Vitamin C is a very important nutrient. Well known as a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C plays a critical role in the healthy growth and maintenance of your tissues and cells. Your body needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen and build connective tissues. Vitamin C also helps keep your bones strong and healthy and this includes your pearly whites. It also helps your body better absorb the iron that you take in from other foods you eat. Most importantly, the wellbeing of your immune system depends on vitamin C. 
The good news is, there is a wide variety of readily available and economically very accessible fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of this essential vitamin. The not-so-good news is that vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that it does not get stored in your body and you need to replenish it constantly. It is recommended that an average adult-like yourself get about 75 to 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day. [2, 3 ]
Usually, if you eat enough servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, your vitamin C intake should be sufficient. If you suspect that you might be experiencing a deficiency in vitamin C, look out for one or more of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding gums
- Frequent colds and flu
- Frequent bruising
- Poor wound healing
- Eye issues (ie. cataracts and macular degeneration) 
- Joint pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Tooth loss
- Weight loss
Fortunately, vitamin C is very widely available from many fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store. Below is a list of 20 very common foods that are very rich in vitamin C that you can start incorporating into your diet today. And yes, oranges and orange juice are not the only vitamin C-rich foods at your local grocery store.
1. Bell peppers (all colors)
Bell peppers are common kitchen staples because they keep well (up to a week in the fridge) and are very readily available all year round. And they are so easy to prepare, from stir-frying to roasting to adding in soups and stews or just enjoyed raw. One medium-sized pepper, regardless of their color, can offer up as much as 95 milligrams of vitamin C, not to mention a whole variety of other essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin B6. The different color offers different types of powerful antioxidants. So eat a variety of colors. 
Blackberries are probably often overlooked because of their more popular berries cousins such as blueberries and strawberries. Blackberries are actually very sweet especially when they are in season and can contain as much as 30 milligrams of vitamin C in a cup. They are just as easy to add to yogurt, cereal or smoothies like blueberries and strawberries.
One of Americans’ favorite vegetables, broccoli, is a vitamin C powerhouse. One cup of raw broccoli can almost provide you with a day’s worth of vitamin C. Although cooking can reduce the amount of vitamin C, broccoli is still a great source of vitamin C. Choose gentler cooking methods such as steaming to preserve as much of the vitamin C and other nutrient content as possible.
4. Brussel sprouts
Brussel sprouts have become quite popular recently in the food scene. Roasted Brussel sprouts are especially good eats. One cup of cooked Brussel sprouts can fulfill your daily vitamin C requirements.
Who knew that the good old affordable cabbage is an immune-boosting powerhouse? Cabbage is not just good enough for coleslaw, it is also great in stir-fries, soups and stews, and even casserole dishes. A head of cabbage can feed such a big crowd, providing each with about 30 milligrams of vitamin C per cup.
This is a delightfully sweet melon that provides about 60 milligrams of vitamin C per cup. What better way to cool off on a hot summer day than to enjoy a bowl of chilled sweet cantaloupe and boost your immune system at the same time?
This is probably the vegetable of the year. Cauliflower has recently become quite a gourmet ingredient in restaurants everywhere. Crunchy with a wonderful nutty undertone, cauliflower is as delicious as it can be especially when it is roasted. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C where one cup of raw cauliflower can serve up as much as 50 milligrams of vitamin C.
Cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving or your natural guard against urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries are also excellent sources of vitamin C that is essential for your immune system health. A cup of fresh cranberries can provide you with as much as a quarter of your daily required amount of vitamin C. Enjoying the flavor and health benefits of cranberries these days cannot be easier. There are dried cranberries (without added sugars) to munch on as a snack or add to salads for texture and flavor, or pure cranberry juice (without added sugars) to sip on as a refreshing summer drink. And of course, don’t forget to add another spoonful of cranberry sauce on your turkey at your next Thanksgiving meal.
Like a cousin to oranges, grapefruits are a great source of vitamin C. Do note that there are 2 major types of grapefruit – pink and ruby red. Pink grapefruit can be quite sour and a little bitter whereas ruby red ones tend to be sweeter. Half of a typical-sized grapefruit can provide you with as much as 45 milligrams of vitamin C and a whole lot of other essential nutrients and minerals. 
10. Honeydew melon
Similar to cantaloupes, the honeydew melon is also a great source of vitamin C. One cup can provide about 30 milligrams of vitamin C and a whole lot of other nutrients such as the B vitamins and vitamin K. Add some to your morning smoothie or just enjoy them as is.
