Everyone knows that eating citrus fruits is a great way to ensure we get all the vitamin C we need. Low levels of vitamin C can lead to bleeding gums, nosebleeds, rough skin and joint problems. Vitamin C produces collagen, keeping soft tissue such as skin and muscles supple and healthy, and it also builds strong bones. Men need 95mg of vitamin C daily, and women 75mg. But what if you don’t like drinking lemon water or eating citrus fruits? Here are 10 delicious alternative sources of vitamin C to tempt your taste buds.
1. Bell peppers (60mg per serving)
With a variety of striking colors, bell peppers can be eaten raw or cooked. Crunchy slices are wonderful with a healthy dip or scattered into a summer salad. Mix with rice and other vegetables for a filling rice salad, or add them to a pasta salad. Toss them into casseroles and tagines as a filler, or stuff them with couscous, tomatoes and pine nuts and bake in the oven.
2. Tomato (23mg)
Fresh tomatoes are mouth-watering in salads, equally wonderful tossed in lemon, olive oil and basil as an Italian side dish, and also make the perfect finishing touch to the classic BLT sandwich. Use chopped, canned tomatoes as a base for hearty winter soups and refreshing summer cold soups. You can also combine them with herbs for a tasty pasta sauce.
3. Okra (13mg)
Sometimes called “Ladies Fingers”, okra can be cooked whole in a spiced tomato sauce as an accompaniment to curry, giving you a double boost of vitamin C. Alternatively, chop them and add to a Chinese-style stir fry with bell peppers, onions, water chestnuts and bean sprouts. Finish the dish with a light soy sauce dressing.
4. Kale (130mg)
Kale is a rich source of vitamin C, although be sure not to overcook it, as the goodness will leach out. Lightly steamed to preserve the maximum nutrients, kale is superb served with roast meats, salmon fillets, or meatloaf. It can also be used to make a zingy vegetable side dish if stir-fried in sesame oil and mixed with sliced root ginger, minced garlic and chilies.
5. Cauliflower (100mg)
Cauliflower contains high levels of vitamin C, and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. As a dip accompaniment or when used to add crunch to a salad, cauliflower is hard to beat. It can be steamed for a wonderful addition to a roast dinner, it’s a popular textured partner for white fish, and you can serve it in a cheese sauce with a crunchy cheese topping as cauliflower gratin.
6. Strawberries (47mg)
Ruby red strawberries capture the essence of summer, and are often best served with cream and a hint of sugar. However, they also work well in fruit salads, covered in light jelly in a fruit flan, or as an addition to pastries such as strawberry shortcake or mille feuille. Alternatively, whizz them in a blender with milk or natural yogurt and a teaspoon of honey for a refreshing smoothie.
7. Kiwi (93mg)
A single kiwi contains more vitamin C than an orange and tastes just as juicy. Slice it finely and enjoy with honeyed natural yogurt, or add it to fruit salads for a beautiful twist. It tastes divine served with fresh figs and prosciutto, or simply scoop the insides out like a boiled egg for the ultimate simple dessert.
8. Blackcurrants (180mg)
The deep skin and flesh of blackcurrants provide a fabulous helping of vitamin C. Poached blackcurrants with cinnamon cream make a simple but tasty dessert, or try some scattered on a light cheesecake or mixed into a muffin for a baked treat. Vitamin C juice is another refreshing way to enjoy them, but beware of added sugar!
9. Cantaloupe (29mg)
The refreshing, delicate taste of cantaloupe has long been a favorite during summer months. Chopped into a fruit combination or simply sliced as an addition to a fruit platter, cantaloupe is an easy choice. You can also use it in antipasti, together with Parma ham, strong goat cheese and salted crackers (to offset the sweetness).
10. Guava (250mg)
Lastly, the scented guava is a real powerhouse of vitamin C. Decant the flesh over vanilla rice pudding or flavored yogurt for a quick dessert, or add to fruit smoothies for a unique flavor.