Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble micronutrient that our bodies do not naturally produce which means that we need to get it from our diet.
But don't fret, we're here to tell you all about the vitamin C food you should be eating to reap all the benefits.
Health benefits of vitamin C
You might not realise it but there are a lot of benefits of vitamin C!
"Vitamin C has antioxidant properties, due to its ability to decrease reactivity oxygen species, and is involved in many important biological processes - including hormone synthesis, collagen synthesis, genetic regulation, and increased absorption of iron," explains Dr Claire Shortt, Lead Scientist and Nutritionist at FoodMarble. "It plays a vital role in the growth and repair of tissues, contributing to wound healing, and cartilage, bone, and tooth repair and maintenance."
Vitamin C also helps boost immunity to help fight infection, and can also have pro-oxidant activity at higher concentrations, which has been shown to be effective as an anticancer agent.
Vitamin C and mental health
It may be surprising, but studies have found that people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel low and fatigued. When these same people upped their vitamin C, they found their mood improved.
While more research is needed to support this, it's certainly another positive to keeping an eye on how much vitamin C you're getting.
What is the best vitamin C food?
The recommended intake of vitamin C is 75mg for women and 90mg for men.
"Luckily, getting enough vitamin C from our diet is very doable once we know where to find it," Dr Claire reassures. "It's found in many foods but fruits and vegetables are particularly rich sources."
Sources of vitamin C food
Vitamin C is found in:
• Oranges - "Just one large orange or one cup of orange juice can get you to your daily target," says Dr Claire.
• Strawberries - Oone cup also hits your daily target.
• Peppers - In fact, red peppers have more vitamin C than oranges!
• Brussels sprouts
What are the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency?
Vitamin C deficiency is rare but can occur when we don't consume enough of it in our diet. "Certain groups are also more at risk of a deficiency including smokers, those with IBD who have nutrient absorption issues, people who eat a restrictive or low-quality diet or those who suffer from alcoholism," says Dr Claire.
In the US, it affects around 7 per cent of people. "As vitamin C is needed for many important processes across the body it can lead to a variety of symptoms including fatigue, easy bruising, and muscle and joint pain. Persistent lack of vitamin C (at least 3 months) can lead to a condition called scurvy which can cause poor wound healing, swelling and bleeding of your gums, skin conditions, anaemia, poor immunity and bone health."