Vitamin C is a water-soluble compound found in many foods, especially fruits and vegetables. It is well known as a powerful antioxidant that has a positive effect on skin health and immune function. It is also vital for the synthesis of collagen, connective tissue, bones, teeth and small blood vessels.
The human body cannot produce or store this nutrient. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly consume it in sufficient quantities. The current daily intake of vitamin C is 90 mg for an adult.
Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums, frequent bruising and infections, poor wound healing, anemia, and scurvy.
TOP 20 foods high in vitamin C
Products are considered in decreasing order of the amount of the beneficial substance in them.
1. Plum Cockatoo (Terminalia Ferdinand)
Plum Cockatoo (Terminalia ferdinandiana) is superfood from Australia, and contains 100 times more vitamin C than oranges. It has the highest concentration, containing up to 5300 mg per 100 grams of fruit. Only one plum contains 481 mg of the substance, which is 530% of the daily intake.
It is also rich in potassium, vitamin E and the antioxidant lutein, which can benefit eye health.
Cockatoo plum contains up to 5300 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. fruit, making it the richest source of this nutrient. Only one discharge provides about 530% of the daily value.
2. Acerola (Barbados Cherry)
Only half a cup (50 grams) of acerola (Malpighia emarginata) contains 822 mg of the beneficial compound, or 913% of the daily intake. Animal studies using acerola extract have shown that it can have anti-cancer properties, helps prevent skin damage by ultraviolet rays, and even reduce DNA damage caused by poor nutrition ( 1 , 2 ).
Despite these promising results, no human studies have been conducted on the effects of acerola cherry consumption.
Only half a cup of acerola contains 913% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. The berry may even have antitumor properties, although there are not enough studies in humans.
Rosehip – a small, sweet, sharp fruit of rose hips. It is filled with vitamin C. About six rosehips provide 119 mg of nutrient or 132% of the daily allowance.
Vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, which maintains the integrity of the skin as it ages. Studies have shown that this compound reduces skin damage from the sun, reduces wrinkles, dry skin and age spots, improves appearance. Nutrient also helps in wound healing and inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis ( 3 ).
Rosehips provide 426 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. About six pieces of this fruit deliver 132% of the daily intake of nutrients and stimulate healthier skin.
A high vitamin C product is chili peppers. One green chili pepper contains 109 mg of the nutrient, or 121% of the daily value. In comparison, one red chili pepper delivers 65 mg, or 72% of the daily value. In addition, chili peppers are rich in capsaicin, which is responsible for their pungent taste. Capsaicin also reduces pain and inflammation.
There is also evidence that approximately one tablespoon (10 g) of red chili powder helps increase fat burning ( 4 ).
Green chili pepper contains 242 mg of substance per 100 g. Therefore, one green chili pepper contains 121% of the daily intake, and one red chili pepper – 72%.
5. Guava (psidium)
This pink tropical fruit is native to Mexico and South America. One guava contains 126 mg of vitamin C or 140% of the daily intake. Guava also has a lot of antioxidant lycopene.
In a six-week study among 45 young healthy people, it was found that consuming 400 g of peeled guava per day or about 7 parts of this fruit significantly reduces blood pressure and total cholesterol ( 5 ).
Guava contains 228 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. One guava provides 140% of the daily nutrient intake.
6. Yellow bell pepper
The content of vitamin C in sweet bell pepper increases as it ripens. Only half a cup (75 grams) of yellow pepper provides 137 mg of nutrient or 152% of the daily intake, which is twice as much as green pepper.
Consuming enough vitamin C is important for eye health and helps protect against cataract progression. A study conducted among more than 300 women showed that patients with a higher intake of this beneficial compound have a 33% lower risk of cataracts than patients with the lowest intake ( 6 ).
Yellow bell pepper contains the highest concentration of vitamin C among all sweet peppers, providing 183 mg of the substance per 100 g. vegetable. Half a cup of sweet yellow pepper delivers 152% of the recommended daily allowance.
7. Black currant
Half a cup (56 grams) of black currant (Ribes nigrum) contains 101 mg of vitamin C or 112% of the daily intake. Antioxidant flavonoids, known as anthocyanins, give currants a rich, dark color.
Studies have shown that a diet high in antioxidants such as vitamin compounds and anthocyanins can reduce the oxidative damage that causes chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases ( 7 ).
Blackcurrant contains 181 mg of nutrient per 100 g. berries. Half a cup of blackcurrant provides 112% of the daily nutrient intake and can help reduce chronic inflammation in the body.
