It’s autumn in my part of the world, which means cold and flu germs are starting to lurk around every corner.
One of the best ways to ward off those nasty visitors (or at least help your body cope better with the onslaught) is good old vitamin C. There’s a reason, after all, why Mother Nature is offering oranges as winter fruit – they’re packed with immune-boosting vitamin C.
But what if you’re not mad about oranges? I have nothing against them (in fact I love their happy bright colour and fresh citrus scent), but they tend to give me heartburn and call me fussy but they can be rather messy to eat too.
So, I was very happy to discover a few years ago that there are quite a few fruits that beat oranges when it comes to vitamin C. And many of them happen to be my favourites! (Of course, there are some vitamin C-rich veggies too, but that’s a post for another day.)
Why do I need vitamin C?
Before I list my fruity vitamin C heroes, let me tell you why your body actually always craves vitamin C: it’s because it’s a water-soluble vitamin and your body is unable to store any of it.
As you eat vitamin C-rich food, your body absorbs as much of the vitamin as it can, but the rest is wasted – it’s simply flushed out of your body.
Vitamin C not only helps to protect you against infections and colds, it also assists in wound healing and is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your body from cell damage that could contribute to the development of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
How do I know if I need more vitamin C?
According to the experts, you are more likely to suffer from a vitamin C deficit if you smoke, are exposed to pollution, drink caffeine or under stress. That pretty much covers all of us! If you are not at least exposed to some form of pollution or stress, you must be dead…
Furthermore, if you bruise easily, lack energy, have gums that bleed easily and have regular nosebleeds, your body could be trying to tell you that you seriously need to increase your vitamin C intake – these could all be early symptoms of scurvy.
So how much vitamin C do I need?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is between 75-90 mg/day for adults (according to the USDA) and it’s best if you can get it from your food.
Many people, however, also like to up their vitamin C intake with supplements, and that’s OK, as long as you don’t overdo it!
(Too much vitamin C – more than 1000mg/day – can irritate your stomach while megadoses of the vitamin could potentially lead to kidney stones.)
So, now that you know more about super C, let me present to you five fruits that contain more vitamin C than an orange:
I love guava and was very happy to learn that it contains 200mg of vitamin C per 100g portion. That’s four times more than the orange (which contains about 50mg of vitamin C per 100g portion).
Though I listed blackcurrants in second place, they are actually right up there with guavas, as they also contain 200mg of vitamin C per 100g.
Who doesn’t love strawberries? These lovely sweet fruits contain 80mg of vitamin C per 100g portion.
I absolutely love kiwi fruit. This small fruit is one of the world’s most nutritious and contains 70mg of vitamin C per 100g.
The papaya provides 62mg of vitamin C per 100g serving. This tropical fruit also contains the enzyme, papain, which is an excellent aid to digestion and helps your body extract the maximum nutritional value from the foods you eat.
There you have it! Do any of these come as a surprise to you? What is your favourite vitamin C-rich fruit?