough and cold, keeping the immune system strong.
How to consume Vitamin C?
This Vitamin is a highly sensitive nutrient which reacts to air, water & temperature. It is best to consume Vitamin C rich foods in their raw form. Boiling or steaming these foods, will reduce the quality by 25%.
- Unthawing and freezing vegetables over a long period of time also leads to loss of vitamin C.
- Cooking vegetable for 20 to 30 minutes at a stretch can result in losing half of its worthy nutrients.
- Reheating and canning decreases Vitamin C content by 2/3rd.
The Recommended dietary dosage of Vitamin C for men is at 90 mg per day & 75 mg for women. However, pregnant and lactating mothers require 85 to 120 mg per day.
Sources of Vitamin C:
There are a number of fruits and vegetables which contain Vitamin C in a natural form. It is also available in a supplement form like powder, drink mixes, tablets, capsules & crystals. While plants are generally a good source of Vitamin C, the amount of vitamin C in it depends on the origin, variety, soil and climatic conditions where the plant was grown.
Another of the Vitamin sources are animals. They usually synthesize their own Vitamin C. Vitamin C is highly concentrated in the liver part.
Some commonly found vitamin C rich foods:
1. Citrus fruits:
Oranges are one of the most recognized citrus fruits having a healthy dose of Vitamin C. One medium sized orange contains 70 mg of Vitamin C and 62 calories. Oranges are preferred in their juice form, as they contain 61 to 93 mg of Vitamin C and 80 calories. This is one of our favourite Vitamin C foods.
In many of these fruits, Vitamin C is present in its peal as well. Grapefruit is another rich source of Vitamin C. Half a cup of grapefruit provides 50 mg of Vitamin C and 70 calories. A whole lemon contains around 40 mg of Vitamin C.
|Oranges||53.2 mg||47.0 g|
|Grapefruit||31.2 mg||42.0 g|
|lemon||53.0 mg||29.0 g|
[ Read: Food Rich in Vitamin E ]
There are 3 varieties of chillies we find in the market: red, green and yellow.
Green chillies have very high amounts of Vitamin C in them. They provide 182% of our daily recommended requirement. Chillies are also a great source of several antioxidants and minerals.
Red & Yellow chillies contain around 65 mg of Vitamin C and provide 102% of our daily requirement.
If you are one of those who can handle hot and spicy foods, include chillies in your diet.
|red||144 mg||40 g|
|green||242 mg||40.0 g|
[ Read: Vitamin K Rich Foods ]
3. Bell peppers:
Red bell peppers is among the top sources of Vitamin C. One cup of raw bell pepper contains 142 mg of Vitamin C and just 20 calories. Cooked red bell pepper contains 116 mg of Vitamin C per cup with only 15 calories.
Green bell peppers are known to have maximum amounts of Vitamin C. Cooked green bell pepper provides 51 mg of Vitamin C.
Yellow bell peppers come second highest in nutritional value with 124 mg per 100 gms.
|red bell pepper||142 mg||20 g|
|green bell peppers||51 mg||–|
|yellow bell peppers||124 mg||–|
[ Read: Sources of Vitamin B ]
This plant has one of the highest Vitamin C contents. Fresh rosehips contain 200 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams serving. This plant cannot be consumed in its uncooked form. Often these are available as supplements in capsule, powder and syrup form.
Rosehips also help in improving the blood circulation in the body.
|Rosehips||426 mg||162 g|
[ Read: Food rich in vitamin B6 ]
Amla, also known as Indian Gooseberry contains high levels of Vitamin C. It has 600 to 1800 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams of serving.
Fresh Amla juice contains 20 times more Vitamin C than an orange juice.
|Amla/Gooseberries||27.7 mg||44 g|
Raspberries, Strawberries and Blackberries are a powerhouse of nutrition. Bursting with healthy compounds like folate, fiber and phytochemicals, they are rich in Vitamin C as well.
Berries help to improve memory and protect our body against cancer & heart diseases.
Strawberries make an ideal snack with their tangy taste and high nutrient value. They are delicious and make a great addition to desserts. Strawberries are full of fiber and antioxidants which helps to reduce oxidative stress and controls cholesterol.
There are number of dishes you can make from Strawberries like strawberry shake, strawberry ice cream or a wonderful smoothie.
Blackberries have around 180 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams of serving. They are also rich in Potassium, Iron and Vitamin B5.
|Raspberries||26.2 mg||52.0 g|
|Strawberries||58.8 mg||32.0 g|
|Blackberries||21.0 mg||43.0 g|
[ Read: Sources of Vitamin D ]
One medium papaya contains a whopping 182 mg of Vitamin C, which equals to three times more than what an average person needs.
Papayas are also loaded with Vitamin A, Potassium and Fiber. They are also very good in curing blemishes, when applied to your face.
You can make a smoothie or just eat it raw for your daily dose of vitamin C.
|Papayas||61.8 mg||39.0 g|
Fresh pineapples have 79 mg of Vitamin C in a medium size cup serving. It constitutes about 131 % of the recommended daily requirement for us.
