Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stay Healthy This Winter With Foods Rich in Vitamin C

**Note: Due to my busy schedule, I've had to change my updating schedule to once a week on Thursdays.**

Working up to 8 days in a row during December seemed like a recipe for illness, yet I managed to slip through all the germ-ridden, hacking, sneezing, sniffling populace unscathed. I'm pretty well convinced this is greatly in part due to the 2+ cups of tea I drink every day (tea is extremely high in antioxidants) and the 1000 I.U. vitamin D pill that I take every morning with breakfast, which has been found to fight influenza.

Two other crud-fighting supplements that we are advised to consume are vitamin C, another terrific antioxidant, and zinc, though I was told by a pharmacist not to take them both at the same time as they will cancel out each other's benefits. Predictably, zinc has a very metallic taste and aftertaste, and vitamin C is perhaps easier to incorporate into a whole foods diet, the most effective way to ingest vitamins and minerals, not through pills. The recommended daily allowance is 90 mg for adult men and 75 mg for adult women.

I took it as a sign when I came across The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden. It's an easy to follow guide to which foods are high in what, the best ways to prepare them to get the most nutrition value, and if they've been shown to fight or prevent certain diseases and conditions. I looked up vitamin C because the back cover implied oranges are not the best source, something that makes me happy considering I don't really like oranges. This, in turn, prompted this blog update. I thought I would share my findings here.

#1 Guava
One half cup of guava, a tropical fruit, provides 188 mg of vitamin C, over double the daily recommended levels for both men and women. Guava is often eaten cut up and raw with various toppings, like soy sauce and vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, or cayenne powder, or it may be mixed into smoothies or other drinks. 

#2 Red Bell Pepper
142 mg of vitamin C are contained in one half cup of raw red bell peppers, 116 mg when cooked. Bell peppers are also a good source of beta-carotene, which is good for the heart and eyes. I like red bell peppers because they are sweeter than yellow and green peppers, which I often find taste bitter. Red peppers are great sliced up and dipped in hummus, or put into stir fry. You could probably also put them into a smoothie, but I don't know how that would taste. Incidentally, green bell peppers have 60 mg of vitamin C.

#3 Kiwi
One medium-sized kiwi offers roughly 70 mg of vitamin C, and kiwis are great in smoothies. They're also delicious raw, if a bit juicy. When I was a kid, I much preferred kiwis in my packed lunches than apples! Chopped up kiwis make a nice topping for cakes, too, making a nice boost to your dessert.

#4 Orange Juice
Because a glass of orange juice generally includes the juice of more than one orange, it is a better source of vitamin C than the fruit itself. A 3/4 cup of orange juice contains 60 to 90 mg of vitamin C. A medium-sized orange has about 70 mg, the same as a kiwi. Grapefruit juice is another good source of vitamin C for the same reason. 

#5 Cooked Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts
Sick of all these fruits? Try broccoli. Seriously. A half cup of cooked broccoli not only gives you one serving of vegetable, but around 50 mg of vitamin C. Brussels sprouts offer the same. There are so many different ways of cooking vegetables! I like them with cheese, personally, but roasted in the oven is another phenomenal way to go. Shredded and sauteed is also a great route to take. 


  1. Awesome! These sound way more effective than the arugula-on-pizza approach. :-P

    (By the way, my mother also started taking vitamin D lately, and has been advocating them to all ears. Y'all should swap notes!)

    1. Arugula and red peppers on pizza would be good. Maybe a little goat cheese, feta, or ricotta...

      I think my mother mentioned taking vitamin D3 to me originally. Oh, mothers. :) Seriously, that stuff rocks. I started feeling loads better after just a week.