Vitamin C can boost your immunity, act as an antioxidant in order to protect cells from free radical damage, lower your risk of developing cancer and even improve the absorption and production of other vitamins and minerals in the body. Oranges are typically associated with vitamin C, but they’re far from the only natural sources–and neither are they the best source for the vitamin. Any of the following fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C; just be aware that cooking, boiling, canning and freezing the fruits and vegetables may cause them to lose one quarter to two thirds of their vitamins.
The obvious choice when it comes to the best foods with vitamin C is oranges, which provide about 116% of your recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Eating the orange slices as is is the best source of the vitamin, but you can turn the oranges into juice or buy 100% orange juice as well. The more you cook the fruit–in other words, if you make marmalade or other orange desserts–the less vitamins are retained.
With almost twice the vitamin C content as oranges, papayas are one of the best sources of the vitamin available. Ingesting a papaya will give you 313% of your daily required dose of the vitamin. Again, the best way to ingest the papaya in order to get maximum vitamins is to eat it raw or drink 100% juice.
3. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are second only to papayas when it comes to natural sources of the vitamin. Cooking the red pepper makes it lose some of its vitamin content, but the vegetable is highly suitable as an ingredient in other dishes. You can give yourself an added boost of vitamin C by adding red pepper to salads and casseroles. However, if you eat the bell pepper raw, you can get more than 100% of your daily vitamin C intake.
Strawberries are actually higher in vitamin C than oranges, although the fruit is not often associated with the vitamin. Enjoying about a cup’s worth of the treat can give you about 50 mg of the vitamin, which can translate to 136% of your daily value. You can make or purchase 100% strawberry juice as well to get a similar amount of the vitamin. Although strawberries are delicious in many desserts, you may reduce the amount of the vitamin and/or make the strawberries less healthy when you cook them in sweet treats.
Another vegetable that’s high in vitamin C is broccoli, which you can even steam to enjoy as much as 205% of your daily C value. Broccoli tastes great on its own, but you can make it more appetizing by pairing it with a healthy vinegar and oil mixture. Or you can add the veggie into many of your dinner dishes for an easy way to add vitamin C to your meals.