18 Best Vitamin C Foods And Do They Help Protect Against Coronavirus?

Did you know some plums have 100 times more Vitamin C than an orange?

Foods high in Vitamin C have long been hailed as immunity-boosting powerhouses and essential for inclusion in your day-to-day diet. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin C is vital to protect against illness and disease as, in the body, it acts as an antioxidant helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.

What is vitamin C?

Also known as ascorbic acid or nicknamed ‘the immunity vitamin’, the water-soluble nutrient is most commonly found in fruit and veg.

What does vitamin C do?

Vitamin C has a number of purposes in the body, explains nutritional therapist Paula Werrett. ‘It acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from free radicals created through normal energy production and ingested through foods and from sunlight and pollution in the environment.’

Nutricost Vitamin C with Rose Hips 1025mg – Buy from Amazon

And that’s not all. ‘The body also requires vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein needed for the maintenance of health for bones, cartilage, gums, teeth and skin to help wounds heal. Finally, vitamin C is also extremely important to help with the absorption of iron-rich foods and helps the immune system to manage the disease’, she shares. Not bad.

Ensuring you absorb enough iron from your diet is especially important if you exercise regularly. Working on the reg although good for you can actually contribute to iron deficiency, so giving your body a helping hand if you’re a fan of a good sweat sesh definitely won’t do any harm.

What else is vitamin C good for?

Vitamin C is also needed to prevent deficiency diseases such as scurvy, and is helpful for the maintenance of good energy and metabolism and for healthy skin, cartilage, bones and teeth, she expands.

But it is also relevant to coronavirus . ‘Vitamin C has been shown to help shorten the length and severity of respiratory infections, such as colds.’ This means, in short, that eating enough regularly can can help you bounce back from common cold and flu symptoms more quickly, she explains.

So what’s the link between vitamin C and Coronavirus?

Doctor Aragona Giuseppe, GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor, says it’s important to clarify the vit C’s role in dealing with COVID-19: ‘There is no medical or scientific evidence to suggest that a certain food or supplement can help prevent a person catching COVID-19’.

 

Dr Giuseppe explains that because vitamin C is well-known as an immunity boosting vitamin many people assume that it can help fight off coronavirus. ‘While vitamin C could help to reduce or get rid of any symptoms, there is no evidence to suggest that vitamin C alone will fight off the virus. Every body is different and is being affected by the virus differently’, he continues.

There is no evidence to suggest that vitamin C alone will fight off the virus

However, Heather Rosa the Dean of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, disagrees, sharing that a study suggests early and high intravenous doses of Vitamin C could help to fight the coronavirus disease. ‘A recent Medicine in Drug Discovery study led by Virginia Commonwealth University found that patients who received intravenous vitamin C spent significantly fewer days in intensive care and hospital overall. On average, the vitamin C group spent three fewer days in the ICU and a week less in the hospital overall.’

vitamin c foods closeup of a cheerful young couple picking some fruit and veggies from the fridge to make some healthy breakfast on sunday morning shot from inside the working fridge
GILAXIA

Plus, she shares that a group of hospitals in New York are treating their most critical COVID-19 patients with high doses of vitamin C.

Only time will tell the true impact vitamin C can have on the virus as scientists, doctors and experts continue to work towards a vaccine and potential counters. Whatever the effect of the vitamin, Giuseppe advises listening to government guidelines, staying at home and making a few small lifestyle tweaks, if you don’t already do these things, to ensure you keep yourself (and your immune system) in tip top shape.

  • Eat plenty of nutrient dense foods (Giuseppe advises fruit, fish, healthy oils, protein and vegetables)
  • Stay hydrated with eight glasses of water a day
  • Get moving and use your hour a day outside wisely
  • Be mindful of your alcohol intake
  • Maximise your sleep and aim for eight hours a night.

However, experts do maintain that eating a diet high in antioxidants and whole, non-processed foods generally will support bodily functioning and, in turn, potentially assist your immune system in fighting off viruses.

How much vitamin C do I need per day?

Nature’s Way Premium Calcium – Buy from Amazon

‘The NHS recommends we get 40 mg a day’, says Rosa. ‘Anything more than 1,000 mg a day and you may experience stomach pain and diarrhoea’, she warns.

The World Health Organisation guidelines state similar, recommending 45mg of vitamin C per day or 300mg per week from your diet.

To put that into context, a small orange contains around 51g of vitamin C. You know what they say—an orange a day…

However, Werrett believes that the sky is the limit with vitamin C consumption—within reason. ‘The RDA of 40mg is the minimum amount you need to consume to prevent deficiency disease, such as scurvy. Much higher levels, however, may be optimal, with the Department of Health and Social Care suggesting up to 1,000mg daily for adults is unlikely to cause harm. Recent research trials show that still larger doses of 3,000 to 5,000mg a day (or even higher) may be needed for optimal effects in protection against viruses.’

What are the best vitamin C foods?

As mentioned, vitamin C is found predominantly in plants, with oranges the most well known natural source.

  • Acerola cherries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Chilli peppers
  • Guavas
  • Kale
  • Kiwis
  • Kakadu plum
  • Lemons
  • Lychees
  • Mustard
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Parsley
  • Red peppers
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet yellow peppers
  • Thyme
  • Acerola cherries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Chilli peppers
  • Guavas
  • Kale
  • Kiwis
  • Kakadu plum
  • Lemons
  • Lychees
  • Mustard
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Parsley
  • Red peppers
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet yellow peppers
  • Thyme

As you can see while oranges are high in vit C, they’re not the only fruit or veg.


You may also like THE BEST VEGAN SEASONINGS EVERY NEWBIE SHOULD HAVE ON HAND


What is the best source of vitamin C?

Fun fact: 100g of red pepper has 4.5 times the amount of vitamin C than an orange and a certain type of plum has over ten times. Scroll to see how 100g of orange stacks up against 100g of its rivals, in order from the highest:

  • Kakadu plum – 7000 mg per 100g veg
  • Red Peppers – 242.5 mg per 100g veg
  • Kale – 120 mg per 100g veg
  • Kiwi – 92.7 mg per 100g veg
  • Broccoli – 89.2 mg per 100g veg
  • Brussels Sprouts – 85 mg per 100g veg
  • Strawberries – 58.8 mg per 100g veg
  • Orange – 53.2 mg1 per 100g veg.

Can you overdose on Vitamin C?

Generally speaking, no, although if you consume too much, the majority will be excreted in your urine, shares nutritionist Lily Soutter. ‘You may also experience symptoms such as stomach pain, diarrhea and flatulence if you ingest 1g per day or more.’

Plus, Rosa stressed that high doses of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can wear away tooth enamel. She recommends washing your mouth out with a little water after consumption.

If you have type 1 diabetes, G6DP deficiency or hyperoxaluria, Rosa also advises that consuming too much vitamin C could be damaging or detrimental for reasons independent to each condition.

Should I take a vitamin C supplement?

‘Eating a healthy diet including plenty of Vitamin C rich foods is important for overall health. Extra vitamin C from supplements, however, may be needed to support the immune system further at times of stress or to further optimise the immune system,’ shares Werrett. Essentially, you should consider your exercise levels, exposure to pollution and general diet.



Check out our FOOD SECTION



Leave a Reply