By Isadora Baum
When it comes to getting enough vitamin C, the immunity-boosting vitamin that keeps you strong and well, you’re probably thinking that go-to source might be a glass of OJ or a fresh orange.
Yes, oranges are known for being high in this essential vitamin, but it’s not the best source you can actually choose. There’s no reason to stop eating oranges — they are high in the good stuff — but expand your list of vitamin C-rich foods and incorporate a wider selection of fruits and veggies in your routine. Here are 10 foods with more vitamin C than an orange—and they’re delicious too.
This green superfruit is loaded with vitamin C, where each kiwi contains over 100% of your recommended daily value. “It’s perfect in smoothies or as a refreshing snack, and kiwis also contain fiber to fill you up faster,” says Maggie Michalczyk, MS, RD. For instance, pair them with yogurt or cottage cheese or blend into a morning smoothie or juice before heading out the door. And eat the skin—that’s where all that great fiber is.
Guava is totally underrated, but it’s delicious and high in vitamin C to keep you well. “Guava contains nearly 2X the amount of vitamin C than an orange—that’s huge,” says Michalczyk. “This tropical fruit also contains manganese, and potassium,” she says, which makes it great for balancing electrolytes post-workout and keeping you hydrated. Use it in a post-workout shake or top on a salad.
It might be hard to core on your own, but don’t forget pineapple for a fruity, sweet snack. And you can definitely get this one pre-cut, FYI. “Pineapples contain 131% of the RDI for vitamin C and also have an enzyme called bromelain, which helps to break down protein,” she says. That means it also eases digestion, too. “Pineapple is another great fruit to include in smoothie or snack on,” she says. You can even make a great salsa for a taco or guacamole topping..
The green cruciferous veggie that’s high in protein and iron as a plant-based option is also rich in vitamin C. “A 1/2 cup serving of broccoli contains 70% of your daily value of vitamin C and is a good source of fiber and calcium,” she says. The calcium helps decrease risk of osteoporosis and builds bone density while fiber fills you up, she explains. Enjoy broccoli in stir-fry meals, as a side, in a soup, as a dip, and more.
Kale contains nearly 140% of your daily requirement of vitamin C—so here’s more reason to snack on those tasty homemade kale chips or add it to your salads this summer. It’s a great green to make salads with or add to smoothies for more vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and healthy antioxidants, which can protect your heart and bones and boost satiety, she says.
A tropical fruit that you don’t often look to, papaya is super good for you, and although on the sweeter end compared to other fruits, it has a ton of vitamin C. “Papaya contains nearly 110% of the daily requirement of vitamin C and also contains potassium, magnesium and calcium,” she says, so it’s great for muscle repair and strengthening bones post-workout, as well as rebalancing electrolytes. Add it to a smoothie, a yogurt bowl, or some oatmeal.
Who doesn’t look forward to biting into a ripe piece of mango in the summer? “Mangoes contain upwards of 60% of your daily value for vitamin C and other nutrients like folate, fiber and copper,” she says, so it can fill you up and protect your heart and brain. We often don’t think of copper, but it’s an important mineral and mango can help you get your requirements. Make a salsa or jam or create a glaze or dressing for fresh greens or chicken. Even grill it at your next BBQ and serve with yogurt, ricotta or ice cream.
These red berries are right in season for spring and summer and help brighten up any dish with a bit of natural sweetness. “A serving of 8 strawberries contains a full day’s worth of vitamin C,” she says.
And they are delicious for sweet and savory recipes. There’s also a ton of fiber, so they will keep your belly fuller longer. “Incorporating them into meals and snacks is a great way to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C,” she says, so add them to smoothies or salads, make a sweet marinade and dressing, or pair with cheese and balsamic vinegar for a savory approach.
These colorful veggies are great for your immune system and are a vehicle for various meals. “Bell peppers are bursting with vitamin C. They provide over 150% percent of your daily value for vitamin C, which is definitely one of the most among all vegetables,” she says. Halve them and fill with avocado, cottage cheese, beans or legumes, diced chicken, or your favorite dips to then dunk more veggies and crackers into. Or simply use as the crudité themselves. You can also add to stir-fry and tacos, too.
“These mini cabbages contain 80% of the RDI for vitamin C and an excellent source of vitamin K,” she says, so they improve your immune system and protect your heart and bones. “Roast them, sauté them,” she says, and pair with your favorite ingredients, like garlic, almonds, or Parmesan. Vegan? Go with nutritional yeast. And you can also shave them and make a raw salad, too.
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