Surprisingly, among foods high in vitamin C (even more than in oranges) is thyme. It contains the maximum concentration of the substance among all culinary herbs. 30 gr 45 mg of the substance provides fresh thyme, which is 50% of the daily intake. Even if you simply sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons (3-6 gr.) Of fresh thyme on your dish (thyme is especially good for fish dishes), this will add 3.5-7 mg of a beneficial compound to your diet, which can strengthen immunity and help fight infections.
While thyme is a popular remedy for sore throats and respiratory diseases, it also has a high content of vitamin C, which helps improve immunity, produce antibodies, destroy viruses and bacteria and cleanse infected cells.
Thyme contains the most useful nutrient among all culinary herbs, providing 160 mg of nutrient per 100 g. herbs. One ounce (30 grams) of fresh thyme provides 50% of the daily allowance. Thyme and other foods high in vitamin C boost immunity.
Two tablespoons (8 g.) Of fresh parsley contain 10 mg of the substance, which provides 11% of the recommended daily allowance. Along with other leafy green vegetables and leafy greens, parsley is an important source of plant, non-heme iron. Vitamin C increases the absorption of non-heme iron. This helps prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia.
In one two-month study, people on a vegetarian diet took 500 mg of vitamin C twice daily with food. At the end of the study, their iron levels increased by 17%, hemoglobin by 8% and ferritin, which is a form of iron storage, by 12% ( 8 ).
Parsley contains 133 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. product. Sprinkling your food with two tablespoons of parsley, you will provide yourself with 11% of the daily value of the substance, which also helps to increase the absorption of iron.
One cup of raw chopped spinach provides 195 mg of nutrient, or 217% of the daily value. Despite the fact that heat treatment reduces the nutrient content of food, one cup of cooked spinach still provides a large amount of substance equal to 117 mg or 130% of the daily allowance.
Like many dark leafy greens, spinach also has a high content of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, manganese, fiber, and folic acid.
Spinach contains 130 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. One cup of this leafy green vegetable gives 217% of the daily intake of the nutrient in raw form at 130% when cooked.
Almost all cruciferous vegetables are foods high in vitamin C. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable. One cup of chopped raw Kale cabbage contains 80 mg of the substance or 89% of the daily value. It also provides high amounts of vitamin K and carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. One cup of cooked cabbage contains 53 mg, or 59% of the daily allowance.
When preparing this vegetable, the content of nutritious ingredients is reduced, but one study found that boiling, frying, or steaming leafy greens helps release more antioxidants. These powerful antioxidants can help reduce chronic inflammatory diseases ( 9 ).
Kale cabbage contains 120 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. vegetable. One cup of raw cabbage provides 89% of the daily value, while a cup of heat-treated cabbage provides 59%.
One medium kiwi contains 71 mg of vitamin C or 79% of the daily intake. Studies have shown that kiwi can help reduce oxidative stress, lower cholesterol and improve immunity.
A study conducted in 30 healthy people aged 20-51 years showed that eating 2-3 kiwi daily for 28 days reduces platelet stickiness by 18% and triglycerides by 15%. This can reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke ( 10 ).
Another study in 14 men with vitamin C deficiency found that eating two kiwi daily for four weeks increased white blood cell activity by 20%. The level of the substance in the blood normalizes after a week, increasing by 304% ( 11 ).
Kiwis contain approximately 93 mg of substance per 100 grams. One medium-sized kiwi provides 79% of the daily norm, which contributes to good blood circulation and strong immunity.
Broccoli is another cruciferous vegetable rich in vitamin C. One half cup of cooked broccoli contains 51 mg of the beneficial compound, or 57% of the daily value.
Numerous observational studies have shown a possible association between the consumption of large amounts of cruciferous vegetables and reduced oxidative stress, improved immunity, and a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease ( 12 ).
In one randomized study, 27 young men who were heavy smokers took 250 grams of boiled broccoli containing 146 mg of vitamin C daily. After 10 days, their level of C-reactive protein (inflammatory marker) decreased by 48% ( 13 ).
Broccoli contains 89 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams. Half a cup of steamed broccoli provides 57% of the daily allowance and can reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases.
14. Brussels sprouts
Another bright representative of cruciferous foods with a high content of vitamin C is Brussels sprouts . One half cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides 49 mg, or 54% of the daily nutrient requirement. Like most cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are also high in fiber, vitamins A and K, folate, manganese and potassium. All of these trace elements are important for bone health. In particular, vitamin C promotes the formation of collagen, which is the fibrous part of your bones.
