9 Foods High in Vitamin C for a Healthy Immune System


Foods that are high in vitamin C are generally fruits and vegetables. While these days vitamin C deficiency is incredibly rare, 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, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Symptoms of scurvy include anemia, gum disease, weakness and skin hemorrhages.

Read on for a list of vitamin C foods and how they can help support your health. Note that the FDA calculates its Daily Value (DV) percentages based on eating 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day.

1. Guava: 376.7 mg, 419% Daily Value (DV)

This bright tropical fruit is the top food high in ascorbic acid, offering 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-packed snack.

2. Red Bell Peppers: 190.3 mg, 211% DV

Bell peppers of all colors are excellent sources of vitamin C, but red contains the most, with 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.

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Red bell peppers also contain fiber and a bit of plant-based iron (also called non-heme iron).

3. Kiwifruit: 166.9 mg, 185% DV

Kiwifruit — kiwi for short — hails from New Zealand, and its sweet green flesh delivers 185 percent of the DV for vitamin C per cup (that’s about two whole fruits).

Kiwi is also a good source of fiber and provides some potassium and phosphorous. Cut your kiwi in half and use a spoon to scoop out the fruit from its own bowl.

4. Green Bell Pepper: 119.8 mg, 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 133 percent of the DV.

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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. Oranges: 95.8 mg, 106% DV

Orange you glad we finally got to oranges? While oranges and orange juice are the poster children for vitamin C, as you’ve read, they have much lower amounts than other fruits and vegetables. But 1 cup will still clock in at more than your daily needs: 106 percent of the DV for vitamin C.

Orange juice is often fortified with important nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D, making it a healthy part of your diet in moderation, as it still contains high sugar levels.

6. Pineapple: 78.9 mg, 88% DV

Pineapple, another tropical fruit, touts sweetness and high amounts of vitamin C: 88 percent of the DV per cup.

Pineapple can be cut into chunks, sliced into spears rings and offers a deliicous smoky-sweet taste when grilled.

7. Mango: 60.1 mg, 67% DV

Ripe mango is sweet, juicy and creamy, but it’s also one of the higher-sugar fruits, with 45 percent of the DV for sugar per 1-cup serving. That said, it offers many other nutrients, making it a healthy option.

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Per 1-cup serving, mango has 67 percent of the DV for vitamin C. It also has smaller amounts of potassium and vitamins A, E and K.

8. Tangerines: 52.1 mg, 58% DV

Orange’s little sister, the tangerine, is the perfect snack: The one-bite slices are juicy and sweet, and a 1-cup serving packs 58 percent of the DV for vitamin C.

Tangerines also provide some calcium, potassium and iron. Add sliced tangerines to yogurt or oatmeal for natural sweetness and fiber.

9. Blackberries: 30.2 mg, 34% DV

Per cup, blackberries contain just a bit less vitamin C than raspberries, with 34 percent of your DV. Top your favorite cereal, yogurt or oatmeal with these antioxidant-rich berries that also provide nearly 8 grams of fiber per serving.