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Foods High in Vitamin C: Why It Matters for Your Vision Health

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, was the first vitamin to be chemically produced. It is also a vitamin that can help with one’s vision by promoting healthy blood vessels and by helping with collagen production. Consuming an overabundance of vitamin C won’t help because the body flushes excess amounts of it.

foods high in vitamin c

What Foods Are Rich in Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a nutrient needed by your body for the development of muscle, cartilage, collagen and blood vessels, including capillaries that run throughout the inside of the eye. The recommended amount of vitamin C for adults is 90 mg a day for men, 75 mg for women and 120 mg a daily for women who are breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant should take 85 mg a day.

The following are the foods rich in Vitamin C that you should incorporate into your diet.

Acerola Cherries

Acerola cherries have vitamin C deposits 50 times higher than oranges — about 1,000 to 4,500 milligrams per kilogram. Eating three acerola fruits will provide the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of ascorbic acid (75 mg/grams).

Chili Peppers

Despite their reputation, chili peppers are powerful antioxidants containing about 143 mg of vitamin C for every 100 grams of chili peppers.

Kiwi 

Kiwi fruit has medicinal benefits and vast amounts of vitamin C — 92.7 to 104.5 mg per 100 grams of flesh.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits include lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. They grow practically anywhere and are rich in vitamin C content. For example: 

  • Orange fruit has 12.78 mg /100g of vitamin C
  • Grapefruit has 10.9mg/100g 
  • Lemon has 12.69 mg/100g 

Citrus’s antioxidant properties have also proven to be useful in food preservation.

Papaya 

The tropical climate fruit, also known as pawpaw, has various nutritional benefits. The vitamin C content in papaya is approximately 60.5 mg/100 grams of edible flesh.

Kales

Kales are among the few vegetables that contain vitamin C. In this case, kale’s vitamin C content is incredibly high, going up to 122.1 mg/100 gm if you consume it raw. The vitamin value drops if you overcook it.

Broccoli

Broccoli falls under the same family as kale. They are nutritious and contain multiple nutrients and vitamins essential for various organ functions. Broccoli usually has a vitamin c content of about 77.3 to 93 mg per 100 gm when fresh.

Black Currants

These edible berries, also known as the forbidden fruit, are a nutritional powerhouse, boasting 181 mg of vitamin C content.

Cantaloupe

The rockmelon/sweet melon/spanspek is a small-sized melon belonging to the muskmelon species. Besides reasonable vitamin C content levels, it has antioxidants and minerals.

Sweet Yellow Peppers

Unlike other peppers, sweet yellow pepper is not hot or spicy, but it does have a high vitamin C content. Each yellow pepper contains about 341 milligrams of vitamin C, more than the recommended daily intake of 75-90 mg for adults.

Guavas

Guavas are fruits from a small tree in the myrtle family, which are common in the tropics. The juicy fruits have low calories, plenty of fiber, and about 228 mg of vitamin C for 100 grams of fruit.

Rose Hips

You will find rose hip fruit below the petals of the rose plant, and it contains seeds. It has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C of any fruit, at 462 mg/100 g. 

Strawberries

Delicious strawberries come jam-packed with fiber and antioxidants, which means it is a low-calorie and cholesterol-free food. It has low levels of vitamin C.

Parsley

Mostly used as a decoration for main dishes and side dishes, parsley is nutritious on its own. A parsley salad favorite, is a healthy choice of herb for it contains several nutrients such as vitamin A and K. it also has a reasonable concentration of vitamin C (133 mg/100gm).

Mustard Spinach

Japanese mustard spinach is a versatile vegetable you can cook or eat raw as a salad. The green leafy plant contains about 39 mg/100 gm.

Brussels Sprouts

The tiny vegetable buds belong to the cabbage family and look like mini cabbages. Like other vegetables, they contain about 48 mg of vitamin C for every half cup of cooked sprouts.

Lychees

This tropical tree of the soapberry family is native to China and produces sweet juicy fruit with 71 mg of vitamin C per 100 gm of the fruit.

American Persimmons

American persimmons are only edible when they appear they are about to go rotten. They have an ascorbic acid total of 66 mg/100 g.

Kakadu Plums

Also known as the Billy goat plum, or gubinge, this small fruit is the most potent source of vitamin C among all plants. It has 100 times the vitamin content of oranges, or up to 2,900 mg per 100 grams.

Benefits of Vitamin C for Vision Health

Multiple diseases can affect your eyes, but you can prevent them by regularly eating foods rich in vitamin C, as they have shown the following benefits: 

  • Prevents cataracts
  • Helps form collagen
  • Protect from free radicals

Prevents Cataracts

These are eye conditions characterized by the formation of a cloudy substance on the lens, the clear part of the eye. Vitamin C plays a significant role in preventing eye cataracts.

The front and outer part of your eyes usually have a fluid called aqueous humor; vitamin C makes up a large percentage of it.  A decrease in these vitamin C concentrations in the aqueous humor predisposes one to cataracts. 

Formation of Collagen

Collagen is a protein fiber with various functions in your body, especially on the skin. It is also crucial in promoting eye health. A lack of collagen in the eye can predispose you to glaucoma, a condition where the nerve tissues are damaged. Typically your body will use vitamin C to form this collagen material in your eyes.

Protection from Free Radicals 

Free radicals are highly reactive and can cause damage to cells, such as macular degeneration, if it affects your eyes.

To protect yourself from this reactive oxygen species, you will need a daily intake of food rich in vitamin C. Its antioxidant properties will help counteract the effects of the free radicals.

References

  1. Vitamins for AMD. (September 10, 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  2. Acerola, an untapped functional superfruit: a review on latest frontiers. (July 2018). Journal of Food Science and Technology.

  3. The Composition and Nutritional Value of Kiwifruit. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, 2013.

  4. Determining Vitamin C content in Citrus Fruits and Non-Citrus Fruits by Titrimetric method, with special reference to their nutritional importance in Human diet. (2015). Biological Forum-An international Journal.

  5. KALE, [HISTORICAL RECORD]. (March 2018). U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  6. Vitamin C. (December 2018). Oregon State University.

  7. Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract. (March 23, 2016). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  8. Collagen: A potential factor involved in the pathogenesis of glaucoma. (September 2013). Medical Science Monitor Basic Research.

  9. Free radicals, antioxidants and eye diseases: evidence from epidemiological studies on cataract and age-related macular degeneration. (September 2010). Ophthalmic Research.

  10. A comparison of the vitamin C content of fresh and frozen vegetables. (July 1997). Unilever Food Chemistry.

  11. Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health.

Last Updated July 6, 2022

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