Vitamin C comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors, but the best sources of vitamin C are not the most common. Although the orange might be the best-known vitamin C food, it is not the most potent source of vitamin C. Healthy daily doses of this vital nutrient come from both fruits and vegetables, along with vitamin C supplements. Some of the best natural sources of vitamin C include the acerola cherry, mango, peach, strawberry, broccoli and tomoato.
The fruit offering the biggest shot of vitamin C is the little-known acerola cherry, also called the Barbados cherry, Puerto Rican cherry and West Indian cherry. The juice from this bitter red berry boasts 1,600 milligrams of vitamin C per 3.5 ounces (100 g). That’s more than 10 times the amount of vitamin C found in orange juice. A few additional fruit sources of vitamin C offer more than 100 milligrams per 3.5 ounces (100 g), including guava, lychee and mango. Other powerful vitamin C fruits include kiwi, peach, papaya, strawberry and cantaloupe.
The most potent vegetable sources of vitamin C come from the pepper family, with hot chili peppers topping the list at more than 240 milligrams of vitamin C per 3.5 ounces (100 g). Other potent vitamin C vegetables include red bell peppers, broccoli, green peppers, cabbages, tomatoes and Brussels sprouts. Veggie and tomato juices provide plenty of vitamin C also, but they tend to be high in sodium, so they are not the best choice for anyone watching their salt intake.
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is taken as a daily supplement by many people. Nutritionists and medical professionals, however, recommend healthy vitamin C foods as the most efficient way to consume vitamin C. It is recommended that adult males consume about 90 milligrams of vitamin C each day and that adult women consume about 75 milligrams daily. Vitamin C helps the body fight infection, has anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent gum disease, joint problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease and some chronic illnesses.