A Better Way to Get Vitamin C (Besides Orange Juice!)

By Melinda Hershey, for SparkPeople

With cold and flu season in full swing, most of us are trying to do all we can to avoid catching one of the nasty viruses floating around. Some swear by vitamin C-rich orange juice for warding off disease. Although the evidence about vitamin C's illness-fighting powers is conflicting, there's no doubt that it's still a good nutrient to consume. Since the body does not produce vitamin C, you must obtain it from outside sources to create and repair skin cells and fight off the effects of damaging free radicals. If you eat your veggies, though, it's not hard to reach your daily quota, since all fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C to some degree. That's right; orange juice isn't your only option for getting this important nutrient! Which type of produce will deliver the highest amount of vitamin C per serving: Red bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, or oranges?

The Winner: Red Bell Pepper!

One serving of red bell pepper delivers a whopping 190 mg of vitamin C! Broccoli contains 132 mg, kiwi boasts 137 mg, and oranges come in last with 83 mg. According to the National Institutes of Health, the daily recommended value for vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women, so one serving of red bell pepper will more than cover your needs. The next time you feel a cold coming on, munch on some peppers instead of reaching for the orange juice! (In case you're wondering, 8 ounces of orange juice has 137 mg of vitamin C-but you're better off choosing a whole fruit or veggie instead for more fiber and less sugar.)

What's your favorite way to get vitamin C? How to you ward off illness in the winter?

Related links:
Secrets of Success: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
The 10 Healthiest Foods You've Never Tried
How Cooking Affects Your Vegetables' Nutritional Value

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