FUNCTION: Helps to fight infection; keeps glands, skin, gums healthy and maintains the respiratory and GI tract.

SOURCE: Dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, cabbage, kale, leeks, broccoli, parsley, watercress, turnip greens, fresh or dried apricots, red peppers, fish and dairy products. Cabbage and broccoli are cruciferous vegetables that contain compounds called isothiocyates. These are important compounds in cancer prevention. Cabbage also contains indole-3-carbinol, another anti-carcinogen.

B1 (thiamin)

FUNCTION: Aids in the promotion of proper nerve functioning, and helps with the digestion of carbohydrates by turning them into biological energy.

SOURCE: Enriched and unrefined cereals, legumes and nuts, and pork. The nuts and pork are high in fat or cholesterol, or both and should be used sparingly.

B2 (riboflavin)

FUNCTION: Necessary for maintaining the upkeep of the body’s energy level.

SOURCE: Green leafy vegetables, fruits and dairy products, Such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Breads and liver are another good source. Use pork and dairy products sparingly because of their high fat and cholesterol content, and use the low fat variety whenever possible.

B3 (niacin)

FUNCTION: Lowers cholesterol levels in the blood when they are very high and possibly protect against cardiovascular disease.

SOURCE: Cereal, yeast, legumes, fish, meat and liver. Eat meats and especially liver sparingly because of their high fat and cholesterol content.


FUNCTION: Needed for the breakdown of protein, necessary for maintaining and building of muscle tissue.

SOURCE: Vegetables, whole grains, bananas, fish and poultry. Also in beef and pork which are high in fats and should be used only once or twice weekly, trimming all fat and in smaller portions.


FUNCTION: Necessary in the functioning of cells and forming and maintaining healthy nerve tissue.

SOURCE: Shellfish, fish and poultry. Also in the higher fat content foods such as eggs, meats and meat products.

FOLIC ACID (part of the B complex)

FUNCTION: Supports the immune system and the nervous system. Used in the treatment of senility, coronary artery disease and peripheral vascular disease, and brain vascular disease. Necessary for the formation of red blood cells and thus aids in prevention of anemia. Can aid in cervical cancer prevention. Also extremely important in preventing the malformation of the nervous system in fetuses. Involved in many metabolic reactions necessary for proper growth.

SOURCE: Dark green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, and romaine), and oranges. Brewers yeast, rice and beans. Liver an organ meat, high in fat and cholesterol should be eaten sparingly.


FUNCTION: Necessary for the formation of fatty acids essential for the proper functioning of many bodily functions.

SOURCE: Corn, yeast and mushrooms. Also in liver, which is an organ meat and egg yolks, which are both high in cholesterol.

C (ascorbic acid)

FUNCTION: Prevents gingivitis and the bleeding of gums. Keeps the blood vessels strong and protects the vascular system. Helps in the healing of cuts and bruises.

SOURCE: All citrus fruits. Green vegetables, kale, leeks, turnip greens, broccoli, watercress, brussels sprouts, tomatoes and cabbage. Broccoli and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables that contain compounds called isothiocynates, which are important in cancer prevention. Cabbage also contains indole-3-carbinol, another anti-carcinogen. Turnips are high in chlorohyll and folic acid.


FUNCTION: Needed for the building and maintaining the teeth and bones. For the body to absorb calcium, vitamin D is necessary.

SOURCE: Fish, cod liver oil, butter, egg yolks and fortified milk. These foods are high in fats and cholesterol and should be reduced in your diet. Use the low fat variety where possible.


FUNCTION: Can possibly protect against heart disease. Aids in forming of red blood cells. Vitamin E is also utilized in forming muscle tissue and other body tissues. May also breast tenderness and swelling that can occur in premenstrual syndrome. Thins the blood and can aid in alleviating leg cramps. Prevents cholesterol from sticking to the inside of your arteries.

SOURCE: Vegetable oils, especially peanut and wheat oils. Green leafy vegetables. Nuts, seeds, and beans. Whole wheat and brown rice. Seafood and poultry are another source.


FUNCTION: Necessary for normal blood clotting. There may possibly be a decreased factor in the blood thinning ability of medication being taken for the thinning of blood.

SOURCE: Broccoli, spinach, kale, brussels sprouts turnip greens and other green leafy vegetables. Individuals on drugs for the prevention of blood clotting should discuss the use of the above foods with their doctor, due to the high vitamin K content of these foods, there may be increased bleeding. There may be a decreased factor in the blood thinning ability of their medication.



FUNCTION: Builds strong bones. Strengthens heart muscle and is necessary for proper nerve function to the heart. Activates the enzymes that are necessary to convert the food we eat into energy. Also required for the clotting of blood.

