Many fruits and vegetables have substantial amounts of Vitamin C in them. Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin is water soluble, which means our bodies do not store it. They don’t produce it either, unlike many animals, so we must ingest it daily to remain healthy. People who do not are in risk for getting diseases such as scurvy.
The average adult needs 60-200 mgs of Vitamin C every day. Growing children and athletes need up to 1000 mg. Most of us do not get that much in our diets. That is why it is so vital to eat three to five servings of freshly grown fruits and vegetables each and every day.
But exactly why do our bodies need Vitamin C? It is an essential ingredient needed to form healthy bones, muscle and skin. It helps prevent cavities and may ward off viruses by boosting our immune systems. Vitamin C cannot be absorbed through the skin. It has to be ingested and processed by our digestive tracts.
Nutritional Content: Vitamin C in Garden Vegetables
When most people think Vitamin C they think of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. However, many other fruits and vegetables are good sources of Vitamin C and can be grown in your garden.
A 3/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice contains 60 mgs of Vitamin C.
Bok Choy 44 mg
Tomato 25 mg
Broccoli 1/2 cup 45 mg
Kohlrabi 45 mg
Red and yellow peppers 90 mg
Green peppers 45 mg
Jicima- a root veg from Mexico 45 mg
Potatoes 25 mg
Brussels Sprouts 95 mg
Other vegetables that contain higher levels of Vitamin C are Amaranth Leaves, Radishes and Chinese Broccoli.
Black currents top the list at 202 mg per cup! Grapefruit has 79 mg and breadfruit has 64 mg. Papaya and Mangos contain 95 mg.
Preparing Foods to Retain Vitamin C
Vitamin C is not stored in the body. It can also lose its potency fairly quickly. Fruit that are not picked when ripe and are forced to ripen with gases or temperatures lose their vitamin C impact.
To properly prepare foods to retain their Vitamin C, eat them raw or steamed.
Store cut fruit and vegetables in air tight containers under refrigeration. Try and consume them or freshly squeezed juices within 48 hours.
Steam or boil potatoes with their skins on to seal in the vitamins.
Vitamin C Concerns and Cautions
Since it is a water soluble vitamin, there is little danger in overdosing on Vitamin C. Some experience sores around the mouth, especially from mangos or kiwis.
People with ulceritis or other digestive issues may wish to consult their physicians before increasing their Vitamin C intake.
Some people swear that increasing your Vitamin C intake can ward off respiratory illnesses such as a cold and flu. Even though some studies show this vitamin can somewhat boost your immunity, there is no scientific proof of this.
Want to learn more about Vitamin C?
Check out these resources:
National Nutrient Database. This is a good resource for discovering the nutritional benefits or all foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Listed by category then alphabetically, the list is quite extensive from United States Department of Agriculture.
Nutrition and Foods with Vitamin C. This is a great resource from Ohio State University Extension on vitamin C with a chart listing the top foods that contain it and how much in percentage ratio of the DRA ( daily recommended amounts).