Are you looking to boost your vitamin C levels?
That’s a smart move.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is one of the most important nutrients for the human body.
Since our bodies can’t produce it, we have to get the nutrient from external sources (ideally whole foods).
While severe deficiencies are rare, many people don’t get enough.
Because of this, they miss out on the juiciest benefits that “big C” has to offer.
A Quick Rundown On The Big C
Top vitamin C health benefits include:
- Prevents premature skin aging
- Lowers blood pressure
- Defends against heart disease
- Supports healthy brain function
- Boosts iron and calcium absorption
- Strengthens your immune system
- Reduces inflammation
Common signs of vitamin C deficiency are:
- Rough, dry skin
- Impaired wound healing
- Painful joints
- Brittle bones
- Dry, splitting hair
- Weakened immune system
Suffice to say, there are plenty of reasons to get enough of the vitamin.
Don’t Ignore The Veggies
Normally, you’d probably head to the fruit aisle when you want some more vitamin C.
That’s a good choice, as the most C-packed foods can usually be found there.
However, you shouldn’t ignore the vegetable section completely.
In reality, there are vegetables that contain just as much ascorbic acid as fruits.
A few even top the charts above popular favorites like oranges and strawberries.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the 12 best vegetables for vitamin C.
Vitamin C and Cooking: Things To Keep In Mind
Before we go through the list of vegetables, there’s some important information you should know.
Like the majority of people, I assume you prefer to cook most of your vegetables, right?
This is often the best choice, since it generally makes them more edible and, in certain cases, more nutritious.
However, some nutrients may suffer in the process — especially water-soluble vitamins like the big C.
To Boil Or Not To Boil
If you boil broccoli for a long time, for example, around 50% of the vitamin C content may leach into the water (study).
Should you opt for steaming, though, you may reduce this loss down to around 14%.
Keep this in mind when reading through the following list.
Thankfully, though, many of the top mentions don’t really need to be boiled before consumption.
So, if you’re after ascorbic acid specifically, you can certainly eat them raw or lightly-steamed instead.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s look at the 12 best vegetables for vitamin C.
1. Sweet Yellow Pepper
Coming in at a strong number one, sweet yellow pepper is your best bet if you want a vitamin-C rich vegetable.
100 grams will net you an astonishing 183mg of vitamin C — 306% of the daily recommended value (RDV)!
Besides the giant C-bomb, they also come with decent levels of vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and manganese.
Due to their mild taste, yellow bell peppers can be easily included on pizzas, in casseroles, salads, and much more.
Basically, it’s a really flexible food, and you’ll be hard pressed not to find a use for it.
Without a doubt, eating yellow bell pepper is one of the easiest ways to get your C-levels up.
2. Chili Pepper
Right behind its sweeter, yellow relative comes the hot-and-spicy chili pepper.
100 grams will give you 144mg of vitamin C — 239% of the RDV.
You’ll also get plenty of vitamin K, B6, iron, potassium, and manganese.
Chilis are indeed very nutritious.
However, it’s much harder to eat a lot of them due to their spicy nature.
So, keep that in mind when measuring them against other mentions on this list.
Still, technically speaking, when it comes to raw C-levels, it’s the clear runner-up.
3. Red Bell Pepper
Yes, it’s another pepper!
Thankfully, this has more in common with its yellow cousin than with the aforementioned chili.
You can easily include them in a variety of dishes, and eat a lot of them without feeling like you’re melting away.
100 grams of red bell peppers will provide you with 128mg of vitamin C — 213% of the RDV.
As opposed to their close relatives, these bell peppers come with a hefty dose of vitamin A as well.
They’re also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E, and niacin.
Kale has been steadily increasing in popularity during the last decade.
And it’s not without reason:
This relatively-inexpensive green is both highly versatile and extremely nutritious.
100 grams of kale will give you 120mg of vitamin C — 200% of the RDV.
It also comes with shockingly-high amounts of vitamin A and K.
100 raw grams of the green will give you around 308% of your vitamin A needs.
And for vitamin K?
1021% of the RDV (no, that zero is not a typo!).
Additionally, kale is rich in thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese.
Basically, if you’re not eating kale, you’re making a BIG mistake.
Make sure to get some in ya’!
Another green goodie with a surprising amount of C is the humble broccoli.
Per 100 grams, it will provide you with 89mg of vitamin C — around 150% of the RDV.