Apart from Vitamin C, pineapple also helps to relieve constipation and stomach troubles. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which promote healing and boosts immunity. Tropical pineapple makes a healthy addition to fruit salad and smoothies.
|Pineapple||47.8 mg||50.0 g|
One quarter of a medium cantaloupe has 47 mg of Vitamin C and 51 calories. It also contains Vitamin A and Potassium. To best preserve the nutritional content, never buy this fruit in cut form.
Certain nutrients especially Vitamin C can get diminished when exposed to air.
|Cantaloupe||36.7 mg||34.0 g|
Guavas provides as high as 228 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams serving. These are considered as a super food by many due to its nutrients like Folic acid, Potassium, Manganese, and Fiber.
|Guava||228 mg||68.0 g|
12. Thyme and other herbs:
Fresh and dried thymes are packed with high levels of vitamin C and other nutrients. They can be used in a number of food preparations like soups, stews and salads. Thyme contains the highest level of Vitamin C with 160 mg per 100 grams.
Parsley provides 133 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams. Herbs like basil, cilantro, green coriander and chives are also good sources of Vitamin C. One tablespoon of Green coriander contains 12 mg of Vitamin C.
|Thyme and other herbs||50.0 mg||276 g|
Broccoli provides 89 mg of Vitamin C in 100 grams serving, enough to cover your daily Vitamin C requirement. It tastes delicious either in raw or in cooked form. Try having Broccoli particularly in the flu season to boost your immune system.
|Broccoli||89.2 mg||34.0 g|
Cauliflower provides 46 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams of serving. Cauliflower makes a great addition to the diet for its Vitamin C, folate and dietary fiber in it.
|Cauliflower||46.4 mg||25.0 g|
West Indian Cherries and regular cherries are one of the best sources of Vitamin C. These colourful fruits provide 300% of the daily requirement for us. 1 cup of West Indian cherries contains 1650 mg of Vitamin C.
These cherries are also high in fiber and are great if you are planning to lose weight or feeling bloated.
Eat to your heart’s content if you can find these fruits in your local market!
|Cherries||7.0 mg||63.0 g|
16. Brussels sprouts:
One serving of Brussels sprouts contains 550 mg of Vitamin C. They also contain a good level of Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin A, Potassium and dietary Fiber.
|Brussels sprouts||85.0 mg||43.0 g|
Bright red and cute looking tomatoes are also a common and rich source of Vitamin C. Sun dried tomatoes are particularly high in this nutrient.
100 grams of tomatoes contains more than 100 mg of Vitamin C in it. This equals to 170% of our daily Vitamin C requirement. They can be added to sandwiches and salads apart from its typical use in curries and food preparations.
|Tomatoes||12.7 mg||18.0 g|
Apricots are a good source of Vitamin C and have very few calories in them. They help in lowering Cholesterol which helps against Heart diseases.
|Apricots||10.0 mg||48 g|
Cabbages are loaded with nutrition and are rich in Vitamin C. Cabbage contains 34 mg of Vitamin C per cup, half of the total recommended value for humans. Cabbages also help to fight off cancer and heart diseases.
Red cabbage provides a significant amount of nutrients. One cup of red cabbage contains 51 mg of Vitamin C along with Vitamin A, Fiber with only 28 calories.
|Cabbage||36.6 mg||25.0 g|
These earthy-rooted, smoky-flavoured and pretty looking turnips are surprisingly full of vitamin C and essential Amino acids.
It also contains complex carbohydrates and Fibre which adds to its healing power.
|Turnips||11.6 mg||22.0 g|
Fresh green peas are a good source of plant based proteins. An excellent source of Iron, Vitamin C and other nutrients, peas helps to reduce the risk of developing cancer, depression, high cholesterol and macular degeneration.
As an antioxidant, peas protects against Cataracts by fighting the free radicals.
|Peas||14.2 mg||84.0 g|
Cloves and other spices used in our daily cooking are a good source of Vitamin C. One spoon of ground cloves provides 6 mg of Vitamin C.
These are a sure addition in Indian and Asian cuisines.
|Cloves||80.8 mg||323 g|
Who doesn’t love a Mango?
This colourful, tasty and most loved fruit is a rich source of Vitamin C. An average mango contains 54 mg of Vitamin C which is nearly the entire recommended amount of for a day.
Apart from Vitamin C, mangoes also contain a number of other Vitamins and Minerals to keep you healthy. It contains Vitamin A, E, B6, Copper and Potassium to name a few.
|Mango||27.7 mg||65 g|
This super food is not just a good source of vitamin C and Iron but it also contains a host of carotenoids and phytochemicals. These help in protecting against several health diseases and Macular degeneration.
|Spinach||28.1 mg||23 g|
Potatoes are easy to store, inexpensive and easy to prepare. Along with Vitamin C, Potatoes also contain carotenoids, flavonoids and fiber.
|Potatoes||9.6 mg||93 g|
Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet to develop a healthy body and a healthy life. Next time you see the weather change, stack up Vitamin C in your diet and stay safe from Cold and Cough!
Please leave a comment if you would like to add some more nutritional fruits to this list, or just let us know on how you liked our article.