The 7 Best Sources of Vitamin C – Food, Supplements

No matter what your BMI is, you need sufficient levels of vitamin C in your body in order for it to function optimally.

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is one of the most beneficial nutrients that helps strengthen the immunity and lowers the risk of heart illness and prenatal problems, as well as eye illness and skin wrinkling. [1]

However, since our body can’t produce it on its own, we need to get it from foods and supplements that contain it.

Knowing the importance of vitamin C for good health, our guide will help you learn:

  • How to get enough vitamin C
  • What the best sources are
  • Why vitamin C matters

If you’re a woman, you need 75 mg of it per day while men need 90. [2] Although most experts say the best source is foods, a lot of individuals may also turn to supplements as well.

Supplementation with vitamin C has several proven health benefits and it’s often advised to people who have low levels of it or those who will benefit from higher amounts of this important vitamin.

What’s more, this vitamin is a known antioxidant, i.e. it prevents some of the damage that free radicals can do in the body. They play a role in the aging process as well as in some chronic illnesses like cancer and arthritis.

Keep on reading to learn about the best food and supplement sources of vitamin C and how to introduce them to your diet.

The Best Sources of Vitamin C- Foods & Supplements

1. Sweet yellow peppers

Did you know that as they mature, the amount of vitamin C in sweet or bell peppers elevates? Moreover, ½ cup of these peppers will provide you with an amazing 137 mg of this nutrient or 152 percent of the RDA. [3]

Getting sufficient amounts of this vitamin is pivotal for good eye health and may also lower the risk of cataracts.

  • The more mature the yellow pepper, the higher the vitamin C
  • ½ cup has 137 mg of this vitamin
  • Numerous ways to add it to your diet

In fact, a study done with 300 women concluded that the ones who consumed more vitamin C had 33 percent reduced risk of cataract when compared to the women who consumed it the least.

They’re really so easy to add to your daily diet- you can enjoy them fresh in salads, add them in stir-fries with eggs or bake them.

Last but not least, they’re low in calories-one yellow pepper has around 44 calories only so they’re also good for people with higher BMI who’re trying to shed pounds!

2. Kale

This cruciferous veggie is becoming more and more popular because of its impressive health benefits.

And, it’s also great for those who need/want to up their vitamin C intake.

With only a cup of raw kale, you’ll supply your body with 80 mg of vitamin C or 89 percent of the RDA. Plus, it contains high levels of vitamins K as well as zeaxanthin and lutein.

  • 1 cup or raw kale has 80 mg of this vitamin
  • Healthy source of vitamin C
  • Has antioxidant properties

A cup of cooked kale will provide you with 53 mg of this vitamin, which is also great.

Although the cooking process lowers its amount of this vitamin, one study concluded that steaming, frying or boiling veggies encourages the release of their antioxidants. [4]

Kale is awesome because it’s so versatile in terms of consumption- you can eat it raw in salads, you can boil it and eat it mixed with other veggies or add it to green soups (it adds an amazing texture) to it.

This is another great option for people with higher BMI who’re trying to lose surplus pounds since it’s low in calories- only 49 per 100 grams.

3. Lemons

A whole raw lemon with its peel will increase your vitamin C levels by 83 mg or 92 percent of the RDA. It’s also known for its strong antioxidant properties and the abundance of various minerals and phytonutrients.

They’re a great option to boost your vitamin C levels throughout the entire year, even though summer is their peak.

  • One lemon has 83 mg of vitamin C
  • Possesses antioxidant properties
  • Easily added to every diet

This wonderful fruit is so easy to implement in almost any diet- you can eat them raw cut in slices, squeeze their juice and make lemonade, garnish dishes with them or add them with other fruits and veggies in smoothies and drinks.

According to research, consuming veggies and fruits abundant in this vitamin helps lower the risk of stroke and heart illness. [5]

Lemons are also known as a weight loss food, so they can be also beneficial for individuals with higher BMI who’re trying to shed pounds.

One of the theories about how it helps is that the soluble pectin in them which is a fiber prolongs the satiety.

