Vitamin C (also called “ascorbic acid”) is vital for a healthy immune system, and also plays a crucial role in the health of our musculoskeletal systems. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so your body does not store it. Your body relies upon your diet to obtain Vitamin C.
If someone asked you which foods your body could gather Vitamin C from, many people would respond with a list of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. Many people don’t realize that they can get Vitamin C from other (non-citrus) fruits, as well as vegetables. This information is especially vital for individuals with an allergy to citrus.
You may think Vitamin C is only essential in staving off colds and flu, but it plays other vital roles in your body. Sure, Vitamin C is an excellent way to strengthen your immune system, but it also an antioxidant. Vitamin C helps form the connective tissues in your body. It helps wounds heal quickly, and prevents your skin and tissue from bruising. Vitamin C also is essential for helping your body to properly absorb iron from the foods you eat.
Vitamin C may be taken synthetically by taking a Vitamin C supplement. However, it is so easy to get proper Vitamin C levels just through a healthy diet. There are many non-citrus sources of Vitamin C, so you are not relegated to eating endless amounts of oranges, and other citrus fruits.
Here are some of the top non-citrus fruit and vegetable sources of Vitamin C:
- Peppers – Yellow bell peppers, red bell peppers, and sweet green peppers are all excellent sources of Vitamin C. Add them to your salad, vegetable sauté, or just slice them and eat them as a snack.
- Guavas – This sweet, tropical fruit is said to have a higher concentration of Vitamin C than oranges. It is said that guava holds other health benefits, including assisting in weight loss because they are also high in fiber; boosting vision health because of its high Vitamin A content; thyroid health, brain health, high blood pressure, and much more.
- Dark Green Leafy Vegetables – Think of Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens, kale, and many other leafy green options. They are an excellent addition to any diet, for so many reasons. Their high Vitamin C content is just an added bonus!
- Kiwi (Green or Gold) – Kiwi is packed with Vitamin C, but also contains many other vital minerals and vitamins. The sweet green flesh of this tropical fruit also contains phytonutrients, which are essential to protect DNA within human cells. Kiwi is also a great source of dietary fiber.
- Broccoli (and other Brassica vegetables) – Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Green Cauliflower, Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, and Cabbage are all good sources of Vitamin C. Brassica vegetables are an excellent addition to your diet. Not only are they high in Vitamin C, but you will also not be able to find another vegetable group that is as high in folic acid, fiber, and Vitamin A.
- Berries – Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are all great options for their high levels of Vitamin C. Berries contain flavonoids that will help strengthen your memory. Berries can also help manage diabetes. It is said that berries may help prevent Parkinson’s disease. Berries may also improve heart health. Studies have also suggested that berries may help prevent certain cancers because of their high flavonoid content. Even when berries aren’t in season, you can purchase non-sweetened frozen berries and make yummy smoothies, packed with health benefits.
- Peas – Peas are a good source of Vitamin C. They are also rich in phytonutrients. Peas contain antioxidants and also have anti-inflammatory benefits. They have a strong protein and fiber content as well.
- Melon – Honeydew and Cantaloupe melons an also be incorporated into your diet, to increase your Vitamin C intake. Cantaloupe is also a great source of Vitamin A (carotenoids). Honeydew also contains potassium which helps your nerves, muscles, heart, and your blood vessels to function properly. Honeydew is rich in Vitamin B-6 which helps to regulate your mood, and helps create serotonin, which regulates your sleep. Honeydew is also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps move food through your digestive tract. Soluble fiber balances your blood sugar because it slows the absorption of carbohydrates.
There are many excellent, non-citrus, dietary sources of Vitamin C – so, don’t feel like you are stuck consuming mass quantities of oranges to keep your immune system and your body healthy. Change it up a bit! Try to incorporate some of these great non-citrus sources of Vitamin C into your healthy diet.