SOURCE: Green leafy vegetables. Milk, buttermilk, cheese and yogurt. Dairy products. Sardines.


FUNCTION: Acts in conjunction with insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. May help lower high blood sugar in some individuals.

SOURCE: White potatoes, whole grain cereals and seafood.


FUNCTION: Manufactures hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the red blood cells.

SOURCE: Red meat and liver, shellfish and all fish. Fortified breads and cereals. Dried apricots. Legumes.


FUNCTION: Aids in regulating proper heart function. Releases the enzymes that promote body energy. Needed for proper bone growth. Manufactures cells and genetic material.

SOURCE: Green leafy vegetables. Fortified whole grain cereal and bread. Oysters, scallops, most nuts are good sources.


FUNCTION: Works in conjunction with sodium in regulating body fluid balances. Plays a very important function in regulating the heartbeat. Also needed for proper nerve conduction. The body requires potassium so that muscles can be contracted.

SOURCE: Bananas, citrus fruits and dried fruits. Deep yellow vegetables. Potatoes, avocados, legumes, milk are also excellent potassium sources.


FUNCTION: Acts in conjunction with vitamin E and is important in preventing the breakdown of cells.

SOURCE: Eggs, cereals and grains, mushrooms, garlic, poultry and seafood.


FUNCTION: Necessary element in maintaining body fluids.

SOURCE: Sodium is found in a great many foods. It is difficult avoiding too high an amount in our daily diet. Foods that are extremely high in sodium are, salt cured meats, chips, salted crackers, soy sauce and foods that are pickled in brine,


FUNCTION: Fights disease by helping to boost the immune system. It is found in more than a 100 enzymes and proteins. These enzymes and proteins are the necessary components for Digestion. Other bodily functions also require zinc.

SOURCE: Wheat germ, wheat bran and whole grains. Some seafood’s and oysters. Red meat and poultry are excellent sources.



Nutrient Chart

Impact of Cooking, Storage and Processing

Vitamin C is highly sensitive to air, water, and temperature. About 25% of the vitamin C in vegetables can be lost simply by blanching (boiling or steaming the food for a few minutes). This same degree of loss occurs in the freezing and unthawing of vegetables and fruits. Cooking of vegetables and fruits for longer periods of time (10-20 minutes) can result in a loss of over one half the total vitamin C content. When fruits and vegetables are canned and then reheated, only 1/3 of the original vitamin C content may be left. Consumption of vitamin C-rich foods in their fresh, raw form is the best way to maximize vitamin C intake.

Drug-Nutrient Interactions

What medications affect vitamin C?

Categories of drugs that can diminish the body’s supply of vitamin C include oral contraceptives (birth control pills), NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including aspirin), corticosteroids (like cortisone), sulfa drugs (often used as antibiotics or in cancer treatment), and barbituates.

Nutrient Interactions

How do other nutrients interact with vitamin C?

Vitamin C has significant interactions with several key minerals in the body.

Supplemental intake of vitamin C at gram-level doses can interfere with copper metabolism. Conversely, vitamin C can significantly enhance iron uptake and metabolism, even at food-level amounts.

Vitamin C also has important interactions with other vitamins. Excessive intake of vitamin A, for example, is less toxic to the body when vitamin C is readily available. Vitamin C is involved in the regeneration of vitamin E, and these two vitamins appear to work together in their antioxidant effect.

What health conditions require special emphasis on vitamin C?

Most forms of cardiovascular disease, joint disease, cancer, eye disease, thyroid disease, liver disease, and lung disease require special emphasis on vitamin C intake. The process of aging itself requires special attention to vitamin C. In addition to these broader categories, several specific health conditions also require special emphasis on vitamin C. These specific health conditions include:

