Fruits rich in vitamin C: top 15 immunity-supporting fruits
Many people swear by vitamin C to strengthen their immune system and get through the winter well. But which fruit is highest in vitamin C? We have selected 15 types of fruit with lots of vitamin C that you can include in your diet to prevent colds in winter.
Hardly any other 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 the absorption of iron. However, what vitamin C is most known for is its role in immune defence. For example, a sufficient intake of vitamin C is said to strengthen the immune system and reduce susceptibility to colds and as well as their duration. Therefore, especially in winter, many people pay attention to a diet rich in vitamins. But which fruit has the most vitamin C? Here you will find an 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, the Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana; also known as gubinge and 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 very well known outside Australia and are therefore extremely rare to find in Europe or the US. However, interest in this unique plum is gradually growing. Not only its high vitamin C content, but also its pleasant taste, which is said to be reminiscent of apricot and plum, is responsible for the plant’s growing popularity.
2. Camu camu
This fruit is regarded as the new “superfood” from the Amazon rainforest. The Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is still rather unknown to most but it has recently started to grow in popularity. With almost 1,800 mg vitamin C and numerous secondary plant substances, the exotic fruit is said to not only support the immune system but also have a positive effect on the gastro-intestinal tract.
3. Acerola or wild crapemyrtle
With just under 1,700 mg per 100 g, acerola (Malpighia glabra) simply cannot be missing from our list of fruits rich in vitamin C. The healthy fruit also contains provitamin A and various B vitamins. Unfortunately, the red exotic fruit is seldom found fresh in Europe and is mostly available as juice or dried. Although this reduces the vitamin C content, acerola is still a real vitamin bomb even in the dry or liquid form.
4. Rose hips
Roses (Rosa) have a firm place in many gardens. Unfortunately, rose hips, which ripen in autumn on many wild rose species, are only rarely used. This is a great shame as there is hardly any other native plant in Europe with so much vitamin C. Depending on the variety, up to 500 mg of the immune system-promoting substance is contained in just 100 g of rose hips. What is more, rose hips are anything but boring in terms of taste, and their fruity flavour can be enjoyed raw or as tea or jam.
The sea buckthorn or seaberry (Hippophae rhamnoides) is often teasingly referred to as the “lemon of the north” because it has a rather sour taste. In terms of vitamin C content, however, the seaberry far outstrips the lemon. At 450 mg per 100 g, the small fruit contains almost ten times as much vitamin C as the healthy citrus fruit. Because the berries of the sea buckthorn form on the plant from December to spring, this rich in vitamin C fruit is a perfect nutrient supplement in winter.
Only rarely does the common guava (Psidium guajava) stray onto the plate in Europe. That’s a pity, because the tropical exotic has a number of benefits. It can score points not only with its bright pink or orange flesh, but also with its pleasant sweet and sour aroma. In addition, with 273 mg vitamin C per 100 g, guava is an excellent source of nutrients and, with just under 34 kcal, is a great low-calorie snack.
7. Black currant
No other native to Europe fruit has as much vitamin C as the black currant (Ribes nigrum): at just under 180 mg per 100 g, the small berries even have almost five times more vitamin C than their close relative, red currant. In Europe, the black currant is unfortunately only in season from June to August. However, it can also be easily processed into jam or juice and thus be preserved for the winter months. Alternatively, you can also store the black currant in the freezer and, in this way, have access to it whenever needed throughout winter.
Covering your entire daily vitamin C requirement with just one fruit? No problem with papaya (Carica papaya) – this tropical fruit contains a whopping 80 mg per 100 g. The papaya is also an excellent source of potassium. The tropical fruit can be found in Northern hemisphere supermarkets all year round and is therefore also suitable for the winter season. When buying papayas, however, you should 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 strawberry season finally starts again, and the sweet fruits can be eaten fresh from the field. Many adults are just as elated when the strawberry season begins. Hardly anyone can resist the aromatic temptation of strawberries. Fortunately, the strawberry (Fragaria) is 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 can’t forget lemon (Citrus × lime). The sour citrus fruit has always had a reputation for being particularly rich in nutrients. Many people think that lemon is the fruit with most vitamin C. But how much vitamin C is in lemon really? Actually, at around 53 mg, lemon is surprisingly just in the middle of our list. Nevertheless, drinking some hot lemon water as a household remedy for colds definitely won’t do any harm.
An orange juice in the morning is not only delicious, but also helps to cover the daily vitamin C intake: with around 50 mg per 100 g, this delicious citrus fruit proves to be a perfect source of vitamins. Moreover, the orange (Citrus sinensis L.) also contains numerous minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.
With its slightly bitter taste, the grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.) is not for everyone. But if you are not put off by this, you can benefit from including grapefruit in your diet. Grapefruit not only contains just under 40 mg of vitamin C per 100 g – its bitter substance naringin also lowers cholesterol levels and can even have a positive effect on blood sugar levels.
Mangos (Mangifera indica) are not only popular because of their sweet aroma – their high vitamin C content of 39 mg per 100 g means that this fruit is extremely beneficial for human health. In addition, B vitamins, vitamin E and a low concentration of acids ensure that the mango is one of the most popular tropical fruits in Europe.
14. Red currant
Whether as jam or fresh from the plant – the red currant (Ribes rubrum) with its sour taste is a delight for many. Due to its 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 has 36 mg, which means that these fruits are a true vitamin C bomb.
Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) are for many too sour and were therefore long considered to be inedible – but, in fact, their taste is pleasantly refreshing and sweet-sour. This makes them a real treat for the palate. Our health also benefits greatly from including these berries in our diets: with a vitamin C content of 34 mg per 100 g, as well as a high vitamin A and vitamin E content, the gooseberry is an exceptional source of nutrients.
If you would like to learn more about which other berry varieties are healthy and worth-growing in the garden, read here. We have also written an article on the weirdest fruit in the world, which might surprise you.