I’m sure everyone here has had their orange juice to get their vitamin C for the day. Juice is stripped of all the fiber and other good things and is loaded with sugar and calories. While that’s one way to do it, there are other healthier ways to do it that work much better. According to the National Institutes of Health, we need to get vitamin C to protect our cells from free radicals, the creation of collagen, helping you absorb iron from plants and helps the immune system protect you from disease. Notice I DID NOT say “boosts your immune system”. What most people don’t realize is that the phrase doesn’t mean what you think. It’s not a good thing. Boosting your immune system means allergies, Crohn’s Disease, asthma, and a whole host of auto immune disorders. I could go on, but that’s for another post. Loads of vitamin C also does not do anything for the common cold. The latest Cochrane review did a wonderful job of reviewing the scientific literature (so you don’t have to). After looking at a whole bunch of studies (no cherry picking), there’s not enough evidence that it works. I’d say the bottom line is: skip the supplements and the juice, and get your vitamin C through your food.
When I am adjusting a recipe, I look to add a variety of foods to bump the vitamin C content. There are two types of foods that we don’t use: tomatoes and citrus fruit. We love these foods in our house, but both Tony and I get negative effects from eating these. Again, the amounts for each food I downloaded from the USDA Food Composition Database. If you want to know how much vitamin C you need in day, the National Institute of Health has a good breakdown on their vitamin C page.
However, there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that we do use:
I use the green bell peppers the most followed by red bell peppers. I use strawberries mostly for breakfast. Pineapples I use for many of my dinner recipes. While broccoli is added as an ingredient occasionally, I mostly steam it and serve it on the side.
For those of you who are wondering about some other common ingredients:
While I don’t use tomatoes at all, I do use a little bit of citrus juice in a recipe. We just don’t eat citrus as is.
How do you like to add more vitamin C to a recipe? Let us know in the comments below!