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The best sources of vitamin C (beyond oranges)

It's not all about oranges. Here are a few other colourful, nutrient packed fruits and veggies to fill up on this winter to help soothe the symptoms of colds and flu.

Green smoothie bowl with banana, kiwi, blueberry, granola and coconut on wooden background

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 45 mg per day of vitamin C. This is especially important during the winter months, when the dreaded colds, sniffles and sore throats are all around.

While vitamin C can’t prevent viruses and it’s not a magic cure, it may help reduce the duration and symptoms of colds and flus. Less severe symptoms and quick recovery are good reasons to get more vitamin C in your diet.

So where can you get your vitamin C? Squeezing up some fresh orange juice is great – but you might be surprised to learn that many fruits and vegetables actually contain greater amounts of vitamin C than oranges. Refresh your winter menu with these delicious alternatives and keep those cold weather bugs at bay.

“Just one kiwifruit has more than the recommended daily dietary requirement of vitamin C for an adult. This is almost double that of an orange.”

Kiwifruit

Kiwis are packed with nutrients and abundant during winter.

  • Just one kiwifruit has more than the recommended daily dietary requirement of vitamin C for an adult. A green kiwifruit contains 93 mg of vitamin C per 100 g; a gold kiwifruit has even more at 103 mg. This is almost double that of an orange, which has 50 mg per 100 g.
  • Vitamin E and antioxidants also mean kiwifruit are great for your skin, helping you glow from the inside out.
  • Kiwifruit contains the enzyme actinidin, which helps us digest protein and dietary fibre to keep our bowels regular. For extra fibre, switch your prunes for kiwi skin.
  • Actinidin can also be used to tenderise meat. Halve a kiwifruit and rub over raw meat, then leave for at least 10-15 minutes.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a delicious and versatile winter winner.

  • Broccoli has 90 mg of vitamin C per 100 g when raw and 65 mg when boiled. As vitamin C is water soluble, boiling can cause nutrients to leak out – so try steaming instead.
  • There is a small amount of calcium in broccoli (around 50 mg per 100 g) which is unusual for a vegetable.
  • Like most vegetables, broccoli is packed with antioxidants and dietary fibre. This is great for your guts as well as your overall health.

“When feeling unwell, you can’t go past a hot lemon drink. Add ginger for warmth and a touch of honey to balance the sour with sweet.”

Lemons

Lemons smell divine and complement many foods and drinks.

  • Lemons have around the same vitamin C content as oranges at approximately 53 mg vitamin C per 100 g.
  • When feeling unwell, you can’t go past a hot lemon drink. Add ginger for warmth and a touch of honey to balance the sour with sweet. The combination of vitamin C, steam and honey’s natural antibacterial properties make a highly beneficial natural fix.

Capsicum and chillies

Capsicums are a colourful addition to your shopping list.

  • The vitamin C content of capsicums is surprisingly high. A green capsicum has 80 mg of vitamin C per 100 g! And if you like it hot, chilli peppers have 143 mg per 100 g. While you might be pushed to eat that many chillis, they’re good to sprinkle into warming dishes like soup, curries and stews.
  • Red, green, yellow, orange and even dark purple capsicums are a sweet, low kilojoule pick-me-up. Try them with hummus or a yoghurt-based dip.
  • When roasting capsicums, make a few extra for packed lunches, toasted sandwiches, homemade pizzas and antipasto platters.

For more on healthy eating, contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian. With practical, tailored advice based on the latest science, they can help you to take charge of what you eat.

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