4. Strawberries

With only a cup of juicy strawberries, you’ll get 89 mg of vitamin C which is 99 percent of the RDA, amazing, isn’t it?

Strawberries are tasty and nourishing-they’re a mixture of impressive nutrients like vitamin C, flavonoids, manganese, folate, and other antioxidants.

  • Tasty & healthy source of numerous nutrients
  • Rich in vitamin C
  • Great for weight loss & disease prevention

When it comes to their antioxidant power, research has concluded that they may be of aid in the prevention of illnesses like dementia, vascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. [6]

If getting vitamin C isn’t your only goal, but weight loss too because of a higher BMI, this yummy fruit is an awesome choice for you!

Since it’s abundant in fiber which prolongs the feeling of fullness, it will lower the chance for overeating calories.

Feel free to blend them in juices and smoothies or put them on your morning bowl of cereal. Of course, you can always eat them fresh as a snack or a refreshing dessert.

5. Oranges

A medium-sized orange will provide you with 78 percent of the RDA or 70 mg of vitamin C.

What’s more, oranges are low in calories so they’re awesome for people with higher BMI trying to lose surplus pounds. [7] They also help us keep a healthy and strong skin and lower our risk for several health problems.

  • Great source of vital nutrients
  • Boosts the levels of vitamin C by 78 percent
  • Low in calories & rich in antioxidants

Plus, they’re so easily added to any type of diet and are highly versatile-you can eat them raw, squeezed in juices, make marmalades with them or use their peel to add a unique flavor to desserts and cakes.

In addition to supplying you with this vitamin, oranges will also elevate the presence of other important compounds and antioxidants in your body that work against inflammation and illness.

When picking or buying oranges, do it only when they’re ripe; unlike other fruits, they won’t ripen or better afterwards. Winter is the peak season not just for oranges, but for other citrus fruits too.

6. Ascorbic acid

This supplement is one of the most popular and most commonly used vitamin C supplements.

When compared to other supplement forms, this source is the least expensive; however, it’s a weak acid and it’s generally tolerated well, unless a person is very sensitive to acids. [8]

  • Ascorbic acid is a source of vitamin C in supplement form
  • The least expensive supplement
  • Generally well-tolerated & well-absorbed

This sensitivity may be experienced through loose stool or gases when the supplement is taken in larger doses.

You can reduce the risk of this side effect by dividing the doses to 3 or 6 smaller ones, best with meals.

Moreover, smaller doses are more beneficial for you as the absorption of the vitamin lowers as the amount elevates.

For example, you’ll absorb 100 percent when you consume 200 mg; on the other hand, if you take 1,250 mg at once, you’ll absorb less than 50 percent.

However, supplementation of vitamin C should be done in consultation with a doctor if you’re dealing with deficiency or you need higher amounts of it in case of infection or disease.

7. Mineral ascorbates

These supplements have a very low risk of causing gastrointestinal discomfort because of their low acidity, i.e. they contain ascorbic ions, not acid.

These ions are bound to a mineral which is usually sodium, magnesium or calcium. Both get released in our stomach when they come into contact with the acid there during the digestion.

  • They rarely cause discomfort in the stomach
  • 100 percent vitamin C
  • Available in various forms

Then, they’re turned into ascorbic acid and ready for absorption. This supplement is a 100 percent pure source of vitamin C and the amount on the label per capsule is the amount you’ll get. [9]

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should rely on it to be your only source of this pivotal vitamin, even though it will add to the daily amount.

Minerals and vitamins are good for our bones and optimal health and they’re combined in the most appropriate way to be effective and suitable for everyone, no matter their BMI.

Final Thoughts

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for our optimal health and participates in various body processes. However, as the body doesn’t produce it on its own, we have to get it from foods that have it and supplements.

Regular consumption of whole foods like veggies and fruits remain as the best source of this pivotal vitamin; however, in cases of a deficiency or a disease, supplementation may also be recommended.

We presented 5 excellent and tasty fruits and veggies abundant in this nutrient, as well as the two most commonly used supplements.

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