16 Foods High in Vitamin C

Dr. Group
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

Organic strawberries on a wooden board. Strawberries are an example of foods high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C is an important, naturally-occurring nutrient. From preventing cold and flu,[1] to rebuilding tissue, bones and blood vessels,[2] and boosting the body’s ability to synthesize calcium,[3] vitamin C is something we all need on a daily basis.

Studies have confirmed the need for vitamin C to support brain function,[4] heal from injuries,[5] and recover from illness.[6] A potent antioxidant for neutralizing free radicals, a diet lacking vitamin C may lead to health problems over time.[7] In fact, the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends that we all eat vitamin C foods on a daily basis; men need about 90 mg and women need 75 mg every day.[8]

The following foods are high in vitamin C and will super-charge your diet with a major serving of this essential nutrient.[9]

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1. Strawberries

One of the tastiest and healthiest berries on the planet, strawberries are extremely high in vitamin C. They’re also high in fiber and antioxidants, which are responsible for reducing oxidative stress and protecting the heart from bad cholesterol.[10, 11] Just one serving provides about half of your daily vitamin C needs.

2. Acerola Cherry

Acerola Cherries - Foods High in Vitamin C The acerola cherry (Malpighia punicifolia) is a small, red fruit but it’s packed with vitamin C! It contains about 65 times more vitamin C than an orange. Fresh, raw acerola cherries are available, but if they’re not in season, you can also buy them in powder form.

3. Citrus Fruits

Oranges, grapefruits, lemon and limes! Citrus fruits pop a powerful vitamin C punch. Enjoy one medium orange for a whopping 70 mg. A small glass of orange juice has up to 93 mg of vitamin C, and a small glass of grapefruit juice has up to 70 mg of vitamin C. Even though oranges are probably the most popular vitamin C food, they don’t have the highest amount.

4. Papayas

Papayas are another food high in vitamin C, with one serving providing 100% of your daily needs. Try throwing some in your next smoothie or yogurt. This bright fruit it also high in vitamin A.[12]

5. Black Currant

With its dark purple hue, it’s easy to imagine that this fruit would be high in vitamin C. Black currants hold around 180 mg per serving, as well as plenty of potassium, iron, vitamin B5, and phytochemicals.[13]

6. Kiwi

It may surprise you to learn that this small bright green fruit from New Zealand has more vitamin C than an orange! They are also high in flavonoids and have as much potassium as a banana.[14] Studies have shown that children who eat these vitamin C-rich fruits experience stronger respiratory tract than children who do not.[15]

7. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are another food high in vitamin C, as well as beta-carotene. These colorful veggies have been studied for cardioprotective benefits, and have also been shown to prevent cataracts, blood clots, and may even reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.[16] One-half cup of raw red pepper holds over 140 mg of vitamin C. All bell peppers are high in vitamin C, but yellow has the most and red peppers come in second.[17]

8. Guava

Guava - Vitamin C Foods

This exotic fruit is another great vitamin C food, with one guava containing over 250 mg. Over twice your daily needs! They are also rich in dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and manganese, making guavas one of the best superfoods to add to your diet.[18] Many supermarkets are now importing these fruits from the tropics, so they are easy to find.

9. Brussels Sprouts

While not everyone’s favorite food, Brussels sprouts have an excellent reputation as a source of vitamin C. One serving of cooked Brussels sprouts has almost 50 mg of vitamin C. Brussels sprouts are also high in vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, manganese, potassium, and dietary fiber.[19]

10. Melons

Many melons contain vitamin C. Just one cup of cantaloupe will provide you with approximately 67 mg of vitamin C, plus plenty of vitamin A and potassium. Additionally, watermelon is another great source of vitamin C, as one serving will give you 112% of your daily needs.[20]

11. Dark Leafy Greens

Kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, chard, and spinach (as well as most other leafy greens) are all great vitamin C foods to add to your diet. While they all provide different amounts of this essential nutrient, they are all very healthy for you. Kale is the best choice, as it may have up to 130 mg of vitamin C in one serving—that’s one full day’s requirement of vitamin C!

