Do you reach for a glass of orange juice at the first sign of a sniffle or a cough?
If you do, it’s probably because you already know that Vitamin C helps boost the immune system.
Grandma was right: Vitamin C is an immunity booster.
But that’s not its only health benefit. It also helps lower the risk for heart disease and assists with memory function in the brain. We all need it, and we can get twice our daily recommended value just by drinking one cup of orange juice per day.
There’s just one problem with that. Orange juice is also full of sugar and carbs.
Want some new ways to get more Vitamin C into your body?
Here are five easy ways to add more Vitamin C to your daily meals.
How Much Vitamin C Should You Consume Each Day?
Vitamin C is an essential component of the human diet, but it is possible to consume too much.
Experts recommend adults get the following amount of Vitamin C per day:
- Adult males: 90mg per day
- Adult females: 75mg per day
- Pregnant women: 85mg per day
- Cigarette smokers: an additional 35mg per day
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it can help reduce your risk of chronic disease by fighting off free radicals in the body. It helps to fight inflammation, prevents iron deficiency, and lowers uric acid levels in the blood. It’s a potent vitamin, and it’s one that we all need to get our daily dose of.
Here are a few things you can do to get your daily required serving of Vitamin C each day:
Eat More Fruit
Oranges aren’t the only fruit high in Vitamin C.
Kiwi, guava, pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and berries are all excellent sources. If these aren’t a part of your daily diet, they should be!
Want to kick start your day with a healthy serving of fruit?
Blend them into a smoothie, add them to a cup of yogurt, or enjoy a tasty fruit salad with breakfast or brunch.
Fruits are great for snacking, so rather than reaching for candy or pretzels during your mid-day slump, go for a cup of fresh fruit instead. They’re also a healthy alternative when you’re craving an after-dinner dessert.
Looking for a convenient way to consume more Vitamin C while on the go?
Besides orange juice, tomato juice and pink grapefruit juice are also high in Vitamin C (and delicious to boot!)
Eat More Cruciferous Vegetables
We all know the importance of getting veggies into our diet, but you might not even realize that some of your favorites are high in Vitamin C.
The vegetables that stand out for their high Vitamin C content are those categorized as cruciferous.
One cup of raw broccoli contains 81.2mg of Vitamin C. One cup of raw cauliflower contains 51.6mg. A cup of raw Brussels sprouts has 74.8mg. You can add all these cruciferous veggies to salads, enjoy as sides, or add to pasta and rice dishes.
Cruciferous vegetables aren’t just high in Vitamin C — they may also reduce the risk of cancer. Studies show that people with diets high in cruciferous veggies have lower rates of prostate cancer. It’s also believed that Vitamin C can slow the growth of cancer cells in the lungs, colon, breasts, and liver.
Eat Baked Potatoes
The next time you’re craving a starchy food, make it a baked potato. Rice, grains, and pasta are delicious, but baked white potatoes and baked sweet potatoes are also high in Vitamin C.
One medium baked potato contains 25mg of Vitamin C, while a baked sweet potato has about 30mg. Just do your waistline a favor and resist the urge to top it with butter.
Potatoes are also a great source of fiber and potassium; you need both for a healthy, balanced diet.
Eat More Peppers
People that love peppers love peppers. They made this list because they’re high in Vitamin C.
One cup of green peppers contains about 120mg, while one cup of raw red peppers has about 190mg. That’s more than the entire daily required serving for an adult male.
There are so many reasons to love peppers. They taste great, they smell amazing, and they make every dish more flavorful. But what we really love about peppers is their versatility.
You can add peppers to an egg white omelet for breakfast. You can chop them and add them to a salad for lunch. You can eat them as a side dish with dinner proteins such as fish, chicken, or beef. If you’re looking for a way to make every meal more delicious, be sure to pick up some fresh peppers on your next trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market.
Eat Your Veggies Raw
The type of vegetables you eat matters, but how you eat them matters as well.
Instead of stir frying or boiling your veggies until they’re mushy and soft, try eating them raw. Cooking over high heat removes some of the nutrients from veggies, so you’ll only get the most nutrients if you eat your veggies raw.
Boiling vegetables for a long time at a high temperature can make them easier to digest, but it also kills some of the nutrients in the process. To get the most nutrients out of your vegetables, wash them, cut them, and eat them raw.
If you can’t imagine eating your veggies raw, compromise and steam them rather than boiling them. Use as little water as possible and cook your vegetables in the microwave for the shortest amount of time possible. This will reduce some of the nutrient content but still retain enough that you can get a healthy dose of Vitamin C.
Orange juice is only one of many ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin C.
You can boost your Vitamin C intake and your immune system in the process by:
- Eating more fruit
- Eating more cruciferous vegetables
- Eating baked potatoes
- Eating more peppers
- Eating vegetables raw
With a few minor and tasty tweaks to your diet, you can get your daily allotment of Vitamin C in one meal or less. And when you do — your body will thank you for it!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Copper Beech Bowling Green to help them with their online marketing.