Introduction to Nutrient Rating System Chart

World’s Healthiest Foods ranked as quality sources of:
vitamin C
Bell peppers, red, raw, slices 1 cup 24.8 174.80 291.3 211.1 excellent
Parsley, fresh 2 tbs 2.7 9.97 16.6 110.8 excellent
Broccoli, steamed 1 cup 43.7 123.40 205.7 84.8 excellent
Cauliflower, boiled 1 cup 28.5 54.93 91.5 57.8 excellent
Strawberries 1 cup 43.2 81.65 136.1 56.7 excellent
Lemon juice, fresh 0.25 cup 15.3 28.06 46.8 55.2 excellent
Romaine lettuce 2 cup 15.7 26.88 44.8 51.4 excellent
Mustard greens, boiled 1 cup 21.0 35.42 59.0 50.6 excellent
Brussel sprouts, boiled 1 cup 60.8 96.72 161.2 47.7 excellent
Papaya 1 each 118.6 187.87 313.1 47.5 excellent
Kale, boiled 1 cup 36.4 53.30 88.8 43.9 excellent
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 28.8 39.46 65.8 41.1 excellent
Grapefruit 0.50 each 36.9 46.86 78.1 38.1 excellent
Kiwifruit 1 each 46.4 57.00 95.0 36.9 excellent
Cantaloupe, cubes 1 cup 56.0 67.52 112.5 36.2 excellent
Oranges 1 each 61.6 69.69 116.2 34.0 excellent
Cabbage, shredded, boiled 1 cup 33.0 30.15 50.3 27.4 excellent
Tomato, ripe 1 cup 37.8 34.38 57.3 27.3 excellent
Swiss chard, boiled 1 cup 35.0 31.50 52.5 27.0 excellent
Collard greens, boiled 1 cup 49.4 34.58 57.6 21.0 excellent
Raspberries 1 cup 60.3 30.76 51.3 15.3 excellent
Asparagus, boiled 1 cup 43.2 19.44 32.4 13.5 excellent
Celery, raw 1 cup 19.2 8.40 14.0 13.1 excellent
Spinach, boiled 1 cup 41.4 17.64 29.4 12.8 excellent
Cucumbers, slices, with peel 1 cup 13.5 5.51 9.2 12.2 very good
Fennel, raw, sliced 1 cup 27.0 10.44 17.4 11.6 excellent
Pineapple 1 cup 76.0 23.87 39.8 9.4 excellent
Watermelon, diced 1 cup 48.6 14.59 24.3 9.0 excellent
Green beans, boiled 1 cup 43.8 12.13 20.2 8.3 excellent
Cranberries 0.50 cup 23.3 6.41 10.7 8.3 excellent
Summer squash, cooked, slices 1 cup 36.0 9.90 16.5 8.3 excellent
Cloves, dried, ground 2 tsp 14.2 3.56 5.9 7.5 very good
Winter squash, baked, cubes 1 cup 80.0 19.68 32.8 7.4 very good
Basil, dried, ground 2 tsp 7.5 1.84 3.1 7.3 good
Cayenne pepper, dried 2 tsp 11.2 2.72 4.5 7.3 good
Blueberries 1 cup 81.2 18.86 31.4 7.0 very good
Carrots, raw 1 cup 52.5 11.35 18.9 6.5 very good
Garlic 1 oz-wt 42.2 8.85 14.8 6.3 very good
Apricots 1 each 16.8 3.50 5.8 6.3 very good
Calf’s liver, braised 4 oz-wt 187.1 35.16 58.6 5.6 very good
Sweet potato, baked, with skin 1 each 95.4 17.06 28.4 5.4 very good
Plum 1 each 36.3 6.27 10.4 5.2 very good
Green peas, boiled 1 cup 134.4 22.72 37.9 5.1 very good
Onions, raw 1 cup 60.8 10.24 17.1 5.1 very good
Oregano, dried, ground 2 tsp 9.2 1.52 2.5 5.0 good
Chili pepper, dried 2 tsp 25.5 3.84 6.4 4.5 very good
Leeks, boiled 0.50 cup 16.1 2.18 3.6 4.1 good
Potato, baked, with skin 1 cup 133.0 15.74 26.2 3.6 very good
Yam (Dioscorea species), cubed, cooked 1 cup 157.8 16.46 27.4 3.1 good
Banana 1 each 108.6 10.74 17.9 3.0 good
Apples 1 each 81.4 7.87 13.1 2.9 good
Beets, Boiled 1 cup 74.8 6.12 10.2 2.5 good
Shiitake mushrooms, raw 8 oz-wt 87.2 5.98 10.0 2.1 good
Pear 1 each 97.9 6.64 11.1 2.0 good
Grapes 1 cup 61.6 3.68 6.1 1.8 good
Corn, yellow, cooked 1 cup 177.1 10.16 16.9 1.7 good
Avocado, slices 1 cup 235.1 11.53 19.2 1.5 good
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

What are the current public health recommendations for intake of vitamin C?

In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences established the following Adequate Intake levels for vitamin C:

  • 0-6 months: 40 milligrams
  • 7-12 months: 50 milligrams

In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences established the following Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamin C:

  • 1-3 years: 15 milligrams
  • 4-8 years: 25 milligrams
  • Males 9-13 years: 45 milligrams
  • Males 14-18 years: 75 milligrams
  • Males 19 years and older: 90 milligrams
  • Females 9-13 years: 45 milligrams
  • Females 14-18 years: 65 milligrams
  • Females 19 years and older: 75 milligrams
  • Pregnant females 18 years: 80 milligrams
  • Pregnant females 19 years and older: 85 milligrams
  • Lactating females 18 years: 115 milligrams
  • Lactating females 19 years and older: 120 milligrams

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