Is there anyone out there who hasn’t heard about the benefits of vitamin C? It’s an essential nutrient for our immune defences, skin and metabolism. However, our bodies cannot produce this vitamin themselves, which is why we must acquire it through food.
If you’re hoping to increase your levels of vitamin C, you may be thinking of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. But are citrus fruits really the richest in vitamin C? You won’t want to miss this article, because the answer could surprise you!
- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient which we should be consuming daily to stay in good health.
- Fruits like kakadu plums, camu camu, and acerola cherry are magnificent sources of vitamin C, but are difficult to find and sold at very high prices.
- When our diets are lacking in this nutrient, relying on liposomal vitamin C supplements can help us avoid suffering from vitamin C deficiency.
Which Fruits Are Richest in Vitamin C?
According to Spain’s Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN), a healthy adult needs to ingest 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day (1). On top of that, many official European and North American agencies raise that number to 95-120 milligrams per day (2). One way of meeting these recommendations is by adding vitamin C-rich fruits to your diet (3) (4):
|Fruit (100 grams)||Vitamin C content (milligrams)||RDA Percentage* (using AESAN values)|
|Kakadu plum||3000 mg||4000%|
|Camu camu||2800 mg||3733%|
|Orange, lemon, grapefruit||31-53 mg||41 – 71%|
RDA: Recommended Dietary Allowance according to AESAN
The fruit with the world’s highest vitamin C content is the kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana). Every 100 grams of this Australian fruit provides 3 grams (3,000 milligrams) of vitamin C. Depending on the crop, it can provide up to 7,000 mg per 100 grams.
Tragically, this fruit is extremely difficult to find on the market. An easier way is to buy powdered kakadu plum extract, ready to add to smoothies and boost them with a nutritional plus.
Camu camu (Myrciaria dubiaes) is an “antioxidant bomb” which comes to us directly from the Amazon. It contains the world’s second-highest vitamin C concentration found to date (2800 mg per 100 grams), though some wild specimens can reach up to 6000 mg per 100 grams (4).
This fruit is not easy to find on the market. You’re more likely to come across this superfood in capsule or powder form in specialized stores.
Acerola, also called acerola cherry, is a small fruit extremely rich in vitamin C originating in Central and South America. It can store up to 30 times more vitamin C than oranges. The high concentration of this nutrient gives the fruit its characteristic acidic taste. It is also sold at elevated prices (over £4.50 per kilo) (6).
Did you know that kiwi is a berry chock-full of vitamin C? That’s right – a berry, just like currants or raspberries. This fruit originates from China and provides fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E and folic acid. By the by, its skin is edible! (3)
Papaya is a tropical fruit extremely rich in vitamin C. On top of its vitamin C, vitamin C, potassium and fibre content, it also contains papain, a substance which can alleviate the symptoms of constipation and prevent indigestion (3). Though it comes to us from Central and South America, papayas are also grown in southern Spain and the Canary Islands.
Eating strawberries is one delicious way to build up your vitamin C reserves. This fruit also contains numerous antioxidants and is low in sugar and high in fibre (3).
Oranges, Lemons, and Other Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are the ones we associate most with vitamin C. Though it may be true that oranges, lemons, tangerines, and grapefruits are good sources of this nutrient, their vitamin C concentration is still inferior to the other fruits mentioned above. Nonetheless, they still constitute affordable and healthy options, so they’re perfect for breakfast and snacking (3).
Strengthen Your Diet: Secrets and Alternatives to Fruit with Vitamin C
Do you plan to rely on fruit as a way to increase your vitamin C reserves? In the next few lines, we’ll discuss both the benefits and the downsides, as well as alternatives to fruit.
Eating Vitamin C-Rich Fruit: The Benefits
Eating fruits which are rich in vitamin C will help you stay healthy, if in the context of a balanced diet. They can offer you all sorts of benefits, from smooth skin to immune defences strong enough to fight off illness. The list below shows the primary advantages of eating fruit rich in vitamin C:
Goodbye to Vitamin C Deficiency
Introducing fruit with this vitamin to your diet will help you keep vitamin C deficiency at bay. The consequences of vitamin C deficits? They include more frequent infections, premature aging of the skin, and fatigue, among others (7) (8).
Did you know that having adequate levels of vitamin C is essential for healing cuts and other injuries? Eating fruits rich in this vitamin could help you recover more quickly.
Naturally Beneficial Substances
Fruits with vitamin C contain hundreds of vegetable substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This can help us stay in good health and prevent the onset of chronic illnesses.
More Fibre in Your Diet
Fruit which is rich in vitamin C also provides fibre, a “miraculous by-product” which helps you feel full for longer and makes digestion more regular. Their low caloric content also makes them perfect for weight-loss diets.
Eating Vitamin C-Rich Fruit: The Downsides
As a general rule, we consider fruit with vitamin C to have primarily positive effects on our health. Nonetheless, these foods can also cause minor issues in day-to-day life. Don’t let them take you by surprise! (8)
Fruits containing vitamin C fortunately tend to be low in calories. However, consuming large amounts of them (especially when included in juices, desserts with added sugar, jams, and syrups) will end up taking a toll. These products will burden you with extra calories and extra kilos.
