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15 foods rich in vitamin C

This vitamin has considerable antioxidant power, and may help strengthen your immune system, support connective tissues and prevent nasal congestion. Here are the foods to eat for a diet rich in vitamin C

1. Berries

Tiny powerhouses of nutrition, berries are bursting with healthy compounds, including folate, fibre and phytochemicals, which may help improve memory and reduce the risk for developing heart disease and cancer.

Among other functions, vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system and protect connective tissue. Strawberries and cranberries are good sources of this important vitamin.

2. Cabbage family

abbages are nutritional kings, as are their relatives, bok choy and brussel sprouts. Nutrient-rich and loaded with protective compounds, these members of the cabbage family may help to fight off cancer and heart disease.

Brussel sprouts supply four times the vitamin C of their cabbage cousins (97 mg versus only 23 mg for 1 cup).

For vitamin C, raw cabbage is best. But when cooking, it's best to steam, microwave or stir-fry for maximum retention of other nutrients.

3. Citrus fruits

Far from lightweights when it comes to nutritional power, citrus fruits have an abundance of vitamin C, potassium, pectin and phytochemicals that may benefit numerous conditions, including allergies, asthma, cancer, cataracts, heart disease, stroke and the common cold.

4. Kiwifruit

This fuzzy, egg-shaped fruit, in addition to providing spectacular amounts of vitamin C, is richly endowed with phytochemicals that help to boost your immune system and may stave off certain eye conditions, cancer and heart disease.

Kiwifruit is an exceptional source of this important vitamin. The antioxidant power of vitamin C is also thought to help prevent cataracts. (One kiwifruit has about 75 mg of vitamin C.)

To preserve the vitamin C content in kiwifruit, it is best to eat the fruit uncooked. If you combine kiwifruit with meat, poultry or fish, as in a salad, you should not let the mixture sit too long before serving; kiwi's enzyme, actindin, will begin to "tenderize" the animal protein and turn it mushy.

5. Melons

The subtle scent of these fragrant fruits belies the muscularity of their nutritional powers. Melons—from cantaloupe to watermelon—may help prevent acne, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, respiratory illness and vision loss.

Cataloupe and honeydew are particularly high in vitamin C, with an average of 50 mg per cup.

To best preserve nutrient content, buy melons whole. Certain nutrients, especially vitamin C, are diminished by exposure to the air.

6. Peas

Fresh, sweet garden peas are a good source of plant-based protein and nonheme (plant-derived) iron, making them an excellent food for vegetarians. Peas may help reduce the risk for developing certain cancers, depression, high cholesterol and macular degeneration.

As an antioxidant, vitamin C may protect against cataracts by fighting the harmful effects of free radicals.

7. Peppers

Sweet bell peppers and spicy chili peppers add colour and zest to your favourite dish, while offering protection against heart disease, vision loss and nasal congestion.

Peppers are a major source of this nutrient, and one cup of fresh bell peppers supplies even more vitamin C (133 mg) than 1 cup of fresh orange juice (82 mg).

8. Pineapple

Long used as a folk remedy to settle intestinal upsets and relieve constipation, this tropical fruit is also noted for its anti-inflammatory enzyme and healing nutrients, which help bolster immunity, as well as bone and cardiovascular health.

Fresh pineapple is a good source (24 mg per cup) of vitamin C, which may enhance immunity and wound healing, while also preventing heart disease and serious eye disorders.

9. Potatoes

This versatile Canadian favourite, served in its high-fibre skin, is a nourishing, satisfying source of healing compounds. Spare yourself the added calories by enjoying potatoes in their low-fat, naturally filling, unprocessed form.

Because such vast quantities of potatoes are eaten, they are a leading source of vitamin C in the Canadian diet.

10. Salad greens

Toss your salad with a variety of greens to elevate your fibre intake and antioxidant levels. Arugula, chicory, dandelion greens, escarole, radicchio and watercress offer myriad nutrients and health benefits.

Chicory, dandelion greens and watercress are especially good sources.

11. Spinach

Popeye's favourite food is not a great source of iron, but it does have a tremendous wealth of disease-fighting carotenoids and phytochemicals that team up with vitamins to help protect against cancer, high cholesterol and vision loss.

Vitamin C from spinach may help to prevent macular degeneration, osteoarthritis and stroke.

12. Sweet potatoes

Vibrantly coloured with cartenoids and filled with fibre, sweet potatoes are one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. The vitamin C in these roots may help prevent cancer, degenerative eye disease, depression and heart disease.

13. Tomatoes

Heartily indulge in phytochemical-rich tomatoes (as well as tomato products), because the nutrients in this vegetable seem to work in concert to protect against cancer (particularly prostate cancer), clogged arteries and skin ailments.

Present mainly in the jellylike substance around tomato seeds, vitamin C may protect against heart disease, respiratory infections, skin cancer and vision loss.

14. Turnips

Earthy roots, with a sweet, smoky flavour, turnips (including the yellow rutabaga) are surprisingly full of vitamin C and some essential amino acids. Complex carbohydrates and fibre add to the healing power of this cabbage relative.

Acting as a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps to control damaging free radicals and may enhance immunity.

15. Winter squash

The Halloween jack-o-lantern and its orange-fleshed relatives—acorn and butternut squash—are colourful and delicious vegetables that may help to prevent acne, heart disease and even weight gain.

Butternut is the best winter squash source of vitamin C, with just 1 cup providing 31 mg.

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