Remember when your mother encouraged you to drink all your orange juice in the morning to get your vitamin C? Orange juice is just one of many delicious and healthy options that provide this vital nutrient, also known as ascorbate.
Your body needs vitamin C to repair tissues and to build healthy neurotransmitters in your brain. It is soluble in water, which means that it dissolves in water and travels throughout the body without being stored. Ascorbate is found in some of your favorite foods, especially fruits.
What Happens When You Have Vitamin C Deficiencies?
The deficiency of vitamin C can cause a disease called scurvy, which causes weakness, softening of organs, bleeding gums and internal bleeding. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal. In the past, sailors who spent long periods at sea often succumbed to scurvy, and no one knew why.
In the late 19th century in England, a doctor discovered that when sailors drank fresh lime juice, they did not get the dreaded scurvy. This is the origin of the British slang for sailors, limey. Over time, scientists discovered that it was the vitamins in lemon juice that kept the sailors healthy.
Fortunately, in more developed countries scurvy is almost non-existent as we have access to fresh and healthy food options that provide more than enough ascorbate. If you need a boost in your vitamin C levels, you can also receive it as a chewable supplement.
Are you and your family getting enough ascorbate in your diet? Doctors and nutritionists recommend at least 2,000 mg a day.
Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties, protecting against oxidative stress and maintaining a healthy immune system.
The benefits of vitamin C
There is a wealth of evidence that keeping your body fortified with ascorbate can help prevent illnesses like the common cold and flu. Other studies suggest that if you catch a cold or get sick, ascorbate can shorten the duration of the illness. These are good reasons to get the vitamin C you need every day.
You probably already know that fresh citrus fruits and juices are loaded with vitamins. How can you get enough ascorbate if you're on a low-acid diet or don't like citrus? There are other whole foods that you can enjoy.
Using nature to supplement with vitamin C
Not only are there some fruits that are rich in vitamins, but many vegetables are too. If you choose a colorful variety of fresh produce for your family's diet, they are likely to be packed with C and other nutrients. Try these fifteen nutritious food options to get your healthy dose of vitamin C.
There are many low-carb foods that are high in vitamin C, which can help you meet the 40 mg recommendation of this vitamin per day.
1. Citrus fruits
There is nothing like the acidic freshness of these tropical treasures. Since ancient times, cultures have enjoyed these delicious fruits in sweet and savory dishes or in juices for tasty drinks.
Most of these fruits have a thick skin and a juicy interior that is divided into sections. For example, lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges and their bittersweet relatives. You can get enough ascorbate in a single orange.
The scent of freshly picked strawberries could make anyone smile. These are conglomerate or grouped fruits with multiple external seeds. Some botanical references classify strawberries as vegetables. Whichever way you look at them, these delicious fruits are an ideal source of vitamins.
Strawberries are one of our favorite low-carb fruits, containing just 6.1g of carbohydrates per 100g. Enjoy it sliced with cream for a quick and easy dessert. It also contains 57 mg of vitamin C per 100 g.
3. Red peppers
Crispy and sweet red peppers add color and a delicious touch to salads and vegetarian dishes. Roasting them in the oven gives them a subtle nutty flavor that complements meats and other dishes. When baked, pureed, and mixed with other simple ingredients, red bell peppers make a soup that is nothing short of divine.
Did you know that this vegetable has more milligrams per serving of ascorbate than an orange? The peppers start out green and then turn yellow, orange, and finally a ripe red. While all the color stages are delicious and loaded with potassium and fiber, the red ones give you the most vitamins you need.
4. Sweet potatoes
The delicate flesh of sweet potatoes makes them perfect for roasting or baking. Enjoy them prepared as French fries or with stews. Sweet potatoes can be a delicious part of your family's diet and the best part is that they provide a good amount of nutrients.
Tomatoes are a culinary treasure that has been adored in world kitchens for generations. Can you imagine what your favorite salad, soup or sauce would be like without these tempting fruits?
Tomatoes can be as big as a soccer ball or as small as a grape, and they vary in color. They are incredibly versatile and offer a substantial amount of ascorbate and other vitamins per serving. Your doctor may limit your tomato consumption if you are sensitive to its acidity, but they are one of the most versatile fruits.
This is another exotic fruit that is rich in flavor and vitamins, including C. The popularity of these Chinese natives has spread all over the world, and you can generally find them year-round in your supermarket. Some people describe its taste as a mixture of strawberry and banana.
Their vivid green pulp is smooth and pleasantly acidic, making them an excellent choice for salads, desserts, or drinks. Kiwis are often paired with strawberries for an original touch of flavor. Enjoy them alongside the skin to add fiber and nutrition.
7. Cantaloupe melon
The distinctive aroma and flavor of this type of melon are instantly recognizable. People love cantaloupe for its lovely peach colored flesh that pairs well with other fruits and melons.
Eat cantaloupe in crescent slices or use cantaloupe balls to create a stunning fruit salad. It is a delicious accompaniment to a cake or cottage cheese. You can feel much better eating melon due to its generous ascorbate content.
Although kale has been a staple crop for years, it has seen a significant renaissance in the farm-to-table movement. This dark green leafy vegetable is a main ingredient in healthy juices and smoothies.
The spicy flavor of kale, the green hue is a welcome addition to salads. It is also one of the best ascorbic-rich vegetables out there.
At just 1.4g per 100g, try frying kale in olive oil for a great low carb alternative to heavy carb fries. Not only this, but you will get a good amount of vitamin C, kale contains around 110mg per 100g.
9. Chili peppers
The indigenous peoples of Mexico and South America burned their tongues with chili peppers long before scientists discovered their high nutritional value. The ancient Aztecs and Mayans either ate them whole or dried them, ground them into powder, and used them in dishes.
Vitamin A and beta-carotene in these root vegetables have long been known to be good for your vision. Did you know that they are also high in vitamin C? Crispy carrots are delicious raw or sliced in soups, stews, or baked with meat.
Have you read about the positive benefits of probiotics in fermented foods? Maybe you've been learning how easy it is to make and add to your family's diet. Many cultures take advantage of the benefits of sauerkraut, like the classic German sauerkraut.
Whether you buy it at a store or make it at home, crunchy sauerkraut will give you a powerful supply of ascorbate.
Vegetarian dishes just wouldn't be the same without this popular cruciferous. Your family might also start loving broccoli by adding it to soups, as a side, or as a topping for baked potato. Fiber, antioxidants, and ascorbate are great reasons to encourage kids to eat broccoli, as well as being a great source of vitamin C.
A popular dinner vegetable and a great source of fiber, broccoli also contains just 3.1 g of carbohydrates and 79 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. Try it fried with salt and minced garlic for a simple side dish.
Another tropical fruit that is low in acid and full of ascorbate. Multiple studies talk about the enzymes in papaya and how good they are for optimal digestive health. This sweet, creamy fruit has a nice hint of acidity that makes it a favorite for smoothies, fruit salads, and other desserts.
Did you know that your own rose garden is an essential source of ascorbate and antioxidants to fight disease? Rosehip is the fruit of the wild rose that enlarges after the flower fades. These can be made into a delicious tea or spicy ingredient when grown organically.
Who would have imagined that a culinary herb would be a major source of vitamin C? For centuries, thyme has been prized for its mild flavor that enhances so many dishes. It has also been used medicinally for colds and other respiratory problems.