8 Winter Foods High In Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of many essential vitamins that the body needs to run properly. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C plays a vital role in the health of various organs and systems. It’s involved in the formation of blood vessels, cartilage, muscles, and collagen in the bones, and plays a role in the healing process. If you injure yourself, one of the nutrients that helps to heal that injury as quickly and healthily as possible is vitamin C.
Vitamin C is also important for the body because of how it helps other nutrients. Things such as iron are vital for many processes, and without adequate levels of vitamin C in the body, your body is not able to store or absorb iron properly. When this happens, a lack of vitamin C can actually cause an iron deficiency, which leads to various other health issues.
While getting enough vitamin C all year round is important for your overall health, is it more imperative to get lots of this nutrient during the winter? Let’s investigate, and look at some winter foods high in vitamin C to add to your diet.
What is the importance of vitamin C in winter?
Winter is well-known as a time of more frequent colds and flus. To make sure you aren’t laid low by one of these pesky illnesses, getting enough vitamin C may be one of the best ways to keep yourself protected. That’s because of the role that vitamin C plays in the immune system.
The body has both an innate and adaptive immune system. The innate system is non-specific and gears up immunity by isolating any pathogen that comes into the body, regardless of what it is. When this initial response occurs, the adaptive immune system jumps into action to create specialized immune cells to fight off specific pathogens.
Vitamin C comes into play because it supports the cellular function of both the innate and the adaptive immune system. Certain immune cells need vitamin C so that they can do their job of killing off pathogens effectively, and without enough vitamin C, the immune system suffers greatly.
Which food contains the most vitamin C?
While there are many foods that contain vitamin C, only one can take the crown as the food with the highest vitamin C content! Read on to learn what it is, as well as some other winter foods high in vitamin C.
Guava is a winter fruit that is low in calories but contains about 419% of your daily recommended vitamin C needs per cup. That’s a lot of vitamin C for a small portion of fruit!
Kale is a type of cruciferous leafy green vegetable that is often added to the diet because of its nutrient density. Although it can be grown year-round, winter-grown kale actually has a better flavor. One cup of raw kale will offer you roughly 89% of your daily value of vitamin C.
Kale also contains other vital nutrients, such as vitamin K and health-boosting carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin. It is also full of antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of chronic inflammation.
3. Brussels sprouts
While not as high as others on the list, Brussels sprouts do come in near the top because they are in season in winter and contain roughly 54% of your daily value of vitamin C per half-cup serving. Since they are nutrient-dense and low-calorie, you could easily double up the serving to reach your full daily quota of vitamin C with Brussels sprouts.
This cruciferous vegetable is also high in other important nutrients such as vitamin K, fiber, folate, vitamin A, manganese, and potassium.
Persimmons are a type of nightshade. They contain high amounts of vitamin C, which range depending on their variety. The American persimmon contains roughly 18% of your daily value of vitamin C per 100 grams.
Another cruciferous vegetable on the vitamin-C-rich list is broccoli. Broccoli can thrive in colder temperatures and is especially tolerant of frost, making it a great winter vegetable. Eating just a half-cup of cooked broccoli will give you as much as 57% of your daily value of vitamin C.
Research has found that eating cruciferous vegetables with a high vitamin C content can greatly improve overall health in the areas of immunity, cardiovascular health, and oxidative stress.
When people think of oranges, they often think of summer because of the fruit’s refreshing citrus flavor. However, in the climates that grow oranges, many types are actually considered to be a winter fruit. Navel oranges, for example, are harvested between the months of November to June.
Oranges are also often considered to be the first-choice source for vitamin C. Just one serving contains 92% of your daily value.
7. Butternut squash
Both delicious and nutritious, the butternut squash packs a healthy punch. When it comes to vitamin C, a one-cup serving of butternut squash provides 50% of your daily value.
This popular winter food also contains other important nutrients such as antioxidants, carotenoids, and vitamin E.
Many wouldn’t think of kiwi as a winter fruit, but it does harvest in the winter in areas with warmer climates. Just one medium kiwi provides you with 79% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. Research surrounding vitamin C and kiwifruit has found that it can help with immunity, which is vital during the winter months.
Eating seasonally to get all your vitamins and nutrients in the winter may seem like a challenge, but once you know the right foods to include in your diet, you should have no trouble getting all the vitamin C you need to make it through the season as healthy as possible.