When we think of sources of vitamin C, oranges and other citrus fruits automatically come to mind. With around 130-160% daily value per cup, they are indeed good sources of the immunity boosting vitamin. However, there are many lesser-known sources packed with vitamin C, some containing a great deal more of the powerful vitamin than we may think.
Recommended Daily Amount
The recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 60mg. However, this number changes depending on stage of life, diet, and what your body is exposed to. Many factors must be considered when evaluating the amount your body needs on a daily basis. The recommended daily amount should be seen as just that, a recommendation.
The National Institutes of Health provides a chart on its website for recommended amounts according to stage of life. Adult men are recommended 90mg of vitamin C and adult women 75mg. Male teens (14-18 years) are recommended 75mg and 65mg for female teens (14-18 years). The smallest recommendation is for children (1-3 years) with 15mg and the largest is for breastfeeding women with 120mg.
Smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke are advised to add 35mg to their recommended amount. Their bodies are experience higher amounts of oxidation and free radicals, therefore requiring more antioxidants.
Vitamin C deficiencies can lead to scurvy, a painful and disfiguring condition. In the developed world this is extremely rare. In general, overdoses far exceed deficiencies. Ingesting more than 2,000mg is considered overdose and may result in adverse.
All of the following daily value percentages are with a 1-cup, raw serving of the fruit or vegetable. Depending on how they are prepared, their nutritional value will change.*
11.) Cauliflower, 94% DV
One cup of the white blooming vegetable has nearly a day's worth of the vitamin.
10.) Parsley, 133% DV
The distinct herb is also a great source of vitamin K, with 2 tablespoons providing around 150% of the daily recommended value.
9.) Kale, 134% DV
The dark green vegetable has gained significant attention in recent years for its nutritional value. A cup of raw kale has around 206% daily value of vitamin A.
8.) Broccoli, 135% DV
High in fiber, broccoli is great for maintaining digestive health.
7.) Papaya, 144% DV
Papayas are native to Central America, from there they have gain in popularity and are now cultivated in other tropical regions.
6.) Strawberries, 149% DV
Strawberries are members of the rose family. They are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside.
5.) Sun Dried Tomatoes, 187% DV
Sun dried tomatoes are also a good source of dietary fiber.
4.) Green Bell Pepper, 200% DV
Being that they have seeds and come from a flowering plant, peppers are technically a fruit.
3) Kiwi, 273% DV
One cup of the fuzzy fruit from China has well over 2X the daily value.
2.) Red Bell Pepper, 317% DV
Over three times the daily recommended amount for vitamin C, red bell peppers are also a great source of vitamin A, with a cup of the raw red vegetable packing 93% of the recommended daily value.
1.) Yellow Bell Pepper, 569% DV
One cup of yellow bell peppers contains just about 6X the daily recommended amount. Around 3.5X the amount of vitamin C than that of an orange.
*Cooking changes chemistry
Cooking these fruits or vegetables changes their nutritional values. For example, bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers, have robust amounts of vitamin C when raw, but when you sauté a cup of the vegetable, the daily value of vitamin C drops from 317% to around 76%.
Water-soluble vs. Fat-soluble
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning it can dissolve in water. Most others are fat-soluble which means the body absorbs them in fats and oils. For example, taking a fat-soluble vitamin supplement on an empty stomach will result in the body simply passing it through without absorbing it. Knowing whether a vitamin is water-soluble or fat-soluble is especially important if you are experiencing any sort of deficiency.