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Food with the Highest Vitamin C on the Planet

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/25/2024

Vitamin C-rich foods are extremely important to incorporate into your diet if you want to support your overall health. However, most people don't understand which foods they should consume to increase their vitamin C intake.

Learn about which foods are highest in vitamin C and the best way to incorporate them into you diet.

The Powerhouse of Vitamin C - Sauerkraut

Often when we think about high-vitamin C foods, our minds jump to citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. However, these familiar sources are not the highest in this essential nutrient.

Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage dish, actually has the most vitamin C out of any food. This dish contains 700 milligrams of vitamin C per cup.

In comparison, bell peppers and oranges, which are often touted as top foods high in vitamin C, only offer around 90 milligrams each.

Comparing Vitamin C Content in Common Foods

To understand just how impressive sauerkraut's nutritional profile is, let's compare it with other commonly consumed higher-vitamin-C foods. For instance:

  • A red or green bell pepper provides approximately 190 and 120 milligrams, respectively,

  • Green chili peppers come slightly ahead at roughly 242mg per serving,

Citrus fruits such as medium-sized oranges provide only between an estimated range of 70-85 mg, nowhere near the levels found within sauerkraut.

Health Benefits from Consuming High Levels of Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as "ascorbic acid," has multiple health benefits beyond just warding off common cold symptoms.

It plays critical roles throughout the human body, including aiding wound healing, preventing tooth loss, and boosting heart health, among others, according to studies published in various journals and nutrient-related research fields.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and helps protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals associated with diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, it helps produce collagen, crucial for maintaining skin, bone, and connective tissue health and overall wellness.

Beyond physical benefits, recent research suggests mental health advantages, too, particularly for those who consume dietary supplements containing high doses of this vital nutrient.

Unleashing Probiotic Potential with Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut isn't just your average side dish. It's a nutritional powerhouse that packs high doses of vitamin C and an army of probiotics, ready to boost your health from the inside out.

Let's delve into why this humble cabbage-based food is such a superstar for our well-being.

Probiotic supplements on green background

Understanding Probiotics and Their Role in Immunity

The term 'probiotics' might sound like complex science-speak, but it simply refers to friendly bacteria living within us. These microscopic allies are vital players on our team in maintaining overall health - especially gut health and immunity.

Studies have demonstrated how these beneficial bugs can help keep harmful pathogens at bay by competing for resources or producing substances toxic to invaders. This gives our immune system extra support against illnesses - think fewer bouts of common colds.

In addition, some strains of probiotics offer specific benefits. For instance, certain Lactobacillus species, which are abundant in sauerkraut, have been associated with improved mental wellness due to their role in neurotransmitter production.

So eating lots of fermented foods could also be a good strategy for boosting heart and general mental health.

Fermentation: Nature's Nutrient Booster

You may wonder how the simple fermentation process turns ordinary cabbage into a superfood. The answer lies in the way fermenting increases the bioavailability of nutrients. That means it makes them more accessible for the body to absorb and effectively use.

In the case of raw cabbage, the amount of available vitamin C is less than its fermented counterpart because the cell walls are broken down, releasing bound nutrients.

Incorporating Sauerkraut into Your Diet for Optimal Health

From side dishes to main courses or even snacks - there are countless ways this nutrient-rich food can be enjoyed while boosting your health.

Easy Recipes Using Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a versatile ingredient that brings both flavor and nutrition benefits to any dish. Let's explore some easy recipes where our star ingredient shines:

  1. Sauerkraut Salad: This tangy salad combines onions, bell peppers (both green and red), and carrots with sauerkraut. Tossed in an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing - not only does it deliver on taste but also contributes towards boosting heart health.

  2. Keto-friendly Reuben Casserole: A casserole featuring corned beef, swiss cheese, and eggs, along with generous helpings of sauerkraut, makes for a hearty meal that aligns well with ketogenic dietary guidelines.

  3. Sauerkraut Soup: An all-season favorite combining pork ribs or sausage and potatoes generously loaded up on krauts; perfect comfort food offering protection against the common cold due to its rich source of Vitamin C.

Tips for Choosing Quality Store-Bought Sauerkraut

The convenience factor plays a heavy role when opting for store-bought variants over homemade ones. However, ensuring quality becomes paramount so as not to compromise nutritional value. Here's what to look out for:

  • Pick brands that mention the presence of live cultures on labels; these contribute significantly to gut health by providing beneficial bacteria essential for digestion.

  • Avoid those containing artificial preservatives since they may hinder fermentation, thereby reducing the availability of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C, known as ascorbic acid.

  • Always check the expiry date before purchasing to ensure the freshness of the product and guarantee the best possible experience in terms of taste and nutrition.

It's worth noting that despite the numerous advantages of consuming foods high in vitamin C, excessive consumption beyond the recommended dietary allowance could lead to adverse effects, for example, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps, among others.

Squash and Sauerkraut

Squash and sauerkraut can make for a tasty and nutritious combination. Squash comes in many varieties like butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash, all offering essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

However, if you're following a ketogenic diet, it's essential to consider the carbohydrate content of squash, as some types can be higher in carbs.

For example, butternut squash and acorn squash contain more carbohydrates than low-carb vegetables like zucchini or cauliflower.

While they can still be enjoyed in moderation on a keto diet, it's essential to be mindful of your overall carbohydrate intake to maintain ketosis.

On the other hand, sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, is typically low in carbohydrates and can be an excellent addition to a ketogenic eating plan. It provides probiotics that support gut health, making it a beneficial choice for digestion and overall well-being.

If you're following a ketogenic diet, consider incorporating lower-carb squash varieties or adjusting portion sizes to fit within your daily carbohydrate allowance.

Combining sauerkraut with keto-friendly squash options can create a flavorful and nutrient-dense dish that aligns with your dietary goals.

Conclusion

Incorporating vitamin C-rich foods like sauerkraut into your diet is essential for supporting overall health.

With its impressive vitamin C content and probiotic benefits, sauerkraut stands out as a powerhouse food.

From salads to soups, there are countless ways to enjoy sauerkraut and reap its nutritional rewards. However, it's important to choose high-quality sauerkraut and consume it in moderation to avoid adverse effects.

By incorporating sauerkraut into your meals, you can enhance your health and enjoy delicious, nutritious dishes.

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