Most of us know the basic health benefits of vitamin C.
It’s great for upping your intake during cold and flu season, but to prevent undesirable health issues in general, you need it daily!
Other than popping some extra vitamin C supplements in the winter, did you know it’s good for more than improved immunity?
A few ways vitamin C keeps you well:
- Promotes wound healing
- Maintains skin health
- Protects the immune system
- Plays a vital role in bone formation
For the most vibrant health — inside and out — taking your daily recommended dose of vitamin C will help you feel your best. A varied diet with fresh food is best, but supplements can do the trick, too. Below, we cover why this essential vitamin is one you won’t want to skip over now or ever!
Here’s a look at the health benefits of vitamin C:
Vitamin C: The Antioxidant to Love
While it’s best known to most people as simply “vitamin C”, it may also be listed as ascorbic acid.
This powerful antioxidant is water-soluble and is found in foods as well as skincare products. It’s known for its ability to reduce inflammation and fight bacterial infections, which is why it’s a go-to for so many people during cold and flu season.
But, like all necessary vitamins, it’s important to include it in your everyday diet. Not just when you feel sniffles and a sore throat coming on.
What Are the Health Benefits of Vitamin C?
As one of the most effective nutrients out there, maintaining an adequate intake of vitamin C is a must for proper immune functioning. Plus, it’s needed to grow and repair tissues, like that scar tissue that appeared after your recent fall on a hike.
If you haven't been hitting your necessary intake daily, you may notice fatigue, easy bruising, and anemia. Beyond that, it’s a vitamin your body really never wants to miss out on.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest health benefits of vitamin C:
Plays an Important Role in Bodily Functions
When you consume antioxidant-rich foods like ones with vitamin C, it helps slow the signs of aging, protects against heart disease, and keeps skin looking healthy. Vitamin C in particular is known for keeping free radicals (cell damagers) from causing disease.
Helps Produce Collagen
Vitamin C plays an essential role in connective tissue healing because of its ability to create collagen, the main structural tissue found in the body’s connective tissues. Collagen is important because of its function of bone-strengthening and providing skin with structure.
It’s a favorite go-to vitamin for many of us during the wintertime when colds are more prevalent. While it’s not a cure for the common cold, it can reduce the duration of a cold by about 8% in adults, according to one study. If you want to reduce missed time off work thanks to the sniffles, up your vitamin C intake!
Enhances Iron Absorption
Vitamin C is known to improve how the body absorbs iron, an essential mineral that transports oxygen throughout the body to maintain optimal body function. This is important since iron helps create the collagen to rebuild bone, along with other functions like the creation of hemoglobin. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that taking vitamin C with a meal increased iron absorption by up to 67 percent.
Improves Heart Health
More research is uncovering vitamin C’s potential to reduce the risk of serious heart conditions like cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease.
Could Elevate Mood
Because vitamin C is needed for the creation of neurotransmitters like dopamine and potentially serotonin (your mood regulating hormone), it makes sense a lower level could lead to depression. Some studies of hospitalized patients found that those with lower-than-normal vitamin C levels showcased improved moods after getting vitamin C.
How Much Should I Take Daily?
As with most vitamins, there is certainly a recommended dosage.
Experts say adults can aim for between 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day. The upper limit is 2,000 mg a day. If you take too much, you may experience heartburn, vomiting, nausea, and other symptoms, so monitor how much you intake.
Who Needs an Extra Dose of Vitamin C? It’s an essential vitamin that everyone can benefit from daily. But, if you’re a smoker or have a poor diet, you may want to get your levels checked to ensure you’re getting enough.
What Are the Best Foods With Vitamin C?
To enjoy the full health benefits of vitamin C, you’ll need to ingest it daily.
The best way to do this?
Through wholesome foods like oranges, bell peppers, spinach, and other vitamin C-rich produce. When you opt to get your essential vitamins from foods, you also get the added bonus of the food’s other key nutrients. As you may know, tablet or capsule supplements are usually dried and processed, which means you may not be getting the cleanest, best version of vitamin C that you could be ingesting.
Eating a variety of foods —that means your five servings of fruits and veggies — is the ideal way to meet your daily vitamin C needs. Not sure what foods have this essential ingredient other than oranges?
The list below makes it easy to spot vitamin C-rich foods!
