12 Vitamin C-Rich Fruits That You Should Load Up On
Vitamin C-rich fruits are a mix of the familiar and the exotic. While you may be familiar with oranges and grapefruit, acerola cherries and guavas are even better sources of the nutrient. Add black currant, kiwifruit, strawberries, litchis, pineapple, papaya, cantaloupe, and mango to your list and your vitamin C intake is sorted!
Antioxidant vitamin C plays an essential role in the normal growth as well as repair of tissues in your body. You need to get enough of it to keep your cartilage, bones, and teeth healthy. It also forms a part of the proteins that build tissue in your skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. The vitamin is needed for wound healing and helps with iron absorption.1
Vitamin C is something you probably associate with citrus fruits like oranges, but there are plenty of other ways to get your vitamin C. In fact, we’ve got a dozen different fruits that are great sources of vitamin C right here, including some exotic ones. So chomp them down, enjoy the variety, and meet your recommended daily intake of the nutrient just like that!
Adults Need Dietary Intake Of 75–90 Mg Of Vitamin C Daily
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 mg a day for adult men while women need 75 mg. These RDAs change if you have a baby on board or are still nursing your baby. Lactating mothers require 120 mg while pregnant women need to consume 85 mg of vitamin C a day.2 If you are a smoker or are recovering from surgery or burns, you may need a higher intake as advised by your doctor.3
When it comes to foods rich in the nutrient, the daily value (DV), indicated by the Food and Drug Authority, helps you understand how much you should get per serving of food per day. The latest standards set the DV for vitamin C at 90 mg per day for adults, mirroring the recommended intake value. This is the number against which the fruits that follow are measured for their vitamin C richness.4 A DV of over 20% or over 18 mg is an indication of a food being rich in the vitamin. And as you’ll see, many of these fruits far exceed that number in a standard serving size – an indication of just how abundant they are in vitamin C.
1. Acerola Cherry
1 cup of acerola cherries:1644 mg of vitamin C (1830% DV)
The headliner on this list of vitamin C-rich fruits is possibly one that might take you by surprise. The acerola cherry is an exotic cherry-like fruit that’s native to western tropical countries like Barbados. You might see it referred to as the West Indies cherry or the Barbados cherry. Use it to make an acerola cherry syrup to eat with your cakes, pannacotta, or even ice cream. Or whip up some exotic acerola chili jam or use it as the fitness enthusiasts do in a green smoothie. Each cup of these acerola cherries has a jaw-dropping 1644 mg of vitamin C. If that sounds mind-boggling, in % DV terms that’s nearly 1830% DV.5
1 cup of guava: 376.7 mg of vitamin C (418.6% DV)
The exotic guava is actually a great source of the nutrient, with one cup of guava containing a whopping 376.7 mg of vitamin C, meeting 418.6% DV.6 Guava juice or the plain fruit might be great on its own, but you can up the ante with some more effort. Guava jams and jellies, guava granita, and guava glazes can be a great addition to your repertoire. Even guava fudge or guava cheese can be an interesting new flavor for your palate. Or really surprise everyone at breakfast this weekend by whipping up a batch of French toast topped with poached guava and crème fraiche!
