The vitamin C or ascorbic acid It is one of the most popular nutrients that we quickly associate with good health, in part because of the widespread myth that it prevents colds. Beyond False Beliefs, Vitamin C Doesn’t Work Magic But It Does plays a fundamental role in health and we need to ingest it daily. Luckily, reaching the recommended amounts is very easy through diet, and you don’t even need to resort to orange juice.
Citrus fruits are very healthy and rich in vitamin C, but we must end once and for all the false idea that they are the best source of this micronutrient. Below we review some of the foods richest in vitamin C that we can incorporate into our diet, with recipe ideas to give much more variety and flavor to our daily menus.
Three keys to decipher the labeling of any food
Why is vitamin C important and how much do we need?
Children who were fascinated by pirate adventures learned what scurvy was and why it is so important to eat fruit every day. It certainly marked me and I never forgot that the body needs vitamin C to have good health, although I had to grow a little to know that preventing colds has more of a myth than reality – it does seem to help reduce the duration and symptoms.
Ascorbic acid, however, fulfills several essential functions in the body. It is involved in metabolic processes, is a powerful antioxidant and can help the defenses. EFSA recognizes two healthy claims among its properties: contributes to the protection of cells against oxidative damage and participates in the formation of collagen for the skin, so it also helps maintain joints, bone density, and also facilitates healing.
And how much vitamin C do we need to eat per day? Always referring to the healthy adult population, an average of 80 mg per day is established. In Spain, the CDRs are established in 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men, being somewhat higher for the EFSA, which sets them at 95 and 110, respectively. Pregnant women would need, in any case, a somewhat higher consumption, just like smokers.
The good news is that do not go crazy doing calculations to reach those figures. According to data from the National Diet Intake Survey (ENIDE), in Spain we far exceed the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, even multiplying the values in some age groups and sex, and it seems to increase with age.
That is, the only secret is the same as always: follow a varied and balanced diet in which fresh and seasonal vegetable products abound. With a normal consumption of fruits and vegetables we will have more than covered our needs for vitamin C, without having to resort to supplements or be overwhelmed because the juice oxidizes and “loses vitamins” -which is not true-.
Because also, if we are not very fond of citrus, nothing happens; there are many other foods that even exceed the vitamin C content of oranges and tangerines.
The top 13 foods rich in vitamin C, with recipes included
It seems that the kakadu It is the richest known fruit in ascorbic acid, with nothing more and nothing less than 5,000 mg of this nutrient per 100 grams of weight. Nor do they detract from the more than 2 000 mg it contains the camu-camu, fashionable in supplement form little more than useless. But since they are fruits practically impossible to find in Europe In its natural state, it seems absurd to recommend its consumption to ingest our daily dose of vitamin C.
Following the data provided by the Spanish Food Composition Database (BEDCA), we can establish a top 13 products rich in vitamin C of the most varied to give a lot of color and flavor to our dishes.
With 273 mg of vitamin C per 100 g weight, this tropical fruit has long been easy to find among the exotic products of greengrocers and supermarkets, which is also being grown in Spain. In addition, it is also marketed in the form of jam, compote or in syrup, in which case it is still a good source of vitamins.
We can consume it straight raw in a fruit salad or fruit salad both winter and summer, include it in breakfast oatmeal, muesli or chia pudding, prepare smoothies and juices or encourage us to cook specific recipes with it.
2. Chili, chilli or hot pepper
The vitamin C ratio of these little peppers varies by variety, its color and level of spiciness. The red chili provides 225 mg, the hot chilli 143.7 and the green chili 120, all more than respectable amounts. There are some that are very slightly spicy and are therefore a complement of flavor and nutrients for all kinds of dishes.
The ideal is don’t overcook them In order not to lose properties, adding them raw, well chopped or sliced, although we can also sauté them and stew them in sauces and other dishes.
3. Fresh parsley and other aromatic herbs
The so versatile and sometimes undervalued fresh parsley is a surprisingly great source of vitamin C, with 190 mg, yes, for every 100 g of weight. Nobody takes so much parsley at once, but it is not necessary to do so to benefit from its properties. Basil, with 61.2 mg, and chives, with 60, also stand out for their content in this vitamin.