At the top of the list is the native Central America berry known as the acerola cherry, also known as the Barbados cherry. The fruit itself has between 1 to 4.5 percent vitamin C content, which is more than what’s inside a fresh orange. A full cup of this cherry gets you a whopping 1,644 mg of vitamin C.
Want to give acerola cherry juice a try? Our organic IMMUNE+ shot uses fresh acerola cherry juice and is cold-pressed in small batches.
Crunchy and sweet, bell peppers are a great way to get your veggies and your vitamin C in. A single cup provides 152 milligrams. If you want to get the most vitamin C content per bite, opt for red bell peppers. They have 50% more vitamin C than green ones!
The standard veggie that you already know is good for you, it’s also a perfect way to get 90% of your daily recommended value of vitamin C. A cup of broccoli gets you 81 milligrams. Whether you like it steamed or raw, the biggest benefit of eating broccoli is certainly for its vitamin C content.
You probably already know most berries are “superfoods” because of the antioxidant properties they contain. Goji berries are no exception! These bright red berries contain large amounts of both vitamin C and A. If you like to snack on these dried berries, throw them in your trail mix. Just five tablespoons gets you 15% of your daily value of vitamin C!
Prefer to drink goji berry in its juiced form? Try RESTORE, our gorgeously pink shot with the extra vitamin C benefits of pineapple juice, lime juice, and goji powder!
This tropical fruit is full of juicy, delicious pink flesh that’s teeming with vitamin C! If you can get your hands on the fresh fruit, cut it up and enjoy a full cup of it for 377 milligrams of vitamin C. You can eat it alone or pair it with other delicious tropical fruits like pineapple and papaya in a fruit salad.
While you may not want to eat a lemon straight, you can certainly add it to your beverages and cooking. This citrus fruit provides 34% of your daily recommended vitamin C value. Slice it up and add it to water, zest it into your favorite ginger stir-fries, or create your own ginger lemon shot!
This bright orange fruit is probably the first one that comes to mind when you think of vitamin C. Luckily, they’re relatively easy to come by, so it’s easy to add an orange a day to your diet. A cup of orange provides 96 milligrams of vitamin C, but if you’re upping your intake a bit more, you can add in a few other options from this list!
Sea buckthorn berry
These tart berries contain several vitamins, but mostly vitamin C. Because of this, these berries are often used in vitamin C supplements and skin-brightening products. The sea buckthorn berry’s vitamin C content actually varies depending on the region in which it was grown.
More of a veggie person? Then you’ll be happy to know that spinach also contains vitamin C and provides 20% of your daily value! Other greens that contain high vitamin C levels? Turnip greens, Swiss chard, and kale.
These bright red fruits are packed with vitamins and require minimal prep to eat by the bowlful. In a cup, you’ll gain 108% of your recommended daily value, along with minimal amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Another bright red vitamin C gem are tomatoes. Whether you toss them on a salad, add them to a soup, or eat them fresh off the vine, you’re getting a hearty dose of vitamin C. A single cup of cooked tomatoes provides 55 milligrams of vitamin C.
Need some ideas on how to incorporate the top vitamin C-rich foods into your diet? Check out our post 9 Foods High in Vitamin C to Add to Your Diet ASAP.
A Final Note on the Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Whether you’re looking to shorten your cold, improve your iron absorption, or just better your health in general, vitamin C may help.
And because life can be busy and it’s not always easy to get in your “five a day” for produce, supplementation can be a great way to ensure you hit your daily vitamin C intake.
Even if it’s an extra supplement you need to consider adding to your health routine, as you can see from the information above, the ultimate health benefits of vitamin C are worth it.
As a wrap-up:
- Daily is best - To thrive, the body needs a multitude of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C is at the top of that list.
- Get it from a varied diet - Fresh, wholesome foods are best for getting all your essential vitamins. Plus, it provides you a flavorful way to enjoy meal time if you’re open to trying various sources of vitamin C!
- Supplements are helpful - Don’t fret if you can’t fit in all your fruit and veggie counts for the day. A vitamin C supplement — like a freshly-pressed shot — can offer you that extra vitamin C boost for the days you’re too busy to eat balanced.
- Talk to your doctor - While 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) is the recommended daily value for adults, always consult your doctor before making a major health change.
Want to add more vitamin C to your diet in an efficient, simple way? Give our immunity-boosting shots, POTENT-C and IMMUNE+ a try today! Each one contains immune-strengthening ingredients like acerola cherry juice and sea buckthorn berry.