Vitamin C rich foods, like oranges, and over-the-counter supplements comprised primarily of the vitamin have long been a popular home remedy for the common cold. But Vitamin C provides us with countless other benefits, too.
Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is crucial part of maintaining a healthy body. Its role is primarily protective. It helps to produce strong skin, gums, joints, eyes, nerves, and blood vessels, and to regenerate tissues when injured. Vitamin C is so important that many animals are able to produce it in their own bodies.
A Vitamin C deficiency can make it harder for our bodies to heal from injury or fight off disease and infection. Severe Vitamin C deficiency can result in a condition called scurvy, which results in bleeding gums, sores, and discolored skin. Though this condition is now rare in North America, it was once quite common among sailors and anyone else whose diet didn’t contain an adequate supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Many health conditions can deplete the amount of Vitamin C absorbed by our bodies. Those suffering from cardiovascular disease, joint pain, cancer, eye problems, thyroid conditions, liver disease, or lung infections may benefit from a Vitamin C boost. In addition, most people need to increase their Vitamin C intake as they age.
Most people automatically think of citrus fruits as the best source of Vitamin C. And while oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are all excellent sources, there are many often overlooked other foods that contain high levels of Vitamin C. These include:
Berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries.
Tropical fruits: Papaya, mangoes, bananas, pineapples, kiwi.
Melons: Cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon.
Greens: Lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens.
Brassica vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts.
Herbs: Fennel, peppermint, parsley.
Other fruits and vegetables: Bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, zucchini, celery, asparagus, tomatoes.