This article is reviewed by an expert
Vitamin C is perhaps the most popular of all vitamins and supplements, best known for its role in supporting healthy immune function. However, there’s a lot more to this nutrient than you might think. The water-soluble vitamin is best obtained from natural dietary sources, rather than supplements and it is mainly found in fruits and veggies. Including a wide range of these plant-based foods in your diet is therefore the best way to boost vitamin C intake. Getting adequate amounts of vitamin C from food daily is important because it cannot be stored in your body – since it is water-soluble, any excess vitamin C is eliminated from the body in urine. Before you explore the list of vitamin C rich foods in India, find out why it’s so important.
Importance And Benefits Of Vitamin C
The main benefits of vitamin C include:
- It is a powerful antioxidant, also known as ascorbic acid, that can protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress .
- Vitamin C is essential for your body to produce collagen, which is a protein that forms the structure of your skin, bones, blood vessels and other tissues .
- It supports iron absorption from plant sources, which is important for the prevention of iron deficiency anaemia .
- It boosts your immune system and may help prevent or treat infections such as the common cold .
- It may help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease by improving your blood vessel function and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels .
- It may help prevent or delay the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration by protecting your eyes from UV damage and inflammation .
The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men . You can also take vitamin C supplements if you have a deficiency or a higher need due to illness or injury. However, you should not exceed the upper limit of 2000 mg per day as it may cause side effects such as diarrhoea, nausea and stomach cramps .
Best Sources Of Vitamin C
You can boost your dietary intake of this essential nutrient by adding some of the best vitamin C rich foods in India. Here are the top 5 vitamin C rich foods.
- Indian gooseberry (Amla): This sour fruit has a whopping 700 mg of vitamin C in a single fruit, which is more than any other natural source . You can eat it raw, make juice, pickle, or jam out of it.
- Green chili peppers: Each of these crunchy and sweet peppers has about 109 mg of vitamin C, giving you over 100% of your daily requirement . You can add them to salads, stir-fries, soups, or sandwiches for a burst of flavour and nutrition.
- Guavas: These tropical fruits have about 228 mg of vitamin C per 100 gm . They are also rich in fibre and antioxidants. You can eat them raw, make juice, smoothies, or desserts out of them.
- Lemons: This tangy and sour fruit was actually used to treat vitamin C deficiency-related disorders in sailors in the past. A single lemon contains 45 mg of vitamin C, giving you half of your required daily intake .
- Oranges: These juicy and tangy fruits have about 53 mg of vitamin C per 100 gm . They are also a good source of thiamine and folate. You can eat them raw, make juice, marmalade, or cakes out of them.
Chemical Structure of Thiamin
Effects Of Vitamin C Deficiency
Vitamin C deficiency can cause a range of symptoms and health problems, including:
Impaired collagen production causes keratin to build-up on the skin, creating rough bumps, while also reducing skin elasticity and hydration to cause dry skin. The adverse effects on collagen production also means that your skin can bruise more easily .
Vitamin C deficiency can lower your body’s ability to fight off infections and diseases. You may become more prone to catching colds, flu, pneumonia, or other illnesses .
Vitamin C deficiency can weaken the gums and cause them to bleed easily, which also increases the risk of gum inflammation and infection . At the same time there is a higher risk of tooth decay and reduced tooth stability.
Hair And Nail Health
Vitamin C deficiency can affect the structure of hair and cause it to grow in twisted or coiled shapes. Deficiency in the vitamin also affects nail growth, causing them to become misshapen and weak .
Because of vitamin C’s role in iron absorption, any deficiency increases the risk of iron deficiency anaemia. In addition, it can cause scurvy, a severe vitamin C deficiency that results in bleeding from various parts of the body, bone loss, depression and other symptoms .
Although fruits are among the best sources of vitamin C, there are many vegetables that also contain a good amount of the nutrient. This vitamin C foods list is not comprehensive and it is best to include a wide range of fruits and veggies, including leafy greens to boost vitamin C intake.