Vitamin C: 20 fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin present in large quantities in the body. This one does not know how to synthesize it, nor store it, it is essential to bring enough of it on a daily basis to stay in good health. Vitamin C, best known for its antioxidant power, has many roles in the body.

Characteristics of vitamin C:

  • Named ascorbic acid
  • Found in fruits and vegetables
  • Helps fight against oxidation and strengthen the immune system
  • Acts in synergy with vitamin E, selenium and zinc
  • promotes iron absorption

Why eat foods rich in vitamin C?

Vitamin C: roles and benefits in the body


Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant power. Combined with other antioxidant molecules such as vitamin E, selenium or zinc, it neutralizes excess free radicals in the body. Ascorbic acid therefore protects against oxidative stress and premature cell ageing. This antioxidant action is also involved in the protection of the body against certain pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases or neurodegenerative pathologies.

Brain function

Vitamin C allows the production of neurotransmitters in the brain: dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenaline, etc. It is therefore essential for the proper functioning of the brain. In addition, its ability to fight against oxidation could be useful in curbing the occurrence of neurodegenerative pathologies (Alzheimer’s for example).

Immune system

The concentration of vitamin C is particularly important in the cells providing the body’s immune defences. Indeed, it participates in the production and renewal of white blood cells and thus allows the body to defend itself against internal and external pathogens.

20 fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Food                                                                                        Servings (mg)
Guava 125 ml (1/2 cup) 199mg
Red pepper, raw or cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 101-166mg
Green pepper, raw or cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 54-132mg
Papaya ½ papaya (150 g) 94mg
Kiwi 1 medium fruit (75g) 71mg
Orange 1 medium fruit 70mg
Orange juice 125 ml (1/2 cup) 43-66mg
Mango 1 medium fruit (200 g) 57mg
Broccoli, raw or cooked 125 ml (1/2 cup) 42-54mg
Brussels sprouts cooked 4 cabbages (85g) 52mg
Strawberries 125 ml (1/2 cup) 52mg
Pink or white grapefruit juice 125 ml (1/2 cup) 36-50mg
Cooked kohlrabi 125 ml (1/2 cup) 47mg
Pink or white grapefruit ½ grapefruit 42mg
vegetable juice 125 ml (1/2 cup) 35mg
Pineapple 125 ml (1/2 cup) 34mg
Cantaloupe 125 ml (1/2 cup) 31mg
carambola 1 medium fruit (90 g) 31mg
raw green peas 125 ml (1/2 cup) 31mg
cooked cauliflower 125 ml (1/2 cup) 29mg


How to properly use vitamin C?

Use of vitamin C

Daily requirements of natural vitamin C

Recommended Dietary Intake (ANC)                                           
Babies 0-6 months                                  40mg*
Babies 7-12 months 50mg*
Babies 1-3 years old 60mg
Children 4-8 years old 75-90mg
Boys 9-13 years old 100mg
Girls 9-13 years old 100mg
Boys 14-18 years old 110mg
Girls 14-18 years old 110mg
Men 19-70 years old 110mg
Women 19-70 years old 110mg
Men 70+ 110mg
Women 70 and over 120mg
Pregnant women 120mg
Nursing women 130mg

In smokers, vitamin C needs are increased, it should be at least 130 mg per day.

Food supplements based on ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid is found in many dietary supplements. most of these supplements contain 1000 mg of vitamin C. They are often recommended for their antioxidant role and to stimulate the immune system. The dosage of 1000 mg is to be respected because beyond that there is a risk of overdose. In any case, seek the advice of a doctor.

Adverse effects of ascorbic acid

Consequences of vitamin C deficiency

True vitamin C deficiency is responsible for scurvy. It is extremely rare these days in developed countries but can induce edema and bleeding that can cause death if it is not treated quickly. Vitamin C deficiency is much more common and can lead to fatigue, general asthenia, a tendency to fall ill easily or loss of appetite. 

Consequences of a dose of vitamin C greater than 1000 mg

The maximum recommended intake of vitamin C is 1000 mg in addition to the recommended intakes, ie 1100 mg in healthy adults. Beyond this dose, vitamin C can promote the formation of kidney stones from oxalates, hemochromatosis or the occurrence of digestive disorders (diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc.).

Interactions with other nutrients

The presence of foods rich in vitamin C during a meal increases the assimilation of the iron contained in this same meal. It is interesting to combine sources of vitamin C and iron.

Vitamin C acts in synergy with vitamin E, selenium and zinc and helps fight against oxidation in the body.

Chemical properties

The molecular formula of vitamin C is C6H8O6, its molar mass is 176.1241 g/mol. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is extremely sensitive to heat and light, hence its great fragility in the kitchen. In the body it is found in the form of ascorbic acid or ascorbates of sodium or calcium. Ascorbic acid is a reducing diacid with high antioxidant potential.

Vitamin C is a very active enzyme co-factor involved in numerous metabolic reactions: hydroxylation, carnitine synthesis, collagen synthesis, etc.


Nutrient history

The name ascorbic acid comes from the Greek and means “anti-scurvy”, scurvy being a disease linked to a vitamin C deficiency and whose symptoms have been known since the 13th century. It wasn’t until the 1700s that scientists realized lemon’s ability to cure disease. In the 1930s, vitamin C was first synthesized by WN Haworth, who received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pivotal discovery. Since then, the roles of vitamin C in the body continue to be the subject of interesting scientific discoveries.

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