It’s that time of the year. The season when everyone around you joins the chorus of sneezes, sniffles, and coughs. You want to avoid catching the sniffles too, but are you doing everything in your power to stay healthy?
With all the over-the-counter remedies out there, some of the classics can get overlooked. And there’s a helpful vitamin you really don’t want to forget about. It’s one you’ve heard about time and time again, the leader of the vitamin pack – vitamin C.
But is vitamin C really all it’s cracked up to be? In a word …
The power of vitamin C
First starters, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin.
You see, all vitamins end up in one of two categories – water-soluble or fat-soluble. Now, water-soluble vitamins are easily absorbed into your body. But, if you consume more of a water-soluble vitamin than you need, what’s leftover will be excreted, instead of being stored for later use.
So, even though your body needs it all the time, it can’t actually hold onto it for too long. You must keep replenishing and replenishing in order to function properly. Because, unfortunately, you just aren’t able to make your own supply of vitamin C.
Luckily, it is a workhorse among vitamins. It works hard to support your body. For instance, vitamin C can help:
- Produce collagen
- Support carnitine production – aka turn fat into fuel
- Support your immune system
- Wound healing
- Iron absorption1
And it’s chock full of incredible antioxidant power.
Vitamin C – An antioxidant superhero
One of the greatest advantages to a nutrient’s antioxidant ability is that it can do a great deal of good when it comes to defending your body against free radical damage.
You see, free radical damage can wreak havoc on your body – and your appearance. Turns out, free radicals accelerate the visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.
Furthermore, free radicals might contribute to heart health issues.2 But this is where the vitamin most associated with citrus comes in. It helps so much with heart health issues – in fact, recent studies show vitamin C helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular concerns.3
Another benefit to consuming it is its ability to help slow down the hardening of your arteries.4 In fact, vitamin C might be a contributing factor to keeping your arteries flexible.
It’s good for your mood, too! The immune-boosting nutrient helps to supports healthy brain function. Why? Because you need it to help produce certain neurotransmitters like serotonin.5
What is serotonin exactly?
Well, it’s a chemical messenger passed between your nerve cells. It happens to be found mostly in your gastrointestinal tract, blood, and of course your central nervous system. Serotonin is considered a significant contributor to your feelings of happiness
Vitamin C can also help you:
- Reduce the duration of the common cold6
- Ease the symptoms of certain allergies7
- Boost your immune function8
- Maintain good oral hygiene and gum health9
So, if vitamin C can help your body with all that, the only question left is …
Where do you go to get your hands on some serious doses?
Of course, most folks assume they can just pick up an orange when they need a boost of vitamin C. And sure, you can do that.
But there are a lot of surprising sources of vitamin C out there (some with far more nutrients than an orange) – including vegetables. So, without further adieu …
Here are 10 vitamin C-rich foods:
To get more of this important vitamin into your diet, eat something from this list every day:
1. Avocado – This fruit is full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – the good fats your body needs. One cup of avocado gives you a whopping 14 ½ mg vitamin C. So, guac it up!
2. Chili peppers – Spice up your life with a half-cup of diced chili peppers. Not only will you feel the heat, you’ll feel the benefits of almost 108 mg of vitamin C.
3. Brussels sprouts – The average medium Brussels sprout has about 13 mg of vitamin C. That’s around 17 percent of your daily requirement. So, eat six brussels, and you’re good to go.
4. Broccoli – There’s nothing like the crunch of broccoli. And a cup of that crunch offers 101 mg of vitamin C. That’s over 100 percent of your daily vitamin C value.
5. Pineapple – Next time you get a hankering for something sweet, try a cup of delicious, juicy pineapple. You’ll be getting well over your daily dose of C with almost 79 mg (the Mayo Clinic recommends 65 – 90 mg a day).10
6. Sweet Potato – A sweet potato dusted with cinnamon is a delight. One large sweet potato yields 36 mg of vitamin C – that’s almost 50 percent of your suggested daily value.
7. Tomato – The tomato boasts about 25 mg vitamin C per cup. So add it to eggs, salads, or sauces as often as you like.
8. Kale – One cup of yummy raw kale has about 80 mg of vitamin C. So whether you saute it, or make a salad, you’re getting over 100 percent of the vitamin C you need for the day. Kale also contains a hefty dose several other essential vitamins and minerals, including beta carotene, magnesium, and calcium.
9. Papaya – One of the biggest surprise power players when it comes to vitamin C is papaya. Papaya contains a whopping 185 mg of vitamin C – that’s over 245 percent of your daily value. So grab it off your grocer’s shelf the next time you pass it. It’s delicious when perfectly ripe and served cold.
10. Strawberries – A single cup of strawberries has over 97 mg of vitamin C. That’s 130 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C value. Strawberries are also a good source of other essential vitamins, like folate, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
11. Kiwi – Knock out your need for C with two medium kiwis. Together, they offer about 141 mg of vitamin C – 188 percent of your daily value.
Vitamin C can do so much to help improve your health. It’s always best to try and get your vitamin C from natural food sources as often as you can.
So, eat as many leafy greens and other vegetables as you can, as often as you can. Fresh veggies are always best, and if you cook them, try to do so lightly. You don’t want to deplete too much of their nutritional value.
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