When smeared on topically, vitamin C gives your complexion a dewy glow. Research suggests that the antioxidant can work a similar magic on your immune system. Eating an orange, or another piece of produce with vitamin C, won’t necessarily be a “fix” for a case of the common cold. But hey—desperate times call for desperate measures (and all the oranges you can eat).
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the most compelling case for using foods with vitamin C to fight colds stemmed from research published back in 2013. Twenty-nine randomized trials with over 11,000 participants found that particularly active people (like athletes, soldiers, and marathon runners) who took 200 or more milligrams of vitamin C each day were half as likely to come down with a cold. Moderately athletic people who took the same amount didn’t receive the same benefits, but the antioxidant did appear to shorten the length of their colds.
Eating all the foods with vitamin C shouldn’t be your only line of defense against the germy months ahead. During cold season, you can certainly up the 65 to 90 milligram daily recommendation to 200, but make sure you’re combatting sickness with exercise, a holistically healthy diet, and all the sleep you can get. Now that everything’s on the table, here are the foods rich in vitamin C to munch on all year round.
5 foods with vitamin C to help fight cold season
As fans of Emergen-C have taken to heart, citrus is a pretty bang-up source of vitamin C. One naval orange contains about 60 milligrams of vitamin C, while the juice of one lemon contains 53 milligrams.
Summer is tomato season. But nowadays, you can find this tasty fruit all year long. For the sake of your immune system, that’s a bonus. Chop one cup of the tomato into a bowl of pasta, and you can check off 25 milligrams of your vitamin C intake.
3. Cruciferous vegetables
If you love cauliflower gnocchi, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, adding cruciferous veggies to your plate should be a cinch for you. One cup of kale contains about 20 milligrams, so massage the power green well, and stuff it in your salads in the coming months.
Wondering if you should blend that kale into a smoothie? Here’s what a dietitian thinks:
A cup of this sweet, sweet summer fruit delivers a whopping 79 milligrams of C to your body. So even when you can no longer grab fresh ones at the supermarket, make sure to grab a bag of chunks from the frozen aisle.
Even though berries are the tiniest fruits, their vitamin C content adds up fast. For example, half a cup of strawberries comes with over 44 milligrams of the antioxidant. The same amount of blackberries will give you about 15.