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. If you consume a lot of fruit with high concentrations of this acid, you may suffer from intestinal pain, nausea, heartburn (pyrosis) or tooth sensitivity.
Kakadu plums, camu camu, and acerola are all fruits imported from abroad, which drastically raises their cost. Other products like papayas and strawberries have more accessible prices, but they tend to spoil quickly in our fruit bowls. Frozen fruit may be a cheaper, equally nutritious option.
Beyond Fruit: Vitamin C Supplements
And what if you’re unable to eat enough vitamin C-rich fruit? You may live in a “food desert”, an area far removed from the countryside where agricultural produce is sold at inflated prices or is impossible to find. You might also be allergic to many fruits with vitamin C – or you simply may not enjoy them. In cases like these, what options do you have?
Vitamin C supplements will help you avoid nutritional deficiencies if your diet does not allow you to get adequate amounts of this molecule. Your doctor can help you decide if a vitamin C supplement is the best option for you. Talk with your doctor if you believe you eat less of the foods containing this nutrient than is recommended!
The Future Is Here: Liposomal Vitamin C
Traditional vitamin C supplements (capsules or tablets) have an absorption problem. Our body tends to reject more than 50% of the vitamin C in traditional supplements, removing the nutrient before it can be used by our cells – a real dilemma!
To solve this problem, vitamin C supplements have begun integrating liposome technology, using phospholipids (substances similar to our own cell membranes). These lipids envelop and transport the ascorbic acid, catapulting it into the bloodstream for absorption and helping us compensate for vitamin C deficits more effectively (9) (10) (11).
Adding more fruit to your diet can be a delicious way to meet our vitamin C needs. There’s no need to restrict yourself to citrus – tropical fruits like camu camu and kakadu plum will give your diet an exotic flair and breathe new life into your breakfast and snacks.
If, however, you cannot add fruit and other vitamin C-rich foods to your diet, ask your doctor if a vitamin supplement could help you keep nutritional deficiencies at bay. Liposomal products will improve your body’s absorption of vitamin C, which may make your use of supplements more effective.
Do you incorporate fruit with vitamin C into your diet? Which ones are your favourites? Share this article on social media or leave a comment – we’d love to hear your opinions!
- [OFFICIAL AESAN DOCUMENT] Calleja CA, Cámara M, Daschner Á, Fernández P, Franco CM, Giner R, et al. Informe del Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) sobre Ingestas Nutricionales de Referencia para la población española. In: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, editor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2019. p. 1–30. Available at: http://www.aecosan.msssi.gob.es/AECOSAN/docs/documentos/seguridad_alimentaria/evaluacion_riesgos/informes_comite/INR.pdf
- [OFFICIAL WEBSITE] Vitamin C – Health Professional Fact Sheet [Internet]. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
- [OFFICIAL WEBSITE] FoodData Central [Internet]. Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/
- [SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE] Arellano-Acuña E, Rojas-Zavaleta I, Paucar-Menacho L. Camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia): Tropical fruit of excellent func- tional properties that help to improve the quality of life. Sci Agropecu [Internet]. 2016 Dec 31;7(4):433–43. Available at: http://revistas.unitru.edu.pe/index.php/scientiaagrop
- [WEB RESOURCE] Kakadu Plum | Australian Native Food and Botanicals [Internet]. Available at: https://anfab.org.au/main.asp?_=Kakadu Plum
- [SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE] Acerola, an Untapped Functional Superfruit: A Review on Latest Frontiers – PubMed [Internet]. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30150795/
- [SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE] Chambial S, Dwivedi S, Shukla KK, John PJ, Sharma P. Vitamin C in disease prevention and cure: An overview [Internet]. Vol. 28, Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry. 2013. p. 314–28. Available at: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s12291-013-0375-3
- [SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE] Slavin JL, Lloyd B. Health benefits of fruits and vegetables [Internet]. Vol. 3, Advances in Nutrition. American Society for Nutrition; 2012. p. 506–16. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/
- [SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE]Khalili A, Alipour S, Fathalipour M, Purkhosrow A, Mashghoolozekr E, Bayat G, et al. Liposomal and non-liposomal formulations of vitamin C: Comparison of the antihypertensive and vascular modifying activity in renovascular hypertensive rats. Iran J Med Sci [Internet]. 2020 Jan 1;45(1):41–9. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6983272/
- [SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE]Akbarzadeh A, Rezaei-Sadabady R, Davaran S, Joo SW, Zarghami N, Hanifehpour Y, et al. Liposome: Classification, preparation, and applications. Nanoscale Res Lett [Internet]. 2013 8(1):102. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599573/
- [ANIMAL STUDY] Sinha J, Das N, Basu MK. Liposomal antioxidants in combating ischemia-reperfusion injury in rat brain. Biomed Pharmacother [Internet]. 2001;55(5):264–71. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11428552/