Foods High in Vitamin C

vitamin C food sources

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that it dissolves in water and is delivered to the body’s tissues but is not well stored, so it must be taken daily through food or supplements.

Vitamin C plays a role in controlling infections and healing wounds, and is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals. It is needed to make collagen, a fibrous protein in connective tissue that is weaved throughout various systems in the body: nervous, immune, bone, cartilage, blood, and others. The vitamin helps make several hormones and chemical messengers used in the brain and nerves.

Food sourced high in vitamin C

Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of this vitamin.

  • Citrus (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit)
  • Bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • White potatoes

Vitamin C can be destroyed by heat and light. High-heat cooking temperatures or prolonged cook times can break down the vitamin. Because it is water-soluble, the vitamin can also seep into cooking liquid and be lost if the liquids are not eaten. Quick heating methods or using as little water as possible when cooking, such as stir-frying or blanching, can preserve the vitamin. Foods at peak ripeness eaten raw contain the most vitamin C.