If finding simple and effective ways to naturally support your immunity and vitamin C intake is top of your health agenda, stocking up on oranges may be the first point on your action plan.
But are oranges really the best source fighting oxygen free radicals? Or should you be adding other nutrient-rich fruit and veg to your weekly shop?
After all, as our bodies can’t store vitamin C, we need to stock up daily, so it’s good to know the go-to vitamin C fruits for getting a dose of this naturally powerful antioxidant.
First things first, just how much vitamin C is in an orange?
It’s easy to see why oranges are considered such a great source of vitamin C. At around 70mg1, an average orange will more than cover the recommended 40mg daily vitamin C quota for a typical adult.2 That means eating just one orange a day will tick off your daily vitamin C (ascorbic acid) requirements.
A sweet and juicy single daily dose, ready to eat and pre-packaged in a convenient, peelable skin – it’s little wonder that oranges have long been the go-to fruit to help keep us healthy. Plus, edible raw, with no cooking or processing required, there’s no degradation of the vitamin C content either.
But are oranges the best source of vitamin C? With grocery stores stocking an increasingly diverse array of fruit and vegetables, there’s an abundance of vitamin C in our shops. But how do different fruits and vegetables fare, and where do they rank on the vitamin C leaderboard?
Which fruits have the most vitamin C?
Needless to say, it all depends on serving sizes, preparation methods and other variables as to how much vitamin C a fruit contains.
For example, at 78mg per fruit, a whole grapefruit has marginally more vitamin C than the average orange.3 But a full zingy grapefruit a day may not be to everyone’s palate, so serving sizes are usually calculated on a half fruit.
Underneath their prickly skin, kiwis are a force to be reckoned with. At 64mg, one medium kiwi more than covers off the daily recommended intake amount. While summer favourite, strawberries pack a tasty punch at 49mg per half cup serving.4 And if tropical flavours appeal to your taste buds, pineapple boasts 114 mg per 1.5 cups.5
Fruit juices are another great way to up your vitamin C levels. However, production methods may mean that the health benefits are less pure, with typically more sugar content than raw, unprocessed fruit.6
It’s not just fruit that’s rich in vitamin C either. At approx. 95mg per half cup serving, red bell peppers are top of the veggie vitamin C charts. Green peppers coming in at 60mg per half cup and a half cup of broccoli (cooked) at 51mg. Brussel sprouts needn’t be just for Christmas either. With 48mg per half cup cooked, they’re an underrated source of vitamin C – one serving will more than satisfy the average adult’s daily intake requirements.7
Chart-toppers – fruit and veg vitamin C rankings at a glance
Vitamin C is readily available across a range of fresh fruit and vegetables. But which fruit and veg have more vitamin C than a regular orange? This quick look-up sets out vitamin C rankings at a glance.
|Food||Vitamin C per serving|
|Red bell pepper||95|
|Strawberries||49 (per half cup)|
|Pineapple||38 (per half cup)|
Summary: An orange a day is not the only way to meet your vitamin C needs
Vitamin C is an essential part of a healthy diet. It plays an important role in keeping our immune systems ticking over and functioning well. Oranges have long been considered the go-to vitamin C champion. Sweet and juicy, easy to store and easy to eat, they’re a naturally convenient source of this vital nutrient. But oranges don’t hold the monopoly on vitamin C. There are plenty of alternative fruit and veg options that provide us with more than enough antioxidant vitamin C for our daily needs.
Last updated: 11 November 2020