Whenever sources of vitamin C are mentioned, the first fruits people think of are citric fruits like oranges, lime, lemon, strawberry, pineapple etc. They are the common fruits all over the world known as sources of this essential vitamin, but they are not the only major sources. There are other fruits which are packed full with the vitamin, even more than these popular ones. They are also very cheap, and easily accessible.
Vitamin C which is also known as Ascorbic acid is a very important nutrient needed by the body. It is an antioxidant which helps to protect the cells of the body from the damage of toxins known as free radicals. Free radicals are gotten from processed food, cigarette smoke, air pollution, the harmful rays of sunlight etc.
These sources are:
1. Okro. Okro, also known as ladies' fingers is an important crop because it has very high nutritional values. It contains many important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, notable of which is its high content of vitamin C/ascorbic acid.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100 gram serving of okro contains among other nutrients, 299 milligrams of potassium (very good for the heart), 82 milligrams of calcium (good for the bones), then 23 milligrams of ascorbic acid.
In adult men, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of ascorbic acid is 90 milligrams; in adult women it is 75 milligrams. One 100 grams serving of okro provides close to 30% of the RDA of ascorbic acid required by the body.
2. Bell peppers. By bell peppers, I mean green pepper, red pepper, and yellow pepper commonly found where salad ingredients are sold in the local markets. These peppers are commonly used to prepare fried rice, salad, Spaghetti etc. They are packed full with different nutrients especially ascorbic acid.
Bell peppers contain double the quantity of the vitamin C found in oranges. A 100 gram serving of green pepper contains between 97.5 to 120 milligrams of ascorbic acid, which is even more than the RDA the body needs. Red pepper contains 152 milligrams while yellow pepper contains 341 milligrams.
If you eat just 1 serving of bell peppers daily, you are nourishing your body, and equipping it against diseases, and sicknesses.
3. Broccoli. This green vegetable is not so popular here in Nigeria, but it is popular among most healthy eaters, and vegetarians. It is found where salad ingredients are sold. Many people do not like it because of it's bland, metallic taste( it does not contain sugar), but it is one of the healthiest vegetables, and it contains very high quantity of the disease fighting vitamin.
It contains 132 milligrams of ascorbic acid. A diet rich in broccoli is strongly encouraged by medical experts, to keep the body in optimal shape.
4. Mango. 1 cup of mango provides 60.1 milligrams of ascorbic acid. Mangoes are tropical fruits, and are currently in season. Now will be a good time to load up on it. They are also rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is the pigment which is responsible for the yellowish-orange colour that mango has, and it is an antioxidant.
5. Kiwi. Kiwi is a popular fruit in the US. It only just started gaining popularity in Nigeria when big grocery stores like Shoprite started stocking them. It is greenish in colour. 1 cup of sliced kiwi gives you 167 milligrams of ascorbic acid, which is 273% of your RDA.
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