5 Foods With More Vitamin C Than an Orange
Citrus is swell, but you should expand your menu to include these other vitamin C-rich foods.
When you think of getting vitamin C, you may think of chugging a glass of OJ. Oranges, or citrus in general, are known to be high in this essential vitamin. In fact, one medium orange provides 60 to 83 milligrams of vitamin C, which is close to the recommended daily intake of 65 to 90 milligrams for most people. Having just one piece of fruit each day could help you get that requirement. But unless you're eating fresh oranges, there might be a lot of unnecessary sugar with that C, such as when juiced for the orange juice you'd buy at the grocery store.
Getting enough vitamin C in each day is vital for your health. Vitamin C is great for boosting the immune system and protecting the skin and heart, as it's high in antioxidants and disease-fighting properties, explains Sofia Norton, RD. But if you don't like citrus, there is some good news: oranges aren't the richest source of vitamin C you can eat.
Here, we've rounded up a list of the top foods for vitamin C content. In most every case, you'll get the most vitamins if you consume the food raw and not cooked. (Cooking can degrade the vitamin C.) If you must cook them, then it's better to not steam or boil them, as these two methods will cause the vitamin content to deteriorate the most.
You can also pair vitamin C with iron-rich foods to increase absorption of the iron. For example, add orange zest to green spinach salads. Throw in some bell peppers to that salad. Or make a sweet strawberry glaze for a piece of steak. Here are the best foods to eat for vitamin C.
1. Red and Yellow Peppers
A half-cup serving of peppers contains up to 144mg of vitamin C. "That's well above the overall recommended daily intake for children, adults, and breastfeeding women [which is 90 to 120mg daily]," says Norton. If you include peppers in your daily diet, you're more than likely to meet your daily requirements for this vitamin, and you'll get more fiber and antioxidants, too, such as beta-carotene. Plus, there's that gorgeous pop of color for fresh salads and stir-fry recipes.
One serving (half a fruit) provides 94mg of vitamin C, which is enough for most people to meet their daily needs. "Since it's eaten raw, you're likely to get more vitamin C from papaya than cooked foods," says Norton. And you wouldn't cook papaya for a meal — the vitamin C degrades quickly in heat. Enjoy as is in a fresh fruits salad or make a juice.
The green fruit is packed with vitamin C, so dig right in. (And keep the skin, as that contains fiber to fill you up.) "Just one large kiwifruit, which is smaller than a medium orange, provides 84mg of vitamin C. Kiwifruit is also high in folate, vitamin K, vitamin E, and fiber," says Norton. So, it's a great option for a healthy snack or for a green morning smoothie.
Another tropical and underrated fruit, guava has lots of vitamin C. "One guava fruit provides over 200mg of vitamin C, which is double the amount you need to meet your daily needs," Norton says. Guava is a tropical fruit that you can eat raw or even with spices like salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. It's low in calories, which makes it a diet-friendly fruit as well.
These red berries are great for your health, and they taste sweet for dessert, smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal bowls, dressings and sauces, and more! "One cup of these berries contains 85mg of vitamin C, which is slightly more than a serving of oranges," Norton says. And much like all berries, strawberries are high in antioxidant content, too. "These contribute to cancer prevention, better brain health, and metabolic health," she says. They're also very low in calories, as well as carbs and sugar, for a fruit, so they're great on a healthy diet.