What does it do?
Vitamin C can't be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day, it is an important anti-oxidant (1), improves iron absorption (2) and is involved in the metabolism (production) of protein (3,4). On top of that, it is needed for collagen creation which is vital for wound healing and connective tissue as well as maintaining immune function (5). So there’s no excuse not to get a daily dose of this crucial vitamin and the best sources to munch - fruits and veggies.
How much do I need?
Adults aged 19 to 64 need 40mg of vitamin C a day and you can easily get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet. Steaming and microwaving tend to limit the amount lost in the cooking process (6)
If not enough is eaten then scurvy can develop after intaking less than 10mg a day within a month (7,8,9).
Where do I get it?
Top sources of vitamin C - Mg per 100g of food (10)
Acerola, (west-indian cherry), raw 1,678
Guavas, common, raw 228
Blackcurrants raw 180
Kiwifruit, ZESPRI SunGold, raw 161
Peppers, hot chilli, green, raw 242
Peppers, sweet, yellow, raw 184
Peppers, sweet, green, sauteed 177
Peppers, sweet, red, boiled 171
Mustard spinach, (tendergreen), raw 130
Kale, raw 93
Broccoli, raw 93
Cauliflower, raw 88
Brussels sprouts, raw 85
Coriander leaf, dried 567
Thyme, fresh 160
Parsley, fresh 133
(1) Frei B, England L, Ames BN. Ascorbate is an outstanding antioxidant in human blood plasma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1989;86:6377-81.
(2) Gershoff SN. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): new roles, new requirements? Nutr Rev 1993;51:313-26.
(3) Li Y, Schellhorn HE. New developments and novel therapeutic perspectives for vitamin C. J Nutr 2007;137:2171-84.
(4) Carr AC, Frei B. Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C based on antioxidant and health effects in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:1086-107.
(5) Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G. Vitamin C function and status in chronic disease. Nutr Clin Care 2002;5:66-74.
(7) Weinstein M, Babyn P, Zlotkin S. An orange a day keeps the doctor away: scurvy in the year 2000. Pediatrics 2001;108:E55. [PubMed abstract]
(8) Wang AH, Still C. Old world meets modern: a case report of scurvy. Nutr Clin Pract 2007;22:445-8. [PubMed abstract]
(9) Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoidsexternal link disclaimer. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.