Why You Should Eat More Vitamin C

Article posted in: Nutrition
vitamin C

Vitamin C… so often when we think of this powerful compound, our minds automatically drift to orange juice or one of those powdered packets marketed to boost the immune system. While those are certainly some sources of the water-soluble vitamin, there are so many more ways we can incorporate it into our daily lives.

First, it might be beneficial to talk about what vitamin C is and why it’s so important for overall health and the immune system. According to Medical News Today, vitamin C plays an important role in a plethora of bodily functions. From the creation of collagen and neurotransmitters to the metabolizing of proteins, the vitamin plays many roles. It has even been shown to function like an antioxidant and may decrease the risk of some cancers.

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Learn more about the health benefits of vitamin C and how to get more in your low carb diet:


vitamin C

Right there is another word we often hear but may not know much about: collagen. According to the National Institutes of Health, collagen is the main component of connective tissue and is needed for healing wounds and injuries. It’s also the most prominent protein in mammals, says Medical News Today. Vitamin C is required for the production of collagen, which is necessary for fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments, bones, blood vessels and more. Without L-ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C), so many of our body’s vital parts would break down.

Immune System

immune system

When it comes to the immune system, our bodies’ group of cells and organs that protect us from disease, vitamin C plays a pivotal role in its functionality. According to an article, published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, vitamin C has been found to “improve components of the human immune system,” helping to keep the integrity of cells and protecting us against certain chronic illnesses. In fact, the National Institutes of Health credits Vitamin C with modulating our immune system responses to help prevent and/or treat numerous health conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

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Food Sources

vitamin C

Now that we’ve outlined the basic benefits of this vitamin, let’s look at some easy ways that you can incorporate it into your meal plan. Believe it or not, oranges are not the most vitamin C-packed food source. The National Institutes of Health shows that in just half a cup serving, red bell peppers offer 95 milligrams of the water soluble compound. That is 106% of the recommended daily intake!

Of course, oranges do make the list of great food sources of vitamin C from the National Institutes of Health. However, if you are trying to lay off even the natural sugars and watch your net carbs, you could try broccoli instead. In a half a cup of cooked broccoli, you receive over half of the recommended daily intake—51 milligrams per serving. You can also pack vitamin C into your diet through the lower carb options below. With so many delicious ways to get a good dose and so many health benefits to reap, don’t hesitate to start consuming it in the foods you enjoy most!

  • Raw grapefruit juice
  • Kiwi
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower

Looking for some healthy, low carb recipes to get in your vitamin C? Check out 15 of our favorites below:

1. Stuffed Bell Pepper Tacos >

low carb tacos

Stuffed peppers and tacos unite in this low carb recipe. Dig into crunchy tacos with simple, one-ingredient taco shells made from vitamin C-rich bell peppers. Enjoy Taco Tuesday healthy-style!

2. Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry >

broccoli stir fry

Tender, marinated steak is cooked up with fresh, crisp broccoli for a 15-minute meal that’s ready in a snap. This lightened-up version of your favorite takeout is filled with nutritious, low-carb ingredients.

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3. Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry >

broccoli stir fry

Another classic stir fry that features our favorite little trees, broccoli. We pair these crunchy veggies with more red bell peppers, stir fried chicken and brown rice. Keeping things low-carb? Feel free to swap in cauliflower rice for even more vitamin C!

4. Almond Crusted Roasted Cauliflower Steaks >

vitamin C

Pump up the vitamin C in your main course with this unique, vegetarian dish. Fresh cauliflower is coated in an almond flour crust, creating a crispy, plant-based steak.

5. Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza >

cauliflower crust pizza

What kind of low carb blog would we be if we didn’t feature cauliflower crust pizza? The vitamin C-packed veggie creates a crispy crust that is perfect for holding all of your favorite toppings.

6. Cauliflower “Rice” and Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers >

vitamin C

This recipe features a trio of vitamin C sources. Bell peppers, tomatoes and cauliflower come together to form these delicious baked peppers stuffed with creamy cheese and hearty beef.

7. South Beach Coleslaw >

vitamin C

Serve up a healthy, nutrient-rich side dish that’s colorful and crunchy. This purple veggie will brighten up your dinner plate and fill you up with vitamin C.

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8. Spinach and Artichoke Quiche Cups >

vitamin C

Red bell peppers, tomatoes and spinach add texture, color and vitamin C to these grab-and-go breakfast muffins. Enjoy a nutritious and delicious breakfast as you’re running out the door on those busy mornings.

9. Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Feta and Walnuts >

salad recipes

Celebrate the arrival of summer with a seasonal salad stuffed with superfoods! This healthy salad recipe has it all: Strawberries and spinach add vitamin C, feta adds a creamy yet salty touch and walnuts deliver the satisfying crunch you love. Drizzled in a balsamic vinaigrette, this flavor-packed meal is perfect for those hot summer days.

10. Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps >

vitamin C

Tomatoes are the main course in this creamy, dreamy dinner. We serve up this simmering soup with crispy Parmesan chips that are perfect for dunking.

11. No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bliss Balls >

vitamin C

A healthy snack that tastes like a slice of gourmet cheesecake? Count us in! These cashew-based bliss balls feature freeze-dried strawberries, creating a no-bake dessert that’s packed with flavor.

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12. Strawberry Kiwi Dream Smoothie >

vitamin C

Excuse us while we dream about beach vacations and sipping on this fruity beverage! The classic berry pair are back in this creamy smoothie that tastes like summertime in a glass.

13. Cauliflower Rice Shrimp Fajita Bowl >

vitamin C

Fajitas are one of our favorite dinners here at the South Beach Diet because they contain lots of lean protein and non-starchy veggies. We take all of your favorite fajita fillings and turned them into this delicious shrimp power bowl.

14. Vanilla Berry Grapefruit Smoothie Bowl >

smoothie bowl

Smoothie bowls are a great way to turn an ordinary smoothie or protein shake into a full-on meal that’s hydrating and nutritious. We feature fresh grapefruit and frozen strawberries in this beautiful bowl of goodness.

15. Chicken Salad with Citrus >

vitamin C

Add some brightness to any ordinary chicken salad by throwing in some fresh slices of grapefruit. This seasonal salad is just what your summer menu needed.

Click here for a list of sources used in this article. >

*Always speak to your doctor before making any changes to your diet. 

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