Fruits rich in vitamin C: top 15 immune boosters
Many people swear by vitamin C for strengthening their immune system and getting through the winter. But which fruit has the most vitamin C? We have selected 15 fruits with lots of vitamin C for you to include in your diet.
Hardly any nutrient is as important for the body as vitamin C: the ascorbic acid is not only involved in building up connective tissue, but also protects the body from free radicals and promotes absorption of iron. However, vitamin C is best known for boosting the immune system. It helps reduce susceptibility to colds as well as their duration. This is why many of us are mindful of our vitamin C intake, especially in winter. So which fruit has the most vitamin C? Here is our overview of the best natural sources of vitamin C.
1. Kakadu plum
With a vitamin C content of 2,300 to 3,150 mg per 100 g of pulp, Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana; also known as gubinge or billygoat plum) is very likely the fruit with the highest content of vitamin C. The green, oval-shaped fruits of the Kakadu plum are unfortunately not well known outside of Australia, so are rarely found in Europe or the US. However, interest in this unique plum is increasing. Its taste is reminiscent of apricot and plum, which is another factor for the plant’s growing popularity.
2. Camu camu
This fruit is regarded the new “superfood” from the Amazon rainforest. Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is unknown to most people but it has recently started to grow in popularity. The exotic fruit is said to not only support the immune system but also have a positive effect on the gastro-intestinal tract. It has almost 1,800 mg vitamin C and numerous other beneficial plant substances.
3. Acerola or wild crapemyrtle
A list of fruits rich in vitamin C would not be complete without acerola (Malpighia glabra). It has just under 1,700 mg per 100 g. The healthy fruit also contains provitamin A and various B vitamins. Unfortunately, the red exotic fruit is seldom found in Europe as fresh fruit. Mostly it comes as juice or dried fruit. Although this reduces the vitamin C content, acerola is still a vitamin bomb, even in its dry or liquid form.
4. Rose hips
Roses (Rosa) are a staple in many gardens. In autumn many wild rose species produce rose hips but they are rarely used. And what a shame! Hardly any other plant native to Europe has as much vitamin C. Depending on the variety, up to 500 mg of the immune system-supporting substance is contained in just 100 g of rose hips. What is more, there is a whole bunch of ways to devour these delicious wild berries. You can enjoy the fruity flavour raw or boiled to make tea or jam.
Sea buckthorn or seaberry (Hippophae rhamnoides) is teasingly referred to as the “lemon of the north” because it has a rather sour taste. However, in terms of vitamin C, seaberry outdoes lemon by far. At 450 mg per 100 g, the small fruit contains almost ten times the vitamin C content of a lemon. Sea buckthorn bears fruit from December until spring, making it the perfect winter supply of vitamin C.
Common guava (Psidium guajava) is rarely eaten fresh in Europe – unfortunately so. It has beautiful bright pink and orange colour with pleasant sweet and sour taste. And what is more, its vitamin C content is 273 mg per 100g, making guava an excellent source of nutrients and, with just under 34 kcal, a great low-calorie snack.
No other fruit native to Europe has as much vitamin C as the blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum): at just under 180 mg per 100 g, the small berries even have almost five times more vitamin C than their cousins, redcurrants. In Europe, blackcurrant is unfortunately only in season from June to August. However, it can easily be processed into jam or juice and thus be preserved for the winter months. Alternatively, store your blackcurrants in the freezer for a tasty treat in winter.
Want to cover your entire daily vitamin C supply with just one fruit? No problem with papaya (Carica papaya) – this tropical fruit contains a whopping 80 mg per 100 g. Papaya is also an excellent source of potassium. The tropical fruit can be found in Northern hemisphere supermarkets all year round so you can enjoy them through the winter season. When buying papayas, however, be careful to choose fruits that are still unripe, as they will continue to ripen even after you purchase them.
Many children wait impatiently for May, when the strawberries come back into season, and the sweet fruits can be eaten fresh from the field. Adults often cannot wait either! Fortunately, strawberries (Fragaria) are extremely healthy: with 65 mg vitamin C and just 32 kcal per 100 g, these red berries should be a part of everybody’s diet.
If you think of a fruit rich in vitamin C, you simply cannot forget lemons (Citrus × lime). The sour citrus fruit has always had a reputation for being particularly rich in nutrients. Many believe that lemon is the fruit with most vitamin C. But how much vitamin C do lemons really contain? Actually, at around 53 mg per 100 g, lemons are surprisingly average level on our list. Nevertheless, drinking some hot lemon water as a household remedy for colds will definitely not do any harm.
As well as giving you a delicious start to the day, a glass of orange juice also helps to cover your daily vitamin C intake: with around 50 mg per 100 g, this citrus fruit packs a real punch of vitamins. On top of this, orange (Citrus sinensis L.) also contains numerous minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Due to its slightly bitter taste, grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.) is not for everyone. But if you are not put off by that, you can benefit from including grapefruit in your diet. Grapefruit contains just under 40 mg of vitamin C per 100 g. Plus, its bitter substance, called naringin, also lowers cholesterol levels and can even have a positive effect on blood sugar.
Mangos (Mangifera indica) are popular for their sweet aroma. The high vitamin C content of 39 mg per 100 g is less known but makes it a very healthy snack too. Its B vitamins, vitamin E and a low concentration of acids also ensure that mangoes remain one of the most popular tropical fruits in Europe.
Whether cooked into jam or fresh from the vine – redcurrants (Ribes rubrum) are a sharp-tasting delight. Due to their low calorie and fat content, these berries are also considered extremely healthy. Of course, red currants are also high in vitamin C: on average, 100 g of the berries have 36 mg, which means that these fruits are true vitamin C bombs.
Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) were long considered to be too sour and almost inedible – but, in fact, their pleasantly refreshing, sweet-sour taste is a real treat. With a vitamin C content of 34 mg per 100 g, as well as a high vitamin A and vitamin E content, gooseberries offer a rich source of nutrients.
Fruits are not the only food to boost your immune, herbs can also have a positive effect. Learn more in our article dedicated to immune-boosting herbs.