Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. Vitamin C is easily absorbed both in food and in pill form, and it can enhance the absorption of iron when both vitamins are consumed together.
Vitamin C is not stored in the body, so excess amounts that you may consume are excreted. Although overdose is not a concern, it is recommended to consume no more than the safe upper limit of 2,000 milligrams a day to avoid stomach upset and diarrhea. The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.
Vitamin C has been linked to several health benefits. This water-soluble vitamin is a potent antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s immune system. Studies have shown that vitamin C may help lower blood pressure in people with and without high blood pressure, which may reduce the risks of heart disease. Vitamin C may help reduce the risk of anemia for people with iron deficiency because it can help improve the absorption of iron from the diet.
Getting your daily dose of vitamin C is easy when you follow a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Below are top food sources of vitamin C*:
Food (mg) per serving (%) DV**
Red pepper, sweet, raw, ½ cup 95 158
Orange juice, ¾ cup 93 155
Orange, 1 medium 70 117
Grapefruit juice, ¾ cup 70 117
Kiwifruit, 1 medium 64 107
Green pepper, sweet, raw, ½ cup 60 100
Broccoli, cooked, ½ cup 51 85
Strawberries, fresh, sliced, ½ cup 49 82
Brussels sprouts, cooked, ½ cup 80 48
Grapefruit, ½ medium 65 39
Broccoli, raw, ½ cup 65 39
Tomato juice, ¾ cup 55 33
Cantaloupe, ½ cup 48 29
Cabbage, cooked, ½ cup 47 28
Cauliflower, raw, ½ cup 43 26
*( U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nutrient Data Laboratory)
**DV = Daily Value. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed DVs to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet.
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Recipe of the Week: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Paprika
1-½ pounds Brussels sprouts, ends tripped and outer leaves removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a large stainless steel bowl and toss well. Pour onto a baking sheet and place on center oven rack. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done.