Vitamin C: Healthy or Hype?

Tuesday March 31, 2020

Vitamin C: Healthy or Hype?

Vitamin C is a controversial topic when it comes to keeping you healthy. Will it increase your immunity to help fight off colds and flus? If a little bit of vitamin C is good, are megadoses better? The jury is still out of these theories but here is what we do know about vitamin C.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body cannot store this vitamin. You need to eat vitamin C-rich foods every day. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant, which may help the body protect itself from free radicals that can damage the body. Free-radicals may play a role in heart disease, cancers, and other chronic diseases.

Vitamin C also helps form collagen which is a fibrous tissue in the body and helps to keep skin, nails and hair healthy and strong. It also plays a role in helping the body in the healing process.

How much vitamin C is needed to keep the body healthy? Adult men need 90 mg and women need 75 mg. What does that mean in terms of food? One medium orange has ~70 mg vitamin C. Actually, most people think that oranges have lots of vitamin C when strawberries have 98 mg and a red bell pepper has 152 mg! Overall, fruits and vegetables are your best source of vitamin C. Think color! The more vibrant in color your fruits and vegetables are, the more vitamins and minerals they typically contain. Your body always absorbs nutrients better from real food than supplements, so aim for real food first. Supplements up to 1000 mg are considered safe. Doses above that can cause gastrointestinal distress.

So, is vitamin C going to be the cure all to keep you from getting sick? Probably not but eating high vitamin C containing foods is certainly not a bad thing to do.


1 medium orange: 70 mg

1 cup chopped pineapple: 79 mg

1 cup broccoli: 81 mg

1 cup strawberries: 98 mg

1 medium red pepper: 152 mg


Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus