10 Foods High in Vitamin C
During pregnancy, vitamin C is a necessary ingredient for Baby's development. Here are some vitamin C-rich foods that are too good to pass up.
Rose Hip Tea
Rose hips, the reddish berries that grow on rose bushes after the bloom has died, contain almost 20 times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges. But you don’t need to start noshing on your flower garden to benefit from this rich vitamin C source. Rose hip tea is available in the herbal tea section of most grocery or health food stores. Vitamin C content varies by serving size and brand, so read labels before purchasing. The tea’s slightly tart flavor can be mellowed with a drizzle of honey—making for a soothing cup should you come down with a cold during pregnancy.
Black Currant Juice
Morning sickness making it tricky to guzzle your usual glass of morning OJ? One 8-ounce serving of black currant juice contains a whopping 200 percent of the RDI for vitamin C and its flavor—a cross between cranberry and grape juice—might be a little easier for some women to stomach.
Or maybe you’re trying to kick your soda habit now that you’re pregnant? For a healthier fizz, mix black currant juice with seltzer water—and look for juice brands made without added sugar.
One cup of halved strawberries provides 86 mg of vitamin C, or just over 100 percent of the prenatal RDI for the vitamin. These naturally sweet treats can be sliced and sprinkled over cereal or a salad (perfect when paired with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing), blended into smoothies, or even mixed with pineapple to create a refreshing
And because they are filled with fiber, strawberries have a low glycemic load, making them a good fruit choice for moms-to-be with gestational diabetes.
When green bell peppers are left on the vine, they ripen to first a yellow or orange hue, and then fiery red. As the pepper matures, its concentration of vitamin C increases: a half cup serving of green bell pepper contains 120 mg of vitamin C, yellow pepper provides approximately 135 mg of C, and red bell pepper contains 142 mg of vitamin C. No matter what color you pick, a serving of peppers is only 20 calories and also comes with a hefty dose of beta carotene, an important prenatal nutrient for Baby’s eye and central nervous system development.
Who knew your favorite pizza topping was so healthy? Take peppers from garnish to starring role in your meals with these recipes for classic
stuffed bell peppers and
chicken and pepper egg rolls.
Kale and Collards
When it comes to giving your vitamin C intake a boost, go green! Kale, collard and other leafy greens contain approximately 70 mg of vitamin C per cup, or around 85 percent of the recommended daily intake. Greens are also a good source for manganese, a trace mineral that works during prenatal development to help form bone and cartilage.
Lightly steam greens and drizzle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper for a tasty accompaniment to meals—or make greens the main dish! Try this recipe for warm and hearty
kale and potato soup or
greens and rice casserole.
Of course no list of vitamin-C rich foods would be complete without a fresh squeeze of citrus! One medium-size orange contains 50 mg of vitamin C, lemons offer approximately 60 mouth-puckering milligrams and a grapefruit half provides 36 mg of C. Citrus juices may contain anywhere from 10 mg to 65 mg of vitamin C per serving, but you may be better off sticking to whole fruit. When you eat an orange or grapefruit, you are also eating a hefty serving of fiber, nature’s way of slowing down how quickly your body absorbs sugars in fruit. Juices, even those with added pulp, tend to be rapidly absorbed—bad news if you have gestational diabetes (juice is notorious for spiking blood sugar).
Good things come in small packages! Kiwi fruits are loaded with an amazing assortment of good-for-pregnancy vitamins, including 74 mg of vitamin C, a hefty dose of beta-carotene, and as much potassium as a banana. Kiwi fruits are ripe—and at peak nutritional value—when slightly soft to the touch. Go ahead and eat the fruit as a snack (first extract the fruit from its furry skin) or add to salads. For a tangy, tropical-tasting fruit salad, try this recipe for
Cauliflower and Broccoli
Cruciferous veggies can give your prenatal diet lots of crunch and a surprising amount of vitamin C—about 45 mg of vitamin C per cup. Two nutritional powerhouses, cauliflower and broccoli are also rich in fiber and good dietary sources for calcium, magnesium and folate.
Try eating the vegetables raw, paired with a yogurt dip for added calcium and protein. Or try them steamed and drizzled with a little heart-healthy olive oil. For a tummy-pleasing soup, try these recipes for
broccoli cheddar chowder or creamy
roasted cauliflower soup.
If you’ve never been a fan of the Brussels sprout, it may be time to give this much-maligned member of the cruciferous vegetable family another try. Brussels sprouts contains an amazing 96 mg of vitamin C per 1-cup (cooked) serving, along with generous amounts of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B6, all vital to your baby’s developing brain and nervous system. If your taste buds find steamed Brussels sprouts too bitter, try this recipe for
roasted Brussels sprouts—its nutty, slightly sweet flavor will having you coming back for more.
You probably don’t need much persuading to include more of these tasty little berries in your diet. But at 30 mg of vitamin C per 1-cup serving, raspberries really are as much a health treat as they are a sweet treat for your taste buds. Raspberries can be sprinkled on top of everything from yogurt to salads, mixed in smoothies, or just eaten plain. For a little indulgence that is still—slightly—on the healthy side, try this recipe for easy-to-make raspberry tartlets.
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