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Vitamin C - the all-rounder for your health

Most of us think of vitamin C - also known as ascorbic acid - of lemons and oranges. There are completely different foods that contain even more vitamin C. You can find out what these are, what our body needs the all-round vitamin for and how you can meet your daily needs in our blog post today.


What does our body need vitamin C for?

The wisdom of all grandparents at the first tingling in the nose or hoarseness: "Child, express yourself a lemon!" Because vitamin C supports your immune system and boosts your immune system - even if you know today that in a lemon, compared to other fruits , not that much of the vitamin bomb. More on that later when we take a closer look at the best sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is primarily known as a radical scavenger and antioxidant. It intercepts cell-damaging oxygen compounds in the body, which arise during metabolic processes through nicotine, medication or UV radiation. In addition, your body needs the vitamin for numerous metabolic processes, for example to rebuild connective tissue as well as certain messenger substances and  Hormones  (Sex, thyroid, stress and growth hormones). Two other positive effects: As in our last blog post on the topic "Iron - the trace element of life"  explains, vitamin C improves the absorption of iron if it is ingested 30-60 minutes before or after foods rich in iron. This is particularly important for vegetarians and vegans, as certain substances, e.g. B. contained in cereals or legumes, the iron absorption is inhibited. Furthermore, ascorbic acid helps to make carcinogenic compounds from food harmless.

It is interesting that most living things can produce vitamin C themselves - but we humans cannot! It is therefore important that we consume a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables so that we do not get scurvy like we did in the 15th century.

What foods can you use to meet your daily vitamin C needs?

Fortunately for us today it is mostly possible to easily meet the vitamin C requirement. According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), the recommended intake of vitamin C in adolescents aged 15 years and over and adults is between 90 and 110 mg per day.

Vitamin C mg / day
0 to under 4 months
4 to under 12 months
1 to under 4 years
4 to under 7 years
7 to under 10 years
10 to under 13 years
13 to under 15 years
Adolescents and adults
15 to under 19 years
19 to under 25 years
25 to under 51 years
51 to under 65 years
65 years and older
Pregnant women


If you smoke, you need an extra portion: Because nicotine has a lower concentration of nicotine in the blood. In this case, the DGE therefore recommends a daily intake of 135 mg for smoking women and 155 mg for smoking men. Antibiotics, birth control pills, cortisone, pain relievers and antidiabetics can also increase vitamin C consumption. Pregnant women should have at least 105 mg and breastfeeding women 125 mg ascorbic acid.

These numbers sound nice and good, but how can the demand be covered? Do you have to eat lemons and oranges all day? No! Because vitamin C is much more abundant in other foods: Various types of fruit and vegetables as well as herbs from local regions such as rose hips, red peppers and parsley surpass imported classics.

Below is an overview of high vitamin C sources:

Content per 100 g
1,700 mg
1,250 mg
Sea buckthorn berry juice
265 mg
273 mg
177 mg
100 mg
80 mg
55 mg
Lemon / lemon juice
53 mg
50 mg
40 mg
10 mg


Vegetables / herbs
Content per 100 g
159 mg
Wild garlic
150 mg
Red pepper
140 mg
Brussels sprouts
110 mg
105 mg
110 mg
93 mg
65 mg
Potatoes (cooked)
10 mg

As you can see from the tables, it's actually pretty easy to get your daily vitamin C intake. But be careful: Vitamin C is quite sensitive to long storage times, light and heat. In addition, it is water-soluble and therefore easily passes into the cooking water. Accordingly, you should process vitamin C-rich foods promptly, ideally enjoy them raw or steam them only very briefly and with a little water.

How do you notice a vitamin C deficiency?

But what if you just can't manage to eat enough fruits and vegetables? Then there can be a vitamin C deficiency. This is expressed, for example, by the following symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • sleep disorders
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • limited performance
  • increased susceptibility to infections
  • increased tendency to bleed
  • disturbed collagen formation
  • Edema
  • delayed wound healing
  • depressions

What are the symptoms of a vitamin C overdose?

We can usually put up with the consumption of around 1 g of vitamin C per day through food. Overdosing is hardly possible because excess ascorbic acid is excreted. However, those who consume more than 3 g daily may have to expect undesirable side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and gastrointestinal complaints.

Our “frozen” tip at the end

As you have learned, vitamin C is very sensitive and can decompose through light and heat. For example, peas lose over 40 percent of vitamin C in the refrigerator within two days of harvesting, and as much as 80 percent for leaf spinach. We therefore recommend that you eat fruit and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, preferably fresh, and not store them for long. Incidentally, anyone who demonizes frozen goods is wrong: vegetables and fruit that are frozen immediately after harvesting often contain more vitamins and other valuable ingredients than fruit and vegetables from the supermarket.

No matter whether fresh or frozen: Enjoy your vitamin C-rich fruit and vegetables and prepare a delicious fruit salad or smoothie from the above-mentioned fruits!

Bon appetit and greetings,

 Your Sanhelios team