When we think of vitamin C we usually think of oranges. But, with the dogged pursuit of new superfoods, many foods are dwarfing orange’s paltry 50 milligrams per 100 grams. In fact, on a ranked list published on Wikipedia, oranges just barely make it into the top 25. Here now are a few of the chart toppers.
Kakadu Plum – Native to Australia, chances are you won’t find these plums in Canada. But their remarkable vitamin C concentration of 3200 to 5000 milligrams per gram of fruit is the highest known on planet Earth.
Camu Camu – The fruit of this tall Amazonian Rainforest tree found in Peru and Brazil is a small reddish purple fruit, not unlike a cherry. But its nutrient values are through the roof. Due to processing limitations, these little guys are quite expensive and thus difficult to find in North America. But at 2800 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit, if you have the opportunity to try it, take it!
Rose Hip – Little fruits that come from the rose bush and traditionally used in herbal teas, jams, syrups, drinks, pies or marmalades, the health foods community started seeking them out when their high vitamin C content was discovered. At 2000 milligrams per 100 grams you can understand why.
Acerola – Grown a little closer to home than some of the superfoods on the high end of the vitamin C scale, acerola grows from the northern countries of South America to the Southern United States. They are often sour but can be sweet if special attention is given during growth. In a test examining U.S. domestic fruits for antioxidant potency acerola claimed the top spot; likely due to its 1600 milligrams per 100 grams of vitamin C.
Seabuckthorn Berry – Tiny, soft, juicy berries from the deciduous seabuckthorn shrub, that grows wild at high altitudes in and around the Himilayas. These little berries contain 695 milligrams per 100 grams of fruit but are quite sour and astringent and are rarely eaten raw. Seabuckthorn berries also contain saturated and polyunsaturated fats which are often used in the cosmetics industry.
Jujube – No, not the chewy little candies, jujube is also in the buckthorn family along with seabuckthorn. The plants were first domesticated in India but have a long history in Chinese and Korean traditional medicines. Jujube weighs in at an impressive 500 milligrams per 100 grams of vitamin C; ten times that of an orange.
Blackcurrant – Because of their rich vitamin C content (200 milligrams per 100 grams) the British began cultivating blackcurrants during World War II because other sources were difficult to import. They are also grown in some of the northern states in the US. Both delicious and highly nutritious blackcurrants are a real treat if you can find them.
Red Pepper – One of the more popular of the high vitamin C foods, red peppers are found in every grocery store in Canada. Although used like a vegetable, peppers are actually fruits and they’re grown all over the world, including Canada. Best known for its content of the phytonutrient capsaicin which is used as a circulatory stimulant and analgesic, red peppers are actually quite high in vitamin C, averaging 190 milligrams per 100 grams.
Parsley – Even though it seems it’s more used as a plate garnish, health observant individuals have been juicing and blending parsley for years. Parsley is loaded with chlorophyll, an excellent source of magnesium and of course, high in vitamin C. At 130 milligrams per 100 grams, parsley has almost three times the vitamin C found in an orange. So don’t leave it on your plate – eat that garnish!
Broccoli – You mom always told you to eat your broccoli because it’s good for you and she was right. Broccoli has almost twice the vitamin C as an orange and comes with a healthy side dish of cancer fighting phytonutrients. Eaten raw broccoli retains more of its vitamin C than when it’s cooked, so it’s best to only expose them to heat for a short time, leaving these little trees firm and crunchy.
The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.