When you think of Vitamin C, you may think of oranges, but there are plenty of other foods rich in this vitamin, and they are foods you are probably already eating! Vitamin C is especially plentiful in citrus fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient the body needs but can’t make alone, so you need to get it from food. But what does this vitamin do for your body? Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, lets the body maintain connective tissue like bones and skin, and acts as a powerful antioxidant.
To have a more varied diet and pack the ultimate Vitamin C punch, fill up on these 12 Vitamin C superfoods.
One medium peach provides around 138 mg of vitamin C, which is surprising for most who believe that oranges are the best vitamin C source. Peaches can be eaten as a whole or added to salads, oatmeal, or pancakes for that sweet summer flavor; they can also be used to make salsas for fish and chicken.
Two pint-sized kiwis pack nearly 130 mg of vitamin C. Research has also proven that this fuzzy fruit can help you fall asleep quicker and improve overall sleep quality due to its high serotonin levels. You can have kiwis by themselves or add them to fruit bowls or salads.
Guava is a tasty tropical fruit packed with vitamin C that serves over 200% of the recommended daily intake. It provides around 125 mg per fruit! Many people have yet to try guava before, so if you haven’t tried it yourself, know that it is a ripe fruit found in different tropical desserts with a flowery fragrance that tastes good by itself.
Mango is a sweet, succulent fruit containing 122 mg of vitamin C. Mangoes are also a rich source of zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that helps your eyesight by filtering out blue light rays, which can lead to macular degeneration. Mangos are an excellent addition to smoothies and fruit bowls, or you can eat them alone!
As a tropical fruit, papaya is packed with vitamin C, which provides 95mg per fruit. Papayas are also packed with chymopapain and papain, which are enzymes that help reduce inflammation. Papaya is highly recommended to strengthen the immune system and to act as a GI protector. You can have papaya by itself, in smoothies, or desserts like icecreams.
Strawberries are small fruits with a pig punch! They pack 85mg of vitamin C per cup. These berries are also rich in manganese, which regulates blood sugar levels. If you decide to add these fruit to your diet, opt for organic or frozen ones, as conventional strawberries are found to be one of the most pesticide-loaded items.
It may be surprising, but these mini tree-like veggies are loaded with nutrients. A cup of chopped raw broccoli has around 81mg of vitamin C and even more vitamin K, vital for proper blood clotting and bone health. Broccoli is an excellent addition to stir-fries and summer cookouts.
Kale is a green leafy vegetable that offers around 80.4 mg of vitamin C and more vitamins A and B6, which all help maintain our retinas’ health and promote proper teeth and bone development. Kale is a superfood with countless health benefits and can be eaten cooked or raw.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit that provides around 79mg of vitamin C per cup. Unlike other fruits, pineapple contains significant amounts of bromelain, an enzyme that helps aid protein digestion. Besides being essential for piña coladas, you can enjoy pineapple by itself or in fruit bowls or smoothies.
All bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, and green) contain more vitamin C than oranges, ranging from 95mg in green bell peppers to 340 mg in yellow bell peppers. Bell peppers contain 40–45 calories per cup, making them the perfect snack for people trying to balance their daily calorie intake.
Cauliflower is a versatile veggie that packs a potent vitamin C punch—about 280 mg per serving! Besides vitamin C, cauliflowers are cholesterol-free, fat-free, and low in sodium, which makes them a great side dish and a versatile swap for plates of pasta or soups.
A cup of tomato juice has around 170 mg of vitamin C, 15% of the required daily potassium, and 21% of the required daily vitamin A, all for only 40 calories! You can drink a glass of tomato juice to start the morning or to accompany food. Making tomato juice at home is recommended, but get a low-sodium option if you want to buy some at the store.
This originally appeared on Planet Natural.
Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.