3. Black Currants
1 cup of black currants: 202.7 mg of vitamin C (225.2% DV)
Black currants are celebrated in summer puddings, fruit jellies, and crumbles served with ice cream or cream. But you could just as well give them a savory turn in a sticky glaze for game meats. And, of course, you can never go wrong with a simple blackcurrant jam, stocked up for later use. A cup of black currants has 202.7 mg of vitamin C, meeting 225.2% DV.7
1 cup of kiwifruit: 166.9 mg of vitamin C (185.4% DV)
Aso called the Chinese gooseberry, the kiwifruit conceals a vibrant green fleshy and juicy interior that is a textural delight! Those pops from the tiny edible seeds at its heart and the tart-sweetness add just the right amount of freshness to a snack or meal. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and enjoy the fruit in all its glory. Make a salad with your choice of leaves, some goat’s cheese, and kiwifruit. If you have strawberries to add some color, toss those in too! Use it in crepes, pavlova, or tarts for the sour element. Or enjoy your kiwifruit with some chicken or seafood. You stand to get an impressive 166.9 mg of vitamin C or 185.4% DV of the nutrient from one cup of sliced raw green kiwifruit.8
1 cup of litchis: 135.8 mg of vitamin C(150.9% DV)
Called litchis or lychees depending on which part of the world you live in, these red-skinned fruits need to be peeled to reveal the soft, fleshy, creamy white interior. A cup of litchis has 135.8 mg of vitamin C – that’s 150.9% DV.9 You can make a wonderful summery litchi lemonade with litchis or use them in tarts, sorbets, or parfaits. You could also make a litchi sweet and sour sauce or chutney and use it in a variety of recipes for chicken or seafood.
1 cup of strawberries: 97.6 mg of vitamin C (108.4% DV)
The bright red, unmissable zing a strawberry adds to a plate is absolutely worth it! And let’s not forget the C quotient. This berry has 97.6 mg of vitamin C, which is about 108.4% DV per cup of sliced berries. Prefer using strawberry puree? That’s even better! One cup of strawberry puree has 136.4 mg of vitamin C, which is 151.6% DV.10 Make teatime special with chocolate covered strawberries or Wimbledon inspired strawberries and cream. Strawberry shortcake, strawberry brownies, strawberry tarts, strawberry yogurt, or a glorious strawberry and fresh cream cake are other evergreen ways to use those berries. Indulge in a special breakfast meal of chocolate crepes with sliced strawberries sandwiched in its oozy innards. If you’re trying to do something a little different for main meals, how about a salad with some balsamic drizzled over the berries or strawberry glazed pork chops?
7. Citrus Fruits
Interestingly enough, a couple of really great fruit sources of vitamin C are what you might not think of intuitively as fruits. Red and green peppers are formidable sources of the nutrient, containing 190.3 mg (211.4% DV) and 119.8 mg (133.1% DV) of vitamin C respectively.1112 Tomatoes have 24.7 mg of vitamin C or 27.4% DV of the vitamin per cup of the chopped fruit.13
Were you beginning to wonder why the most obvious addition to the list hadn’t featured yet? While widely celebrated for their high vitamin C content and certainly very rich in the nutrient, citrus fruits actually have less of the nutrient than the fruits before them on this list! That said, you can count on citrus fruits to give you plenty of vitamin C, so feel free to stock up on those tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, and even kumquats.
Use them in pies, breakfast juices, pavlovas, cakes, and more. Even salads and salad dressings perk up with the addition of wedges of the flesh or a drizzle of citrus-laced dressing. If you prefer using citrus juices, consider soaking your baked cakes with them. You could also make vinaigrettes for a fresh salad or glazes for roast meats. Or how about a delightful herby citrus dip to dunk seafood in? If you’re unsure about which citrus fruits are the best sources of vitamin C, here’s how they stack up:
- Oranges, 1 cup: 95.8 mg (106.4% DV)14
- Grapefruit (pink/red), 1 cup: 71.8 mg (79.8% DV)15
- Kumquats, 1 cup: 65.9 mg (73.2% DV)16
- Tangerines, 1 cup: 52.1 mg (57.9% DV)17
- Lemon juice, 1 lemon: 18.6 mg (20.7% DV)18
- Lime juice, 1 lemon: 13.2 mg (14.7% DV)19
1 cup of papaya: 88.3 mg of vitamin C (98.1% DV)
The tropical papaya is a quick and easy fruit to use in a fruit salad or sweet and sour salsa. The ripe fruit makes its way into smoothies, jams, and popsicles effortlessly. If you’re up for something more adventurous, try grilling some at your next barbecue or pairing with tuna, scallops, or your favorite seafood. One cup of the cubed fruit meets 98.1% of your DV with about 88.3 mg of vitamin C. If you decide to use a cup of the mashed fruit, as you might in ice creams, granitas, smoothies, juices, or lollies, it gives you 140.1 mg or 155.7% DV to the cup full.20