A large review in 2018 showed that high intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of hip fractures by 26% and reduces the risk of osteoporosis by 33% ( 14 ).
Brussels sprouts contain 85 mg of nutrient per 100 g. Half a cup of steamed Brussels sprouts provides 54% of the daily value, which can improve bone strength and function.
Lemons were the most popular and effective cure for scurvy in the early 18th century. One whole raw lemon with a peel contains 83 mg of vitamin C or 92% of the daily value. This compound in lemon juice also acts as an antioxidant. When fruits and vegetables are cut, the polyphenol oxidase enzyme is exposed to oxygen. This causes oxidation and makes the product a little brown. Applying lemon juice to exposed surfaces acts as a barrier to this process.
Lemons contain 77 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. fruit. One medium lemon contains 92% of the daily value. This nutrient has powerful antioxidant properties and can protect cut fruits and vegetables from oxidation and browning.
One lychee contains about 7 mg of vitamin C, or 7.5% of the daily intake, while a serving of one cup will provide you with 151% of this compound. Lychees also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which benefit the brain, heart, and blood vessels.
Studies on lychee have not been conducted. However, this fruit contains a large amount of the substance we are considering, which is known for its role in the synthesis of collagen and the strengthening of blood vessels.
An observational study among nearly 200 thousand people showed that those who had the highest nutrient intake had a 42% lower risk of stroke. Each additional serving of fruit or vegetables reduced the risk by another 17% ( 15 ).
Lychee contains 72 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. One lychee contains an average of 7.5% of the daily allowance, and one bowl – 151%.
17. Persimmon Virginia (American)
Persimmon is a bright and juicy fruit that resembles a tomato. There are many different varieties of persimmons. Although eastern (Japanese) persimmons are the most popular, American persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) contain almost nine times more vitamin C. One American persimmon contains 16.5 mg of substance, or 18% of the daily intake.
American persimmons contain 66 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. fruit. One American persimmon contains 18% of the daily allowance.
One cup (145 grams) of papaya provides 87 mg of substance or 97% of the daily value.
Vitamin C also helps maintain cognitive function and memory, and has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. In one study, 20 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease received concentrated papaya extract for six months. The results showed a 40% reduction in inflammation and a decrease in oxidative stress ( 16 ).
Papaya contains 62 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. One cup of papaya provides 87 mg of substance, which can help improve memory.
One cup of strawberries (150 gr.) Contains 89 mg of vitamin C or 99% of the daily value. Strawberries contain a diverse and powerful mixture of beneficial nutrients: vitamin C, manganese, flavonoids, folate and other beneficial antioxidants.
Studies have shown that because of their high antioxidant content, strawberries can help prevent cancer, vascular disease, dementia, and diabetes ( 17 ).
In one study, 27 people with metabolic syndrome found that those who use lyophilized strawberries daily, which is equivalent to 3 cups of fresh berries, have a significantly lower risk factor for heart disease. At the end of the eight-week study, the “bad” LDL cholesterol level in the subjects decreased by 11%, and the level of the VCAM marker for blood vessel inflammation decreased by 18% ( 18 ).
Strawberries contain 59 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. One cup of strawberries contains 89 mg of nutrient. These nutritious berries help keep your heart and brain healthy.
The most popular and promoted product with a high content of vitamin C is orange . But despite its popularity, oranges do not have as much of this substance as in the above products. One medium-sized orange contains 70 mg of the compound, which is 78% of the daily value.
Other citrus fruits can also help you meet your vitamin C needs. For example, half a grapefruit contains 44 mg or 73% of the daily intake, mandarin 24 mg or 39% of the daily intake and juice of one lemon 13 mg or 22% of the daily intake.
Oranges contain 53 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. fruit. One medium orange delivers 70 mg of nutrient. Other citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, tangerines and lemons, are also good sources of this substance.
- Vitamin C is vital for the human immune system, the formation of strong connective tissue and blood vessels, as well as for the health of the heart and brain.
- Not getting enough of this vitamin can have negative consequences for your health. While citrus fruits may be the most famous source of vitamin C, there are other foods that are high in vitamin C – a wide selection of fruits and vegetables is rich in this nutrient and may even exceed the amount found in citrus fruits.
- By consuming some of the products offered in our article every day, your daily needs for this important vitamin must be met.
- A diet rich in vitamin C is an important step towards good health and disease prevention.