Fruits and vegetables are the richest vitamin C sources, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple, citrus, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi and guava have high vitamin C concentration. Vegetables high in vitamin C are green and red peppers, turnip greens, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, Brussels sprout and winter squash. Vitamin C helps the body to maintain healthy tissues and strong immunity.
Vitamin C cannot be stored by the body, thus doctors advise a daily intake of 2,000 milligrams for adults and 400 milligrams to 650 milligrams for children of varying ages. Excess intake of vitamin C results in diarrhea and stomach upsets. According to Better Health Channel from the State Government of Victoria, vitamin C aids the body in iron absorption in red blood cells to generate hemoglobin, which carries oxygen between lungs and tissues. It is also an antioxidant that blocks smoke and radiation, which cause cancer in cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. Vitamin C aids in collagen formation, which heals wounds and strengthens the skin, nerves, blood vessels and bones.
Overcooking or storing vegetables for long periods of time lowers vitamin C’s content. Nutritionists advocate for consumption of vegetables raw when possible to avoid the loss of vitamin C through cooking. Severe absence of vitamin C results in scurvy disease; its symptoms are bleeding gums, stiff joints, loose teeth, stunted bone growth, dry hair, scaly skin and slow-healing wounds. If left untreated, scurvy leads to complications like anemia, heart attacks and eventually death, according to Better Health Channel.