The human body requires vitamin C for various purposes. Known also as ascorbic acid, this nutrient is known to lower the risk of cancer and do a lot of other great benefits to the health. This article will discuss ascorbic acid as well as top vitamin C sources to help you with your health and diet.
Vitamin C as an Essential Nutrient
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that is essential for the body’s growth and development. When we say this vitamin is water-soluble, it means it dissolves in water and unused vitamin C can leave in the body and is excreted through the urinary tract. This only means that a continuous supply of vitamin C is needed to supply the body with the necessary nutrient for proper health.
The main function of ascorbic acid is repairing and supporting the growth of tissues in the body. It supports the growth of the skin, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. It can also help in healing wounds and repairing cartilage, teeth, and bones. Besides this, vitamin C is considered an antioxidant, too. It blocks damage caused by free radicals coming from the natural breaking down of foods and exposure to tobacco and radiation. In line with this, vitamin C as an antioxidant is known to prevent certain health conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin C
The body cannot make its own vitamin C and it also does not store the nutrient. With this, it is very important that we supply the body with plenty of vitamin C from food sources and even supplements, if necessary.
However, it is very important that we know the right dosage of vitamin C to take for the best health possible. This is true because deficiency and overdose can both cause health problems. For instance, vitamin C deficiency can offer problems such as bleeding gums, skin discoloration, poor wound healing, weak immune function, and respiratory infection. On the other hand, toxicity can offer diarrhea, increased levels of uric acid, and kidney stones. Check out the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C from the National Academy of Sciences to guide your everyday food intake:
Top Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Most foods, especially fruits and vegetables, contain vitamin C. However, some foods have concentrated amounts of the nutrient, which make them the best sources of vitamin C. Here is a list of the top 5 foods highest in ascorbic acid content:
- Red and green hot chili peppers. Peppers offer the most vitamin C among other foods, which made them on top of the list of foods rich in Vitamin C. You can get 242.5 mg of vitamin C or 404 percent of the RDA per 100 gram of serving.
- Guavas. Guavas have different varieties and most of the time, their vitamin C content depends on the variety. Some guavas can offer as much as 228 mg or 381 percent of the vitamin C RDA per serving of a hundred grams. A whole guava already contains 126 mg of vitamin C, which is equivalent to 209 percent of the RDA.
- Bell peppers. Sweet bell peppers are packed with a high amount of vitamin C. Yellow bell peppers have the most vitamin C as they contain 341 mg or 569 percent RDA per piece. Green peppers, on the other hand, have 132 mg or 220 percent RDA per pepper.
- Thyme and parsley. A 100 serving of thyme has 160 mg or 267 percent RDA of vitamin C. Parsley, on the other hand, have 133 mg or 222 percent RDA per 100 grams.
- Dark leafy vegetables. Leafy vegetables are good foods with vitamin C as well. Raw kale, for instance, contains 120 mg or 100 percent RDA per 100 grams, mustard greens have 70 mg or 117 percent RDA, and garden cress has 69 mg or 115 percent RDA.
Vitamin C from Plant Sources
All fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin C. Some of the best fruits and vegetables that are good sources of ascorbic acid include:
- wild potato
- Brussels sprouts
Vitamin C from Animal Sources
Most animals can synthesize their own vitamin C, which means that animal products can be good vitamin C foods as well. Here are the top animal products that contain good amounts of vitamin C:
- calf liver, raw (36 mg/100 g)
- beef liver, raw (31 mg/100 g)
- oysters, raw (30 mg/100 g)
- pork liver, raw (23 mg/ 100 g)
- lamb brain, boiled (17 mg?100 g)
- chicken liver, fried (13 mg/100 g)
- lamb liver, fried (12 mg/ 100 g)
- lamb heart, roasted (11 mg/100g)
- goat milk, fresh (2 mg/100 g)
- cow milk, fresh (2 mg/100 g)
The Offers of Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C can also be taken as a daily dietary supplement. It is available in various forms such as vitamin C powder, capsules, tablets, and caplets. However, experts recommend getting vitamin C from food sources instead of supplements like vitamin C tablets.
But, people who are prone to deficiency are often required to take supplements. This includes smokers, alcohol drinkers, and steroid users. People who eat limited variations of foods such as those following fad diets may also need supplementation. The same is true for people with medical conditions such as cancer and digestive issues. Infants who are fed with boiled cow’s milk or evaporated milk may also need vitamin C supplementation as the boiling process of the milk can destroy the milk’s vitamin C contents.
How do you get your daily’s vitamin C needs? Share your thoughts with us.