Many of us try to increase our intake of vitamin C in the winter months, since we think it helps our immune system fight colds and infections. While scientists are still debating whether vitamin C is a foolproof cold remedy, none of them question vitamin C’s role in general health.
Vitamin C’s antioxidant power fights free radicals that can damage our DNA and increases collagen production to repair various tissues in our bodies, such as tendons, blood vessels and skin. It also helps us absorb iron, and vitamin C has been shown to help some people get over a cold more quickly and recover from intense exercise.
The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg for most women. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding the RDA jumps up to 85 and 120 mg, respectively.
But since our bodies cannot store vitamin C, we need to obtain it regularly from our diet. While oranges and other citrus fruits are a great source, you may be surprised to hear that they aren’t the only way to get your daily recommendation.
Here are five versatile vegetables that pack an unexpected dose of vitamin C, plus some creative recipes to try for your next meal!
Brightly colored cabbage makes a beautiful and crunchy addition to salad, tacos, and sandwiches. Make it into a healthy slaw, or try the below chopped salad recipe!
Vitamin C per Cup: 50 mg
Recipe to Try: Over-the-Rainbow Cabbage Salad With Lemon Tahini Dressing
This cruciferous vegetable has been popping up everywhere in the culinary world, from “caulirice” to cauliflower “steaks” to mashed “potatoes.” Avoiding grains? Try it as a crust for pizza!
Vitamin C per Cup: 51 mg
Recipes to Try: Grain-Free Cauliflower Crusted Pizza
Creamy Non-Dairy Cauliflower Soup
As part of the cabbage family, broccoli is a versatile veggie, able to be prepared with a variety of ingredients. The below recipe incorporates one of its classic counterparts (cheese!) into a healthy and tasty bite-sized fritter.
Vitamin C per Cup: 81 mg
Recipe to Try: Cheesy Broccoli Bites
We roast them, sauté them, or pair them with bacon, but have you tried brussels sprouts shredded and paired with butternut squash? This recipe is as flavorful as it is unique.
Vitamin C per Cup: 74 mg
Recipe to Try: Butternut Squash Noodles With Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Walnuts and Caramelized Onions
Perhaps to be expected, this superfood green of the moment has loads of vitamin C. For a less fibrous take on kale, try the deeply colored version known as black kale or cavolo nero. Try it in a simple but healthfully well-rounded rice bowl.
Vitamin C per Cup: 80 mg
Recipe to Try: Kale Rice Bowl