Oranges or watercress - what food is highest in vitamin C?

21 February 2020 | Healthy living

There are many uncertainties about what is really true in nutrition. We unravel the fact or fiction based on reliable, evidence-based information.

Most of us tend to think that oranges contain the most vitamin C, but, it is not the highest in this fruit. In fact, blackcurrants contain almost four times as much vitamin C and watercress contains at least double the amount found in an orange (based on 100g).

What other food is high in vitamin C?

All fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C in varying quantities. Kiwi is another fruit that is high in vitamin C. While vegetables don’t tend to be known for being high in vitamin C, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and red pepper all contain at least double the vitamin C in an orange.

How do fruit and vegetables protect from cancer?

Each type of fruit and vegetable contains a unique combination of nutrients and substances called phytochemicals (natural components of plants). It is these phytonutrients which might have a role to play in helping to protect cells in the body from damage that may lead to cancer. As part of a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to eat a variety of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. 

What are the benefits of vitamin C?

Consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C each day is vital to our health. Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant and helps to protect the body’s cells, and has a role to play in the health of our skin. Vitamin C can also increase the body’s ability to use the iron that we consume from plant-based sources, this is important as the body does not absorb the iron from plant-based foods as efficiently as those from animal-based foods.

How much vitamin C should I take daily?

It is recommended that we consume 40mg of vitamin C each day which can easily be met by eating your 5 A DAY.

Maybe it’s time to think beyond the humble orange for our daily dose of vitamin C!

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Matt Lambert | 21 February 2020