8 Summer Foods High In Vitamin C
The body is symbiotic in nature. That means each process that occurs relies on another to occur as well so that everything runs the way it should. One piece of the overall health puzzle is diet – more specifically, the vitamins and nutrients we consume. Getting the proper amount of each vitamin and nutrient the body needs each day is a big indicator of how healthy a person is.
One such vitamin that is crucial to overall health is vitamin C – but what exactly is it, and what does it do for the body?
Read on for all you need to know about this vital vitamin, plus a list of delicious summer foods high in vitamin C.
What is vitamin C?
Vitamin C, otherwise known as L-ascorbic acid, is a type of water-soluble vitamin (meaning it dissolves easily in water and is not stored in the body). The body uses vitamin C to help form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen. Vitamin C also plays a role in how well the body heals from injury or illness.
Vitamin C benefits
There are many benefits of vitamin C, including the ones mentioned above. Other benefits of getting adequate vitamin C include:
- Reducing the risk of chronic disease
- Managing high blood pressure
- Lowering the risk of developing heart disease
- Reducing uric acid levels in the blood that, if left too high, could lead to gout
- Preventing deficiency in other vital nutrients such as iron
- Strengthening the immune system
- Protecting cognitive function such as memory and thinking skills
On the flip side, not getting enough vitamin C can hinder the body’s ability to function at its best, causing symptoms such as fatigue, depression, gingivitis, rashes, internal bleeding, and slow wound healing.
What foods are naturally high in vitamin C?
There are various foods that pack a good punch when it comes to vitamin C values. Luckily, summertime is the best time to get your vitamin C fix!
The best summer foods high in vitamin C include:
Oranges are perhaps the most well-known vitamin C providers, and for good reason. Just one large orange offers close to 100 mg of vitamin C. The recommended intake of vitamin C for adults ranges from 65 to 90 mg per day, so one serving is enough to cover your whole dietary needs for that one day.
To incorporate oranges into your diet, you can eat them plain, add them to salads, or make homemade orange juice. If you opt to eat an orange whole, you’ll also get a healthy helping of fiber.
Grapefruits are in the same family as oranges, and they pack just as good a punch of vitamin C as their citrus cousins. Eating just half a grapefruit each day will give you 45 mg of vitamin C, which is roughly half to just over 2/3 of your recommended daily intake. Grapefruit also provides you with a good dose of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.
Grapefruits can be a little sour, so to add them to your diet, you may want to either sweeten them up with some sugar or add them to another dish such as a salad to help balance out their sourness.
3. Green and red bell peppers
Bell peppers are a great addition to your diet for many reasons, and they’re excellent choices if you’re looking for a summer vegetable with high vitamin C values. One green pepper has roughly 95 mg of vitamin C and one cup of sliced red pepper can provide you with 117 mg of the nutrient. Red and green peppers also contain vitamin A and B vitamins and fiber.
Incorporate bell peppers into your diet by eating them raw, adding them to salads, or cooking them up as side dishes. Since red peppers maintain a lot of their vitamin C after cooking, they are a good choice for adding to cooked meals.
Strawberries are like nature’s candy, and in among all that sweetness is a ton of nutrients to help out your body! When it comes to vitamin C, just one cup of strawberries can provide you with 98 mg, which is more than your body needs per day. Strawberries are also an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, folate, and fiber.
You can eat these delicious summer berries on their own, pair them with desserts, blend them into smoothies, or throw them into a nice summer salad.
Cantaloupe is often considered one of the most refreshing summer fruits because of its light sweet taste. However, it is also a great source of the vitamin C you need every single day. A one-cup serving of cantaloupe will provide you with 60 mg of your vitamin C intake needs. Along with vitamin C, cantaloupe provides you with potassium, niacin, and vitamin A.
Eating cantaloupe raw is the best and most common way to consume it, but you could also include it in salads or smoothies.
6. Honeydew melon
Another great melon is the honeydew. It offers 30 mg of vitamin C per one-cup serving. It also packs a nutrient punch because it contains high levels of potassium and B-complex vitamins.
Try adding honeydew melon to a fruit salad or adding a few slices to desserts, pancakes, or waffles.
A summer food vitamin C list wouldn’t be complete without pineapple, and for good reason. This delicious fruit has roughly 80 mg of vitamin C per serving. Pineapple also has a good amount of magnesium, folate, fiber, and potassium.
Pineapple is a versatile fruit that can be incorporated into sweet or savory dishes. You can toss it into a stir fry to add a little touch of sweetness, put it on top of your pizza, or simply eat it raw.
While tomatoes don’t pack the highest amount of vitamin C on this list, they are nutrient-dense (and delicious!) enough to include. One tomato has roughly 20 mg of vitamin C, as well as vitamin A and lycopene, which are heart-healthy antioxidants.
Tomatoes can be incorporated into so many different dishes and eaten in so many ways – you can use them in a plethora of recipes, from soups to salsas to summer salads.