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Best Sources of Vitamin C

Platter full of citrus fruits packed with vitamin C

If you know about vitamins, you probably think you have a good understanding of vitamin C. But how much do you really know about vitamin C? Besides oranges and other citrus fruits, you may not know which foods are some of the best sources of Vitamin C, or why you even need vitamin C in your diet in the first place. Let’s dive into vitamins 101: First stop, vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. This means it dissolves in water and is delivered throughout the body when you ingest it, but you don’t store it in the body long-term. This is why it’s important to meet the daily recommended intake for vitamin C through a healthy diet and, when needed, dietary supplements.

Vitamin C is very important to our bodies because it plays roles in several vital functions. It is needed to make collagen, which is a protein in connective tissue that is in your skin and throughout your body. Plus, vitamin C helps make several hormones and chemical signals throughout the brain and nerves.i It is also an important antioxidant. As you can see, vitamin C is quite the heavy lifter. 

What are the best sources of Vitamin C?

Many people already know that citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C. However, there are additional sources of vitamin C that we can add to our diets, like red sweet peppers. Try some of the following foods that contain vitamin C:ii

  • ½ cup red sweet peppers – 95 mg per serving, 106% daily value (DV)
  • Citrus fruits, including orange, grapefruit, kiwi – between 39-70 mg per serving of fruit, 43-78% DV
  • ½ cup strawberries – 49 mg per serving, 54% DV
  • ½ cup green sweet peppers – 60 mg per serving, 67% DV
  • ½ cup broccoli – 39 mg per serving, 43% DV
  • ¾ cup tomato Juice – 33 mg per serving, 37% DV
  • 1 medium baked potato – 17 mg per serving, 19% DV
  • ½ cup spinach, cooked – 9 mg per serving, 10% DV

Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C content may be higher in uncooked foods because vitamin C is destroyed over time by heat.ii You can also get additional vitamin C from multivitamins or dietary supplements, like Emergen-C Daily Immune Support* fizzy drink mix or gummies.* 

How much vitamin C do you need each day?

The amount of vitamin C each person needs can vary by age and gender. Generally, children need less vitamin C than adults. Adult men need approximately 90 mg a day and women need 75 mg.

Dietary reference intakes for vitamin C include:iii

Children 4–8 years

25 mg

Children 9–13 years

45 mg

Teens 14–18 years (boys)

75 mg

Teens 14–18 years (girls)

65 mg

Adults (men)

90 mg

Adults (women)

75 mg

Pregnant women


Breastfeeding women


With this knowledge about the best sources of vitamin C in hand, you can modify your diet and add more vitamin C. Or, if you're already eating plenty of these foods, continue on with confidence. If you're wondering if you're getting enough of certain vitamins for your age and lifestyle, reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider. They can assess you to make sure you're getting the vitamins you need and help develop a plan if needed. Learn more about vitamin C, commonly asked questions, health topics and immune health 101 on our site.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


i. Vitamin C. Harvard School of Public Health. Accessed 6/14/21.

ii. Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Professionals. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 6/14/21.

iii. Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 6/14/21.