Vitamin C is an essential part of a healthy diet. Bodies cannot make vitamin C or store it well, though, so humans need to get the daily recommended amount through foods. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C, but which one packs the biggest punch?
According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily dietary allowance of vitamin C for adults 19 years and older is 90 mg daily for men and 75 mg for women. Most people think of citruses, especially oranges, when it comes to vitamin C, but plenty of vegetables have high amounts of it too. That includes America’s favorite vegetable, broccoli, which has 51 mg per serving, and Brussels sprouts, which have 48 mg per serving.
Strawberries and kiwi actually have more vitamin C per serving than grapefruit, but oranges are far above all three with 70 mg per serving. However, oranges don’t actually lead the pack when it comes to vitamin C. That honor belongs to a food that you likely didn’t know was a fruit: red bell peppers.
While many chefs treat bell peppers like vegetables, they’re actually botanical fruits because they grow seeds. A 1/2 cup of raw red bell pepper has 95 mg of vitamin C, which is more than 100% of the necessary daily value. That means if you’re looking to get an immunity boost, all you need to do is snack on some red peppers and your favorite salsa or dip.
If you prefer sticking with oranges, opt for orange juice instead of the fruit itself — orange juice has 93 mg per serving compared to the 70 mg of straight oranges.
Foods with vitamin C are just one building block to a healthy diet. To maximize the vitamins and minerals that will keep you healthy and strong both in the short- and long-term, here are the top foods you should eat every day.