Your body needs vitamin C. That’s why herbs and vegetables that are high in vitamin C are such an essential part of a healthy diet. Find out which vegetables have the most vitamin C below.
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients in our body. Not only is it involved in building connective tissue but, as a free radical scavenger, it also protects our cells. Vitamin C is famous for boosting the immune system, which is why many people make an effort to get their recommended daily intake of vitamin C, especially during winter. Fruits are often the go-to source of this vitamin – but did you know that there are also lots of herbs and vegetables rich in vitamin C? In fact, some vegetables have even more than oranges and lemons, which at just 50 mg and 53 mg per 100 g of fruit, respectively, do not contain as much of the vitamin as you might think.
Tip: Since vitamin C is sensitive to heat, vegetables that are high in vitamin C should ideally be eaten raw. Alternatively, to keep the vitamin C content as high as possible, you can also blanch the vegetables carefully.
1. Stinging nettles
Previously considered nothing more than an unwanted guest in our garden, stinging nettles (Urtica) are actually an incredibly useful medicinal and culinary plant. Not only do they taste good, they also contain 333 mg of vitamin C per 100 g – more than six times as much as in oranges or lemons. On top of being a widely available native vegetable with the most vitamin C, stinging nettles also contain high levels of magnesium, calcium and vitamin A.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) has it all: while growing parsley is relatively easy, this delicious herb also adds that certain “je ne sais quoi“ to your cooking. And with parsley’s vitamin C content being at around 160 mg per 100 g, it should be a staple in every kitchen garden!
3. Wild garlic
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) is another vegetable rich in vitamin C. With up to a whopping 150 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, it packs a healthy punch. If you don’t grow wild garlic in your own garden, you can also collect it in spring from some woodlands. But be careful as wild garlic can also be confused with the poisonous lily of the valley and the poisonous meadow saffron.
Another vegetable that is known for being high in vitamin C is the bell pepper (Capsicum). With a vitamin C content of 140 mg per 100 g, peppers have earned their place among the vegetables rich in vitamin C. However, the vitamin C content of peppers depends on its ripeness: fully ripe red peppers have a much higher vitamin C content than green peppers.
The idea that spicy foods are healthy holds true in the case of horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). 100 g of horseradish has up to 114 mg of vitamin C. On top of being packed with vitaminc C, horseradish also contains mustard oils which have an antimicrobial effect and support the body during mild infections. This all makes it especially beneficial during the colder months.
6. Brussels sprouts
Cabbage is famous for being a very vitamin C rich vegetable and brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) are no different. In fact, at 110 mg per 100 g, brussels sprouts have even more! Brussels sprouts also contain folic acid, which is important for blood formation and cell growth, and other nutrients which boost the immune system.
Tip: The quality and taste of vegetables, as well as their content of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds, are largely determined by the plant‘s nutrient supply. So if you grow your own vegetables, make sure you give your plants the right nutrients by using a good fertiliser, such as our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food.
Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) is a classic winter vegetable. But it is not just its late harvest time and its hearty taste that make kale great to eat in winter – kale is very rich in vitamin C which makes it a healthy green addition to your winter diet. On top of having 110 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, kale is also high in protein and is a good source of potassium, magnesium and iron.
Note: If you are interested, we have another article all about vegetables high in iron.
Despite not being every child’s favourite veg, we all know broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) is very good for you. Aside from being particularly rich in carotene, vitamin B, potassium, calcium and phosphorus, broccoli contains around 95 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of veg when eaten raw.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is not only a delicious vegetable but also a medicinal plant. The essential oils found in fennel are particularly beneficial for treating gastrointestinal issues. In addition to this, the fact that this bulb-like vegetable is so rich in vitamin C, containing 93 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, makes it a real health food.
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) is not only delicious, but also super healthy. Containing around 69 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, it is great for supporting the immune system. It is also an important source of vitamin B, folic acid and numerous minerals.
Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes) makes a great, healthy snack when eaten raw. The tasty brassica contains around 62 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. It is also a good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Rocket (Eruca sativa) also has 62 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. Especially when eaten raw, the peppery plant is an ideal source of vitamin C. Rocket is also high in mustard oil, which not only gives it its slightly spicy taste, but also supports the immune system when suffering from minor infections. This makes rocket a valuable ingredient in the kitchen, particularly in winter.
13. Red cabbage
Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea convar. capitata var. rubra) adds a splash of colour to the kitchen. It is also a highly nutritious vegetable rich in vitamin C with around 57 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. Furthermore, it is an excellent source of vitamin E and anthocyanins, which act as antioxidants in the body.
There is a widespread misconception that spinach (Spinacia oleracea) has an exceedingly high iron content. Unfortunately, this is merely a myth – in fact, spinach has a fairly normal iron content compared to other iron-rich veg. It is, however, rich in vitamin C, with just under 50 mg of vitamin C hidden in 100 g of its green leaves. So, spinach may not necessarily help give us muscles like Popeye, but it certainly helps strengthen our immune system.
15. Savoy cabbage
Finally, with about 50 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, we have savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea convar. capitata var. sabauda). This tasty veg is also packed with protein – about twice as much as red cabbage. It is also a great source of iron and phosphorus.
Of course, it is not just vegetables that are a good source of vitamin C. Discover plenty of vitamin C rich fruits in our article on fruit with lots of vitamin C.