Perhaps most famous for its antioxidant properties, vitamin C — also called ascorbic acid — is a water-soluble vitamin that supports immune health, helps produce collagen and helps the body absorb iron, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Vitamin C deficiency is rare these days, but in the 18th century when sailors embarked on months-long overseas journeys without access to fresh fruits and vegetables, they often developed scurvy, a disease that occurs from severe lack of vitamin C, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Symptoms of scurvy include anemia, gum disease, weakness and skin hemorrhages.
Check out the vitamin C foods list below. Note that the FDA calculates its Daily Value (DV) percentages based on eating 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day.
1. Guava: 419% Daily Value (DV)
This bright tropical fruit is the top food high in ascorbic acid, offering 376.7 mg or 419 percent (!) of the DV as well as 9 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per 1-cup serving. Blend it into your favorite smoothie for a refreshing, hydrating and vitamin C-rich snack.
2. Red Bell Peppers: 211% DV
Bell peppers of all colors are excellent sources of vitamin C, but red contains the most, with 190.3 mg or 211 percent of the DV per 1 cup raw. Red bell peppers also contain much higher levels of beta-carotene (that’s why they’re red!) than their green and yellow sisters.
This vitamin C vegetable also contains fiber and a bit of plant-based iron (also called non-heme iron).
3. Kiwi: 185% DV
Kiwifruit hails from New Zealand, and its sweet green flesh delivers 166.9 mg or 185 percent of the DV for vitamin C per cup (that’s about two whole fruits).
4. Green Bell Pepper: 133% DV
While green bell peppers don’t contain quite as much vitamin C as red bell peppers, just 1 cup will get you well over your daily needs with 119.8 mg or 133 percent of the DV.
And like their red sister, green bell peppers provide some iron and fiber, making them a nutritious add-in to salads and stir-fries.
5. Broccoli: 112% DV
A 1-cup serving of cooked broccoli contains 101.2 mg or 112 percent of the DV for vitamin C, 5 grams of fiber and nearly 4 grams of protein.
Broccoli is also an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamin K. That means cooking the vegetable in a bit of butter tastes great and helps your body absorb the vitamin K.
6. Strawberries: 108% DV
Yes, strawberries (the only fruit to wear its seeds on the outside, by the way) rank higher than oranges in the vitamin C department. (But don’t worry, we’ll get to oranges soon.)
A 1-cup serving of this summer favorite delivers 97.6 mg or 108 percent of the DV for vitamin C and 3 grams of fiber. Try them in these delicious strawberry breakfast recipes.