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How to Get More Vitamin C in Your Diet

Worried about staying healthy during this semester's cold months? Vitamin C in your diet can help. Find out which food has the most. (Hint: It's not orange.)

Which Has the Most Vitamin C?

Just keeping up with your studies in college is stressful enough—so you definitely want to avoid getting clobbered by a cold or flu if you can. What can help you keep your body going strong?

Vitamin C, that’s what. While the status of vitamin C as a single-handed cold-buster may be myth, there’s no doubt that it’s loaded with health benefits: It’s essential in helping the body create and maintain collagen, necessary for healthy hair and skin. It also helps absorb iron, develop bone structure, and keep the immune system chugging along. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for women is 75 mg/day and 90 mg/day for men, but some researchers believe you can safely boost your vitamin C up to even 500 mg/daily—and at that level, according to Harvard Health, proactive and steady intake of vitamin C may reduce the length of any cold you do catch.

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And good news: The absolute best way to get that daily dose is through delicious and nutritious fruits and veggies. The top powerhouses might surprise you—take a look at the big winners:

5. Kale

kale vitamin cIf you haven’t heard about the positive nutritional qualities of kale, you must have been living under a rock the last few years. The “eat all kale, all the time” trend isn’t going anywhere soon, and given the roughly 87 mg of vitamin C per cup that it provides, you can see why. In fact, kale has lots of nutritional benefits: This leafy green also serves up an impressive amount of vitamins A, K, and B6, as well as alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), lutein, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.

Although some enthusiasts enjoy raw kale, the full nutritional benefits can be best derived when it is broken down a bit through cooking or soaking in acidic juice (like a nice lemon dressing). Kale is also tasty tossed in frittatas or scrambled eggs, soups, smoothies (not kidding), and most casserole dishes.

4. Oranges

oranges vitamin c

The fruit most of us associate with being the vitamin C king, oranges, at #4, still pack a punch with about 96 mg of the vitamin per cup. Oranges also deliver a healthy amount of all the B vitamins, with a good dose of magnesium and potassium to boot.

Peel and eat fresh, squeeze into a cup, throw into smoothies and salads, or cook in tarts and sauces … there are endless ways to incorporate oranges into your meals.

3. Peaches

peaches vitamin c

If there weren’t enough reasons to love summer, it’s also the right time to get peaches on your plate. While a cup of fresh peaches contains about 236 mg of vitamin C, a fun fact is that canned peaches contain even more (up to four times more, in fact). In addition, these fuzzy gems deliver healthy levels of fiber, potassium, choline, and vitamin A—and they’re low in sugar.

Delicious fresh, in cobbler, over ice cream, in salads, pureed in cold soups, poached, grilled—however you decide to eat peaches, you can’t go wrong.

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