Keep in mind, though, that the nutrient is water-soluble.
As mentioned earlier, if you boil your broccoli, as much as half of the vitamin C may get lost in the water (study).
With that in mind, if you want to optimize the C-levels, it’s best to only lightly boil or steam it instead.
Besides the vitamin C, broccoli also comes with a lot of vitamin K, plus decent amounts of vitamin A, folate, potassium, and manganese.
6. Brussel Sprouts
Right behind broccoli comes another cruciferous favorite — Brussel sprouts.
100 grams of the small, green, balls will nourish you with 85mg of vitamin C.
That amounts to around 142% of the recommended daily value.
As mentioned, prolonged boiling reduces C-levels, so keep that in mind.
Brussel sprouts are also full of vitamin K — 177mcg per 100 grams of vegetable (221% of RDV).
Furthermore, they contain decent levels of vitamin A, B6, folate, iron, potassium, and manganese.
7. Green Bell Pepper
It’s lower on the list compared to its close relatives.
Nonetheless, the green bell pepper is nothing to scoff at.
100 grams will provide you with 80.4mg of the big C — 134% of the RDV.
You’ll also get decent levels of vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese.
In a side-by-side comparison, they’re not as nutritious as the yellow and red variants.
However, they are still worth including if you want to bring some diversity to your peppers.
Personally, I always buy a 3-in-1 pack that contains one of each color.
Kohlrabi is perhaps a bit more obscure than the other mentions on this list.
However, the proud German cabbage-turnip surely deserves its place.
100 grams will net you 62mg of vitamin C — 103% of the daily recommended value.
It will also give you plenty of dietary fiber — 3.6g per 100g of vegetable, which amounts to 14% of the RDV.
Furthermore, kohlrabi comes packed with respectable levels of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, and manganese.
If you want to add some variety to your vegetable selection, this is a great choice.
Tip: A simple kohlrabi mash goes with almost anything!
Cauliflower is often treated like a lesser version of broccoli.
Sure, it may not be as high in vitamin C or K as its green relative.
Still, it’s certainly worth picking up when you’re at the store.
After all, it has a unique, delicate, texture and is richer in certain nutrients.
100 grams of cauliflower will yield around 46.5mg of vitamin C — 77% of the RDV.
You’ll also get a nice supply of vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, choline, potassium, and manganese.
There are few foods that can match the nutritional powerhouse that is spinach.
Want to know why?
Check out this article:
100 grams of the leafy green will provide you with 28mg of vitamin C — 47% of the RDV.
Spinach also comes with a hefty dose of vitamin A, K, folate, betaine, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Despite being so nourishing, it’s extremely low in calories — just 23 per 100 grams.
In other words, it’s a really nutrient-dense food.
This makes it especially useful if you want to lose weight without compromising your micronutrient levels.
The humble potato often gets ignored these days (or, even worse, vilified).
Still, there’s a reason it’s been such an important food throughout human history.
It can be grown almost anywhere, is easy to store and transport in bulk, and comes with a good amount of essential nutrients.
One of those is vitamin C.
The ancient staple food actually has a lot of it, which may surprise some people.
After all, most of us associate the vitamin with brightly-colored fruit and veg — not the unassuming spud.
Nonetheless, 100 grams of raw, unpeeled, potatoes will give you 19.7mg of vitamin C — 33% of the RDV.
It’ll also provide you with decent levels of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese.
Tomatoes are easy to like.
Besides their fresh taste, they’re also some of the most versatile plant foods around.
You can make sauce out of them, use them as pizza toppings, put them in a healthy sandwich, or simply eat them as they are.
Sure, they’re technically fruits.
However, since you’re unlikely to put them in your fruit salad, we’ll list them among the veggies.
100 grams of tomatoes will net you about 12.7mg of vitamin C — 21% of the daily recommended value.
They also come with decent amounts of vitamin A, K, potassium, and manganese.
On top of that, tomatoes also contain a treasured antioxidant called lycopene.
This compound has a slew of documented health benefits you don’t want to miss out on.
And there you go!
Those were the 12 best vegetables for vitamin C.
As you can tell, there is plenty to choose from, even in the vegetable section.
You can easily mix and match a large number of different plant foods to your heart’s content.
With this list in hand, it’ll be simple to boost your C-levels — to the recommended minimum and beyond!