12. Amalaki Fruit

Amalaki Fruit - Vitamin C Foods An exotic fruit from India, this nutrient-dense superfood is one of the most important medicines in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia. The fruit is picked, dried, and used for its health-boosting properties. It holds one of the most concentrated supplies of vitamin C, so it’s no wonder it is valued for its immune-enhancing properties.

13. Broccoli

Whether you eat it raw or cooked, you can never go wrong with broccoli. One serving of this little green tree has over 90 mg of vitamin C. As an bonus, broccoli is also one of the best detox foods to add to your diet.

14. Cauliflower

While not as colorful as some of our other foods high in vitamin C, cauliflower holds its own. Just one cup of cauliflower will give you approximately 46 mg, not to mention plenty of vitamin K, folate, and dietary fiber.[21]

15. Tomatoes

Bright, red tomatoes are another common vitamin C food. Try using sun-dried tomatoes; they are particularly concentrated with this essential nutrient. Just one, 100-gram serving holds over 100 mg of vitamin C. This equals 170% of our daily needs.[22]

16. Select Herbs

Many fresh herbs such as cilantro, chives, thyme, basil, and parsley are high in vitamin C. Buy some fresh herbs and sprinkle on every meal. In fact, just one cup of fresh parsley has over 130 mg of vitamin C. Thyme comes in first, with 160 mg in one cup.[23]

There you have it, 16 delicious foods that are a great source of vitamin C. Do you have a favorite recipe that uses any of them? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

References (23)
  1. Gorton H.C., Jarvis K. "The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections." J Manipulative Physiol Ther. (1999): 530-533.
  2. Wei F., Qu C., Song T., et al. "Vitamin C treatment promotes mesenchymal stem cell sheet formation and tissue regeneration by elevating telomerase activity." J Cell Physiol. (2012): 3216-3224.
  3. Morton, D. J., Barrett-Connor, E. L. and Schneider, D. L. "Vitamin C Supplement Use and Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women." J Bone Miner Res. (2001): 135–140.
  4. Masaki K.H., Losonczy K.G., Izmirlian G., et al. "Association of vitamin E and C supplement use with cognitive function and dementia in elderly men." Neurology. (2000): 1265-1272.
  5. Mohammed B.M., Fisher B.J., Kraskauskas D., et al. "Vitamin C promotes wound healing through novel pleiotropic mechanisms." Int Wound J. (2016): 572-584.
  6. Lee J.Y., Choi H.Y., Yune T.Y. "Fluoxetine and vitamin C synergistically inhibits blood-spinal cord barrier disruption and improves functional recovery after spinal cord injury." Neuropharmacology. (2016): 78-87.
  7. Carr A.C., Frei B. "Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C based on antioxidant and health effects in humans." Am J Clin Nutr. (1999): 1086-1107.
  8. David Zieve, David R. Eltz. "Vitamin C." National Library of Medicine. 2011 August 30.
  9. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  10. Ajibade T.O., Oyagbemi A.A., Durotoye L.A., Omóbòwálé T.O., Asenuga E.R., Olayemi F.O. "Modulatory effects of melatonin and vitamin  C on oxidative stress-mediated haemolytic anaemia and associated cardiovascular dysfunctions in rats." J Complement Integr Med. (2017):
  11. Alvarez-suarez JM, Giampieri F, Tulipani S, et al. "One-month strawberry-rich anthocyanin supplementation ameliorates cardiovascular risk, oxidative stress markers and platelet activation in humans." J Nutr Biochem. (2014): 289-294.
  12. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  13. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  14. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  15. Ferrara P., Ianniello F., Bianchi V., et al. "Beneficial therapeutic effects of vitamin C on recurrent respiratory tract infections in children: preliminary data." Minerva Pediatr. (2016):
  16. Sharma, Rakesh, Vk Joshi, and M. Kaushal. "Effect of pre-treatments and drying methods on quality attributes of sweet bell-pepper (Capsicum annum) powder." Journal of Food Science and Technology (2014):
  17. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  18. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  19. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  20. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  21. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  22. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.
  23. United States Department of Agriculture. "National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release." Web. 02 March 2017.

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