The all amazing and wonderful kale. What is it not an excellent source of in terms of nutrients? One cup of chopped kale can provide you with as much as your daily required amount of vitamin C. Use and cook it like spinach. It can be used in salads as well as roasted to become crunchy kale chips. There are endless ways to enjoy this amazing healthy leafy green.
One small little kiwi can contain as much as 60 milligrams of vitamin C. Did you know that? This is such an easy fruit to add to your morning smoothie, skin on and all. Or just enjoy them as is in your yogurt and cereal. They are sweet although they can have a little tart undertone sometimes.
13. Lemon and limes
Similar to their citrus fruit cousins such as oranges and grapefruits, lemons and limes are also great sources of Vitamin C. For example, one lime can contain as much as 19 milligrams of vitamin C. A large lemon, on the other hand, can provide as much as three-quarters of your daily required vitamin C. I usually add a slice (skin on, yes) to my smoothie for a kick of tartness. Or substitute the sour component of your home-made salad dressing with some freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice.
14. Oranges and orange juice
Probably the most well-known source of vitamin C-rich foods. One 8-ounce glass of orange juice can contain up to 120 milligrams of vitamin C. Be sure to choose the whole fruit instead of store-bought processed orange juice especially those with added sugars. If your local grocery store offers freshly squeezed orange juice, that can be a great option as well. 
Parsley is such a great addition to any finished dish. Or you can even make it the main ingredient in a quick Pasta with Shrimp and Parsley dinner entrée. 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley can contain as much as 10 milligrams of vitamin C. It also contains high amounts of plant-based iron, which is more readily absorbed by your body compared to iron from animal-based food sources.
Super sweet and delicious, pineapples just remind you of summer, doesn’t it? Loaded with vitamin C, one cup of pineapple chunks can serve up about 80 milligrams of vitamin C, almost all of your daily requirements. They can be enjoyed fresh as is or you can use them in stir-fries too, especially with shrimp, for a sweet flavor instead of adding sugar.
These are not just a great source of potassium. Potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C as well. Potatoes also contain high amounts of other nutrients such as niacin and magnesium. And if you eat with their skin on, you are also taking in some great amounts of dietary fiber. Choose baked or boiled potatoes over deep-fried French fries to limit the amount of saturated fat that you consume while enjoying the health benefits of this popular vegetable.
Available all year round now, strawberries are so sweet that even kids love them. They are loaded with Vitamin C and one cup of strawberry slices can contain as much as a full day’s worth of vitamin C. Add them to your morning smoothie or yogurt or cereal for a great start to your day.
Usually used as a herb, fresh thyme may seem to not provide you with as much vitamin C as other fruits and vegetables. However, if you compare gram to gram, fresh thyme provides 3 times more vitamin C than oranges. To reap the nutritional benefits of fresh thyme, try to add them to most of your dishes and meals like a salt and pepper seasoning. Just a sprinkling can add about 3 to 7 milligrams of vitamin C to your diet.
Unlike most other vegetables, the amount of vitamin C and also lycopene in tomatoes are increased when they are cooked and their juices are concentrated. So try using more tomato sauce and tomato paste in your cooking. Or try tomato juice drink.
Vitamin C is such an essential vitamin with so many health benefits that we should make sure that we consume enough amounts of it each day. Plus, you can never have too much of this great nutrient since it is water-soluble and does not get retained in your body. So no worries there.
And as you can see, there are so many yummy fruits and vegetables for you to munch on every day to ensure you get enough vitamin C each day, not a tough mission at all right?
Are you wanting to load up on these high vitamin C-rich foods today? Then take a look at some of these easy and delicious recipes to get you started. I promise you will find a few recipes you’ll love! 🙂
Still not convinced of the importance of vitamin C, read more on the 10 Reasons Vitamin C is Good for You here.
Starting with a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables is the best place to increase your vitamin C. However, many other variables such as lifestyle may increase your need for more of this vital nutrient. A person’s absorption, stress, sleep, exercise, age, and genetics all play a huge factor in establishing ideal vitamin C levels. Wellness changes everything, so if you need additional help feel free to CONTACT ME.
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1. Vitamin C and Immune Function.
2. National Institute of Health. Vitamin C.
3. What is the Optimum Intake of Vitamin C in Humans?
4. Everyday Health. What is Macular Degeneration?
5. US Department of Agriculture. Bell Peppers.
6. US Department of Agriculture. Grapefruit.
7. USDA Food Data Central. Updated 4/1/2019. Orange Juice.