1 cup of pineapple chunks: 78.9 mg of vitamin C (87.7% DV)
Tropical fruits like pineapple have the power to whisk you away to exotic beach locales. Serve up delicious fresh pineapple juice out of a scooped pineapple, make a delicious fragrant pineapple rice to go with your grilled meats and seafood, or use pineapple in your next batch of salsa for something a little more Hawaii and a little less mundane! Pineapple goes well with most seafood – which is why a lot of tropical island recipes seem to combine them. If you’re in the mood for something further east, how about an Asian style beef or pork recipe that uses pineapple to perfection? Or a quick and easy dessert of grilled pineapple dunked in boozy chocolate sauce? A cup of pineapple chunks has 78.9 mg of vitamin C, which is about 87.7% DV.21
1 cup of cantaloupe: 65 mg of vitamin C (72.2% DV)
The inviting mellow orange of the cantaloupe and the promise of that juicy sweetness are enough to have anyone reaching for a bowlful of the fruit. You don’t really need to do much to a cantaloupe melon – it shines on its own. But to fancy things up a bit, you could scatter some mint leaves over a bowl of the cubed or balled fruit or add some fresh or crystallized ginger bits or even a twist of lime. One cup of the balled fruit gives you 65 mg of vitamin C or 72.2% DV.22If you’re itching to try it in more ways, incorporate it into your baking – cakes, muffins, and cupcakes can work quite well with the fruit. Or really go left off center and crumble some cheese over it as you serve it up with shredded basil as a side salad. Convert it into a spicy-sweet salsa by adding in some finely diced chilies or jalapenos and herbs; or combine it with cucumber, white wine vinegar, shallots, basil, and garlic to make a cool cantaloupe gazpacho.
1 cup of mango: 60.1 mg of vitamin C (66.8% DV)
Another tropical fruit that makes this list is the crowd pleaser mango. A cup of chopped mango has 60.1 mg of vitamin C, which means you get about 66.8% DV of the nutrient from this serving.23 Thai style sticky rice with mango or coconut mango puddings are a treat for the palate. If sweet isn’t your thing, a mango salsa or mango chutney to go with your meats can be a wonderful introduction to the fruit. For main meals, a black rice and avocado with mango salad can be filling and healthy too. Breakfast staple avocado toast can benefit from a few slices of mango and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. If you prefer your snacks and meals on the go, a homemade mango lassi with fresh yogurt and honey can be great.
1 cup of gooseberries: 41.5 mg of vitamin C (46.1% DV)
The pale green, tart berry may not really come to mind when we think of berries, but it is a great source of vitamin C too! These seasonal fruits can be converted to jams and jellies for year-round use. When they’re fresh, try making gooseberry chutneys to go with your seafood meal or make a gooseberry fool for dessert. It is sure to turn a few heads at the table! There is 41.5 mg or 46.1% DV of vitamin C per cup of the berries.24
References [ + ]
|1, 3.||↑||Vitamin C. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|2.||↑||Vitamin C. Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|4.||↑||Labeling Daily Values. National Institutes Of Health.|
|5.||↑||Acerola, (west indian cherry), raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|6.||↑||Guavas, common, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|7.||↑||Currants, European black, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|8.||↑||Kiwifruit, green, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|9.||↑||Litchis, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|10.||↑||Strawberries, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|11.||↑||Peppers, sweet, red, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|12.||↑||Peppers, sweet, green, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|13.||↑||Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|14.||↑||Oranges, raw, all commercial varieties. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|15.||↑||Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|16.||↑||Kumquats, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|17.||↑||Tangerines, (mandarin oranges), raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|18.||↑||Lemon juice, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|19.||↑||Lime juice, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|20.||↑||Papayas, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|21.||↑||Pineapple, raw, all varieties. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|22.||↑||Melons, cantaloupe, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|23.||↑||Mangos, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
|24.||↑||Gooseberries, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.|
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.