Healthy Foods that Contain Vitamin C

Posted By Dr. Ben Kim on Feb 26, 2008

If you take a look at a variety of vitamin C supplements, you will find that the majority of them contain only ascorbic acid or a compound called ascorbate, which is a less acidic form of acorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C. It represents the outer ring that serves as a protective shell for the entire vitamin C complex, much like an orange peel that serves as a protective shell for an orange.

Real vitamin C found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables contains the following components:

  • Rutin

  • Bioflavonoids (vitamin P)

  • Factor K

  • Factor J

  • Factor P

  • Tyrosinase

  • Ascorbinogen

  • Ascorbic Acid

When you take only ascorbic acid found in your synthetic vitamin C tablet or powder, your body must gather all of the other components of the full vitamin C complex from your body's tissues in order to make use of it. In the event that your body does not have adequate reserves of the other components, ascorbic acid itself does not provide the same range of health benefits that the full vitamin C complex does. After circulating through your system, unused ascorbic acid is eliminated through your urine.

What does the full vitamin C-Complex do in your body?

  • Helps to form collagen, which is a key structural component of your bones, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels

  • Acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your cells against damage and premature aging due to free radicals, toxins, and other harmful substances that make their way into your blood

  • Prevents damage to fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose in your blood

  • Helps to make norepinephrine, a hormone that is essential to the health of your nervous system

Most nutritional indices list orange juice and grapefruit juice as good sources of vitamin C. While you'll be sure to get some vitamin C from these juices, I recommend that you avoid drinking 100 percent fruit juices most or all of the time. Fruit juices place unhealthy stress on your liver and pancreas. They also raise your blood insulin and sugar levels over the short and long term, which predisposes you to every chronic, degenerative disease that we know of. If you want to have some freshly squeezed orange juice on occasion, try mixing it with romaine lettuce and celery juice, with the orange juice making up no more than 1/3 of the total volume of your juice. The minerals from the greens will help to regulate the pace at which the sugars in the orange juice enter your blood stream.

Here are some healthy, whole food sources of vitamin C:

Whole Food Sources


Vitamin C (mg)

Sweet red pepper

1/2 cup, raw



1 cup



1 medium


Brussels sprouts

1/2 cup


Broccoli, cooked

1/2 cup


Collard greens, cooked

1/2 cup



1/2 medium



1/4 medium


Cabbage, cooked

1/2 cup



1 medium


Signs of Vitamin C Deficiency

  • Poor wound healing

  • Frequent infections

  • Bleeding or bruising easily

  • Unexplained pain and swelling of joints

  • Hair and tooth loss

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - 1998

Life Stage


Males (mg/day)

Females (mg/day)


0-6 months




7-12 months




1-3 years




4-8 years




9-13 years




14-18 years




19-years and older




19 years and older




18 years and younger




19 years and older




18 years and younger




19 years and older




When you obtain natural vitamin C from whole foods, there is virtually no potential for toxicity or undesirable reactions. Large doses of synthetic vitamin C can cause you to experience uncomfortable GI symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, and diarrhea. I recommend obtaining vitamin C from whole foods or whole food supplements only. For the reasons explained in our article on synthetic vs. natural vitamins, I recommend that you avoid synthetic forms of vitamin C completely.

Note: If you are looking for an all-natural source of the full vitamin C complex, I recommend acerola cherry powder see below.

Experience the Health Benefits of Real Vitamin C
from Acerola Cherry Powder

By Ben Kim, D.C.

If you want to be at your best, you need to have a reliable source of real vitamin C in your diet on a regular basis.


Real vitamin C can be extremely helpful for:

  • Preventing hair loss

  • Promoting healthy teeth and gums

  • Protecting your skin and organs against premature aging

  • Promoting a strong immune system and preventing frequent colds and infections

  • Easing unexplained pain and swelling of your joints

  • Preventing easy bleeding or bruising

Please note that I am writing about real vitamin C.

It's a shame that the great majority of vitamin C supplements on the market are synthetic forms of vitamin C.

And synthetic forms of vitamin C are not guaranteed to provide any of the health benefits listed above. In fact, I have come to believe that most synthetic forms of vitamin C do little but tax your organs before being eliminated through your urine. It's clear to me that they're not good for your health and they're a waste of your resources.

So how do you know if the bottle sitting at your local health food store or on your kitchen counter contains synthetic vitamin C? Look at the list of ingredients. If it doesn't contain real food like acerola cherry powder or amla berries, it is almost certainly a synthetic form of vitamin C.

Most vitamin C and multivitamin supplements contain ascorbic acid or ascorbate, which is the outer ring that surrounds the real vitamin C complex. That's right - real vitamin C is a complex of several different factors, all of which must work together to keep your teeth and gums healthy, prevent hair loss, and prevent premature aging and disease.

Whole foods like acerola cherries and amla berries come with the entire vitamin C complex which can efficiently reach and nourish all of the cells of your body, providing the health benefits listed above.

For three years now, I have been using and recommending a super green food formula for promotion of optimal wellness. Our super green food formula contains a small amount of amla berry, which contains naturally occurring, real vitamin C.

At the request of many of our newsletter subscribers who have a special need for larger doses of real vitamin C, we have worked long and hard to add a new product to our recommended health tools section. It's made out of acerola cherry powder and comes in an amber glass jar with a metal lid - the same type that our green food product comes in for optimal nutrient preservation.

Our all-natural, real vitamin C product contains the highest quality acerola cherry powder that we could find, which makes it one of nature's most concentrated food sources of real vitamin C.

Taking Real Vitamin C for Immune System Support

My wife has been using our real vitamin C product for the past few years, in addition to taking our greens and Carlson cod liver oil. She started taking this product because we wanted to provide our babies with extra support for their immune system. At our clinic and among friends and family members, we observed how difficult it was for babies to go through colds and other illnesses before their tiny bodies had a chance to build immune system strength.

We felt that concentrated doses of real vitamin C would be helpful in keeping our babies well. And we are extremely thankful that both of our boys thrived during their first year of life, and continue to grow and develop as strong and healthy individuals. Both of our sons received all of the health benefits of acerola cherries, along with our greens, cod liver oil (fish oil in the summer), and a well balanced diet through my wife's breast milk until they were 20 to 24 months old, and they continue to receive these nutrients through their diet today.

Over the past year and a half, I have been recommending acerola cherry powder to patients and guests of our clinic for a variety of health conditions. More specifically, I have found acerola cherry powder to be highly effective for people who experience frequent infections, dental problems, and chronic fatigue.