It is important do not cook or char them -typical mistake when adding it to pizzas before putting them in the oven-, also to maintain their flavor and aroma. With them we can season all kinds of dishes with more Mediterranean flavors – pasta, salads, omelettes, scrambled eggs, rice dishes, soups – even recipes with a more Asian or exotic flavor.
4. Black currant
An exquisite berry with which many preserves are prepared in Europe, especially jams, jellies and also juices, difficult to find but worth trying if we see it fresh when it is in season. It contains 159,567 mg of vitamin C and a delicious taste.
We can incorporate it into same recipes in which we use other fruits of the forest or red fruits, especially as a substitute for blueberries and blackberries.
5. Sweet red pepper
The red pepper, either in its elongated or bell pepper version, the typical large ones for roasting, contains 152 mg of vitamin C consumed raw, 88.43 when we fry it and 81 if it is canned.
I really like to add raw red pepper to salads, sandwiches and sandwiches, or take it as crudités for dipping hummus and other spreads, with their refreshing, crunchy flavor. Of course, asado is also a delicacy and combines with a thousand other ingredients, without forgetting so many pistos, stir-fries and sauces from our recipe book that incorporate the pepper in all its varieties. Sorry, Shin Chan.
My beloved broccoli is one of the richest vegetables in vitamin C that we can consume, with 110 mg raw. Here we have to emphasize the importance of cook it al dente, just enough and necessary, to avoid excessive loss of nutrients and enjoy all its flavor and texture in its splendor.
What’s more can be consumed raw if we crush it to facilitate chewing, like preparing a fake couscous in which it will just be necessary to sauté it a little. Let’s not forget the tasty, tender and nutritious trunk or stem, which hides inside a soft meat that we usually eat at home as is.
7. Brussels sprouts
We must vindicate more the maligned Brussels sprouts, than with 110 mg of vitamin C They are another great source of this nutrient, in addition to having other virtues. Again, to savor them as they deserve, you have to avoid past cooking, and preferably avoid cabbages overcooked in water.
Mustard seeds concentrate 75 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of product, a contribution to take into account despite the fact that we usually consume them in small and processed doses. That is why it is convenient choose a good quality mustard that has little other added ingredients, fleeing from ultra-processed products with added sugars.
I recommend using yellow or black mustard like any other spice or seed at home, mixing it, for example, with cumin or coriander beans. It can be eaten whole or mashed, or we can dare to make our own homemade mustard sauce.
Another tropical fruit already more established in our gastronomy and also cultivated in our country. Papaya, in addition to being known for its digestive properties, contains 64 mg of vitamin C consumed raw, without the skin.
I like a lot take it raw with a little lemon or lime juice and a pinch of pepper, but the truth is that it is also a delight in salads and fresh seafood dishes. And, of course, it is a great ingredient for making homemade sweets.
10. Kale or kale and other cabbages
The BEDCA specifies that kale has more vitamin C than smooth varieties, with 62 mg for every 100 g of raw vegetables. It is followed by red cabbage, with 55, and cabbage, with 49. These vegetables also tend to be wasted when overcooked, and although I really like a good red cabbage cream, I enjoy them more raw or roasted to perfection.
For raw cabbages to be softer and less fibrous on the palate, all you have to do is season and massage them a while before consuming them. Another option is to blanch them or sauté them briefly so that they maintain their firm texture, beautiful color and nutrients.
Watercress is a bit forgotten in the repertoire of green leaves used for salads, and it is worth claiming them in the kitchen. In addition to being healthy, with 60 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, they are delicious eaten fresh and well seasoned.
They are very soft and with a light texture and easy to eat, and thanks to their small size we can easily incorporate them into tortillas, scrambled eggs, salads or soups and creams both hot and cold.
This peculiar fruit with a similar appearance to the strawberry tree is already known to us because it does not fail in kitchen restaurants …