Foods High in Vitamin C

In spite of there being many foods high in vitamin C, a lot of people have trouble getting enough.  This article examines why ...

Vitamin CVitamin C or ascorbic acid is found in fruits and vegetables. This water-soluble vitamin is an anti-oxidant that helps heal free radical damage in the body. Other uses for vitamin C include forming connective tissue, maintaining the  health of connective tissue as well as bones, skin and blood vessels.

The body uses Vitamin C in a variety of ways, most unknown to many people. It has been shown to help:

  • repair tissue
  • protect the heart from disease
  • increase absorption of iron
  • lower cholesterol levels in the blood.

Vitamin C is readily available in many foods high in vitamin C with citrus fruits having the highest concentration of the essential vitamin. Other good foods high in vitamin C include apples, berries, broccoli, asparagus, melon, cabbage, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.

Daily Consumption

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adult males should consume 90 mg of vitamin C per day. Females require a bit less at 75 mg per day. Infants need more vitamin C than children due to the fast growth of the body during the first year of life. From birth to 6 months, 40 mg should be consumed per day with that amount increasing to 50 mg from seven to 12 months.

Children also need to consume vitamin C to maintain body health.

  • For children between one and three years of age, 15 mg a day is sufficient.
  • Between four and eight years old, that amount is raised to 25 mg a day.
  • By the ages of nine to 13, 45 mg of vitamin C should be part of the daily diet.
  • At the age of 14, the recommended daily intake (RDI) splits for males and females.
    • Females need 65 mg per day
    • males need 75 mg per day.

An unstable vitamin

best consume vitamin C rich foods raw

While Vitamin C is prevalent in many foods, the vitamin is quite unstable and can degrade quickly in foods high in vitamin C often through contact with oxygen. Cooking also degrades the quality of the vitamin. For this reason, it is best to consume vitamin C rich foods in their raw state as soon as they are exposed to the air. Skins on various fruits and vegetables protect the meat from oxidation and vitamin loss.

Processing foods or cooking foods rich in vitamin C is known to cause vitamin loss. C is not a stable vitamin when exposed to heat which is why many products will include ascorbic acid. The ascorbic acid is intended to replace the vitamin lost during processing and help to stop the oxidation process so the food or drink keeps its color.


Despite the prevalence of foods high in vitamin C, many people continue to have trouble meeting the goal of five fruits and vegetables a day. Vitamin C supplementation is common in the United States and other developed countries. Many multi-vitamins will include vitamin C up to the recommended daily intake.  One of the best sources we have found for a multiple supplement is Xtend Life's Total Balance. For a less-complete supplement you might also consider their Multi-Xtra line.

There are no known negative side effects when high doses of vitamin C are used. Some alternative therapists and doctors suggest taking 2,000 to 3,000 mg of vitamin C per day.

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