How to Boost Your Vitamin-C: Snacks & Smoothies
For athletes in training, fitness buffs, and anyone interested in staying active and keeping their body healthy, getting plenty of vitamin C is a priority. But what's the best way to do this?
As it turns out, there are some super-easy and delicious ways of getting your recommended dose of vitamin C every day. And we'll share these with you here! But first, let's get clear on how vitamin C helps us stay healthy and fit.
The Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Most importantly, vitamin C plays a vital role in keeping the immune system healthy. By boosting immunity, it helps us prevent or recover more quickly from a cold, flu, or any other illness. Other key health benefits of vitamin C include:
Supports wound healing
Is a powerful antioxidant
Enhances the health of tendons and ligaments
Helps repair and restore damaged tissues
Promotes healthy and beautiful skin
Supports the absorption of other nutrients
Protects heart health
Basically, every part of your body benefits from getting adequate amounts of vitamin C. While it's possible to take a vitamin C supplement (in powder or capsule form), it's more beneficial to get vitamin C directly from the foods that you eat. So, which foods are best in terms of their vitamin C content?
Foods That Are Highest in Vitamin C
The food categories that are highest in vitamin C are the fruits and vegetables. So if your diet includes an abundance of fresh organic fruits and veggies, chances are good that you're already getting a fair amount of this essential vitamin.
But not all fruits and vegetables are equal when it comes to providing this kind of nutritional benefit. So, here's a list—perfect for keeping on your phone or posting on your refrigerator—of some of the foods that are highest in vitamin C potency:
Sweet red pepper
Sweet green pepper
Hot green chili pepper
Hot red chili pepper
Pink grapefruit juice
Now that we're clear on the importance of vitamin C, and which foods provide the most concentrated doses, let's explore how you can incorporate this nutritional guidance into your active lifestyle.
Power Your Hike with Vitamin C
Heading out for a long bike ride or day-hike? Or perhaps an overnight backpacking trip? Bring along one or more of these easy-to-pack snacks for your vitamin C boost:
A couple of oranges
A bag of dried black currants (similar to raisins, but smaller)
A Tupperware of fresh pineapple chunks
A thermos of lemonade or grapefruit juice
Some pieces of raw cauliflower and/or red pepper spears
Go Tropical with Your Smoothies
For a delicious and nutritious pick-me-up, is there anything better than a smoothie? As you've probably figured out, the sky is the limit in terms of possible smoothie combinations.
While the possibilities are nearly endless, some of them do a much better job than others of providing vitamin C. The basic guideline when choosing fruits to include in your smoothie for maximum vitamin C potency is this:
Start with strawberries and then go tropical!
Strawberries pack a powerful vitamin C punch—but even more potent are tropical fruits such as guava, mango, pineapple, kiwi and papaya. So, have fun experimenting with various combinations of these vitamin C superheroes! Find the flavors that are most pleasing to you—and then know, as you're blissfully sipping, that you're receiving all the health benefits (enhanced immunity, tissue healing, beautiful skin, etc.) that vitamin C offers.
Supercharge Your Smoothie with Camu-Camu
What's the most beneficial add-in to your smoothie, in terms of vitamin C dosage? It's the rainforest fruit camu-camu—renowned as being the most potent food-source vitamin C on the planet!
Camu-camu is available primarily in its powdered form, which makes it perfect for blending into smoothies. On its own, its taste is quite sour, but when mixed with some sweet mango, strawberries and pineapple …. Yum!
Bring On The Summer!
Cantaloupe or honeydew chunks are a delicious summertime treat, and a great source of vitamin C. The high water content of these melons also offers much-needed hydration for hot summer days, or anytime you are sweating a lot and hence losing vital fluids. Melons can help replenish the water as well as the electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) lost via perspiration.
Melons also make elegant and delicious cold soups—perfect for summer buffets or post-workout lunches. This chilled cantaloupe soup blends the juice of oranges and lemons with the sweet melon—a combination supercharged with vitamin C.
Veggie Options for Boosting Vitamin C
While a majority of vitamin C boosting foods are fruits, there are some vegetables that hold their own, and make a great compliment when you're in the mood for something more savory instead of sweet.
For a nutritious lunch before your ball-game or hike; or when you're winding down for a quiet evening at home, consider these vitamin C rich vegetable dishes:
* A stir-fry made with broccoli, cauliflower, sweet red pepper and fresh tomatoes; with some frozen peas tossed in at the end. For an additional dose of vitamin C, stir-fry the veggies in oil spiced with red or green chili pepper.
* Simple steamed kale, with sliced tomatoes added into the pot at the very end. Drizzle with browned butter and a splash of lemon or lime juice.
* Oven-roasted brussels sprouts. Simply toss the washed sprouts in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and/or other favorite spices, and bake for 40 minutes or so, stirring the sprouts at least once midway.
By including a variety of vitamin C infused fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, you'll ensure that your body receives all the health benefits of this vital nutrient.
Questions or comments? Please feel free to leave one in the comments section below!
*Please consult with a medical professional if you have any medical issues that may be affected by the suggested activities.