Remember when your mother encouraged you to drink all your orange juice in the morning to get your Vitamin C? Orange juice is just one of the many delicious healthy choices that provide a vital nutrient, also called ascorbate. As usual, mom knew best when it came to vitamins.
Your body requires Vitamin C to repair tissues and for building healthy neurotransmitters in your brain. It’s water-soluble, meaning it dissolves in water and goes throughout your body without being stored. Ascorbate is found in some of your favorite foods, especially in fruits.
The Discovery of What Happens with Deficient Vitamin C Levels
Deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to an illness called scurvy, which causes weakness, softening of organs, bleeding gums, and internal hemorrhages. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal. In the past, sailors who spent long periods at sea often succumbed to scurvy, and nobody knew why.
In the late 19th century England, a physician discovered that when sailors had fresh lime juice to drink, they didn’t get the dreaded scurvy. It’s the origin of the British slang for sailors, limey. In time, scientists discovered it was the vitamins in the lime juice that kept the sailors healthy.
Fortunately, scurvy is almost unheard of in developed countries like the United States and Europe. We have access to fresh and healthy food choices that provide more than enough ascorbate. If you need a boost of Vitamin C, you can also take it as a chewable supplement.
Are you and your family getting enough ascorbate in your diet? Doctors and nutritionists recommend at least 2,000 mg a day. While people try to take too much of a good thing, an overdose is more likely to make you feel queasy than kill you.
The Benefits of Vitamin C
There is overwhelming evidence that keeping your body fortified with ascorbate can help ward off illnesses such as the common cold and influenza. Other studies suggest that if you do catch a cold or flu, ascorbate may shorten the sicknesses’ duration. These are good reasons to get the “C” you need every day.
You probably know that fresh citrus fruit and juices are loaded with vitamins. How can you get enough ascorbate if you are on a low-acid diet or aren’t really into citrus fruit? There are other whole foods that you can enjoy.
Using Nature to Supplement Vitamin C
Not only are some fruits high in vitamins, but many vegetables are, as well. If you choose a colorful variety of fresh produce in your family’s diet, chances are they are bursting with C and other nutrients. Try these fifteen nutritious food choices for a healthy dose of Vitamin C.
1. Citrus Fruits
There’s nothing like the tart freshness of these tropical treasures. Ever since ancient times, cultures have enjoyed these delightful fruits in sweet and savory dishes or juiced for tasty beverages.
Most of these fruits have a thick peeling, and a juicy inside that is divided into sections. Think about lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, and their sweet and sour relatives. You can get enough ascorbate in a serving by enjoying a single orange.
Where would summer be without these iconic red jewels? Just the scent of freshly picked strawberries makes most people smile. Did you know that one of America’s favorite dessert berries isn’t a berry at all?
They are conglomerate or grouped, fruits with multiple external seeds. Some botanical references classify strawberries as vegetables. Any way you slice it, these grand dames of desserts are an ideal source of vitamins.
3. Red Bell Peppers
Crisp, sweet red bell peppers lend color and a delightful zing to salads and veggie platters. Roasting them in the oven imparts a subtle nutty flavor that complements meats and other dishes. When baked, pureed, and mixed with other simple ingredients, red bell peppers make a soup that is nothing short of divine.
Did you know this blushing veggie has more milligrams per serving of ascorbate than an orange? Bell peppers start green and go to yellow, orange, and finally a mature red. While all color stages are yummy and loaded with potassium and fiber, the red ones give you the most vitamins you need.
4. Sweet Potatoes
You may think you enjoyed these orangey-fleshed tubers in casseroles or roasted with marshmallows on Thanksgiving. However, most people mistake yams for sweet potatoes because they are almost twins. Although both are healthy choices, sweet potatoes are higher in nutrients, like Vitamin C.
The delicate flesh of sweet potatoes makes them perfect for roasting or baking. Enjoy them as fries, casseroles, or starring in an iconic Southern pie. Sweet potatoes can be a delicious part of your family’s diet.
