Wonder why fruits and veggies are so essential to your health? One of the reasons is that they are a rich source of vitamin C, an essential vitamin with many important health functions. 

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, plays a role in immunity, collagen production, helping make neurotransmitters, protein metabolism, enhancing iron absorption, and more. 

As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help reverse and limit the free radical damage that leads to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is when the body becomes overwhelmed by free radicals which eventually may lead to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, s and cardiovascular disease.   

The antioxidant power of vitamin C has been linked to improving your overall health by lowering the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, and preventing iron deficiency. Eating enough vitamin C daily is essential for staying healthy. 

Vitamin C-rich foods need to be eaten every day. Since the vitamin is water soluble, your body is unable to store it. Luckily, getting enough vitamin C is super easy!

How much vitamin C is required daily? The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C for the average, non-smoking adult male is 90 mg. For an adult female the RDA is 75 mg per day.

If you smoke, your daily needs are higher. Smoking is associated with lower vitamin C levels within the body. For smokers, it is recommended to increase your daily vitamin C by 35 mg. 

But don’t feel the need to limit your intake of vitamin C, especially from food. Consuming higher than the RDA has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and may help support your immune system.

Tips to Increase Vitamin C Intake

Most fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamin C. Those who eat a diet with a variety of plant foods will easily meet the daily requirements. 

However, if you are not getting enough fruits and veggies in your diet, you may be at risk for a vitamin C deficiency. 

Here are some tips you can use to make sure you are getting enough vitamin C daily: 

  • Eat the rainbow. Vitamin C is found in different fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, tomatoes (our Eclipse tomato is a particularly rich source), bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, brussel sprouts, guava, strawberries, spinach, and more! Choosing a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables will not only help you get your vitamin C from different sources, but also get the benefits of other nutrients. 
  • Limit heat exposure. Vitamin C is sensitive to high temperatures and boiling, steaming, or putting it under high heat can destroy the vitamin. Eating a combination of raw and cooked raw fruits and vegetables can help prevent losing vitamin C from heat. 
  • Choose produce that is in season. Vitamin C is highest in produce that is in season. If you are unable to find produce in season, opt for frozen fruits and veggies, as those are usually picked and frozen at peak freshness.
  • Drink your vitamin C. If you would rather sip on your vitamin C than eat it, you can include juices (orange, mixed fruit, tomato) or smoothies to increase your intake.
  • Include a vitamin C source at each meal, this is an easy way to help meet your daily requirement. For example, top your breakfast cereal with strawberries, add some slices of tomatoes to your salad, or try an orange for dessert after dinner. 
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables between meals. If you want more vitamin C, include some extra rich sources as snacks. Cherry tomatoes or bell peppers make for a delicious vitamin C-rich snack.  

Need more ideas? Visit our recipe collection for different ways to enjoy vitamin C-rich tomatoes.

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About the Author
Melissa Mitri
Melissa is a health writer with over 12 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She specializes in helping women move away from restrictive habits that lead to vicious yo-yo weight cycles. Melissa enjoys writing about health, nutrition, and fitness with the goal of simplifying complex health topics for the reader. You can find out more about Melissa at www.melissamitri.com

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