No matter how you pronounce it, tomatoes are a culinary treasure that has graced global cuisines for generations. Could you imagine what your favorite salad, soup, or sauce would be like without these tantalizing fruits?
Tomatoes can be as big as a football or as tiny as a grape, and they range in color. They are incredibly versatile, and they offer a substantial amount of ascorbate and other vitamins per serving. Your doctor may limit your tomato consumption if you are sensitive to their acidity, but they are one of the most versatile fruits around.
Here is another exotic fruit that is high in flavor and vitamins, including C. Popularity of these Chinese natives have spread across the world, and you can usually find them year-round in the grocery store. Some people describe their taste as a mixture of strawberry and banana.
Their vivid green flesh is soft and pleasantly tart, which makes them an excellent choice for salads, desserts, or beverages. Kiwis are often paired with strawberries for an original kick of flavor. Enjoy them with the skin on for added fiber and nutrition.
The distinct aroma and taste of this venerable melon are instantly recognizable. People love cantaloupe for its lovely peach flesh that goes so well with other fruits and melons. Some fans insist that adding a light dusting of salt brings out the natural sweetness of this summer favorite.
Eat cantaloupe in traditional crescent slices or use a melon baller to create a stunning fruit salad. It’s a delicious accompaniment to sponge cake or cottage cheese. You can feel good about serving cantaloupe because of its generous ascorbate content.
Although kale has been a staple crop in gardens for years, it has enjoyed a significant revival in the farm-to-table movement. This dark-green leafy vegetable is a primary ingredient in healthy juices and smoothies. Many people enjoy it baked into light, crispy kale chips.
Kale’s peppery taste and bold, the green hue is a welcomed addition to salads or a lightly sautéed side dish. It is one of the top ascorbic-rich vegetables available.
9. Chili Peppers
The indigenous people of Mexico and South America were blazing their tongues with chili peppers long before scientists discovered their high nutritional value. The ancient Aztecs and Mayans ate them whole or dried them, ground them into powder, and used them in dishes.
You’ve long known that Vitamin A and beta-carotene in these root veggies are good for your vision. Did you know that they are high in C, also? Crunchy carrots are delicious raw or sliced into soups, stews, or baked with meat.
Have you read about the positive benefits of probiotics in fermented foods? Maybe you have been learning how easy it is to make them and add to your family’s diet. Many cultures favor fermented cabbage, like the classic German sauerkraut.
Whether it’s store-bought or homemade, delightfully crunchy sauerkraut gives you a powerful punch of ascorbate, also. Enjoy it as a yummy side dish or as a condiment for hotdogs or Rueben sandwiches. It’s simple to make at home and lasts a long time.
Veggie platters just wouldn’t be the same without this popular cruciferous for dipping. Your family may also adore broccoli in savory soups, sides, or as a baked potato topper. The fiber, antioxidants, and ascorbate are fabulous reasons to encourage the kids to eat their broccoli.
Here is another tropical fruit that is low in acid and bursting with ascorbate. Multiple studies tout papaya enzymes for optimal digestive health. The sweet, creamy fruit has a pleasant dash of tartness that makes it a favorite for smoothies, fruit salad, and other desserts.
14. Rose Hips
Did you know that your beloved rose garden was an essential source of ascorbate and disease-fighting antioxidants? The flowering part of the rose grows from a single fruit that enlarges after the blossom fades. They are called rose hips, and they make a delicious tea or tangy ingredient when raised organically.
Who would have imagined that a culinary herb would be a significant source of vitamins? For centuries, thyme has been prized for its mild, green flavor that enhances so many dishes. It has also been used medicinally for colds and other respiratory problems.
For your and your family’s health sake, consume a diet that is abundant in whole fruits and vegetables. Many of these provide your daily allowance of nutrients, like Vitamin C. Remember, you must eat well, keep moving, and be useful to your body. Your healthy food choices matter.