5 Vitamin C Boosting Fruits to Build Your Immunity
Updated: Aug 31
Citrus fruits are bright, colorful and add a sharp, sweet or even tart flavor to the palette – especially when freshly squeezed! Bursting with antioxidants, fruits are in the spotlight nowadays, as boosting your immune system, particularly with vitamin C is one of the top ways to fight against any illness, including COVID-19. And why not? Vitamin C repairs all body tissues and creates free radicals that damage cells which help your body to fight against any disease. In light of vitamin C tablets, powders and gummies not being as readily available as usual in local grocery stores and pharmacies, fresh fruits are the next best thing and truthfully is the optimal source for this and other nutritional benefits. Below I’ve listed 5 vitamin C boosting fruits and listed fun and healthy ways you can incorporate them into your everyday eating habits. Note: this list is family-friendly, gluten-free and vegan!
1. Orange (naranja en Español) – We all remember quartered orange slices that resembled full, wide smiles and were often packed in our primary school lunch boxes. These fruits that bear the same color as their name, are packed with 124% (or 112mg) of your daily vitamin (DV) C intake and is often enjoyed in multiple ways such as orange juice (note: as orange juice is more concentrated and thus contains more vitamin C than an orange), smoothies and even orange tea (using orange peel). Check out these 4-ingredient raw orange bars that are double-packed with vitamin C and will be an enjoyable activity with the kids. This orange chia pudding is a delicious breakfast option to start your day.
2. Lemon – I find that lemons have a slightly acidic and mellow flavor in comparison to limes, and are used more frequently in cooking. From lemon zest and lemon juice to whole roasted lemons, this is one fruit that isn’t discarded easily in the food world and can be one where ‘no waste’ approach can be practiced. Providing 88% of your DV, lemons are an excellent addition to any part of your daily meals. Use this tahini dressing to drizzle across an array of flavorful dishes or this lemon vinegarette as a marinade, salad dressing or a light dip, depending on your preference.
3. Grapefruit – These were one of the worst fruits to have squirt into your eye or to try during a blind taste test because the flavor can be quite sharp and tart to the tongue. For some, grapefruit is an acquired taste and even with grapefruit juice, most have a hard time drinking it as is. Containing 59% DV (not as high on the list but still valuable), grapefruit is still one of the world’s healthiest foods. Grapefruits provide excellent texture, color and taste to salads as seen in this Thai grapefruit salad and this breakfast smoothie. There are multiple ways you can make the taste of this fruit, ruby red (the sweeter of the two) or pink, work for you.
4. Cantaloupe - This fruit’s vibrant light orange color can’t be missed, once you’ve sliced through its tough exterior, revealing its many seeds, and often firm, interior. Cantaloupes are usually sweet in nature and have a delightfully refreshing taste that embodies the juiciness of a watermelon and the texture of a honeydew melon. At 61% DV (53mg), cantaloupe is a good addition to your fruit must-haves and are the highlights in this Grilled cantaloupe and cantaloupe in rose coconut cream recipes. You can also make a fruit kabob with cantaloupe chunks as the main attraction followed by other fruits, and top with vegan yogurt.
5. Pineapple – Pineapples are amazingly fragrant and alluring, when they are ripe and ready to be eaten (I should know, as I recently had a pineapple ripen in my kitchen and the scent was delightfully intoxicating!). As one of our Bahamian treasures (exclusively grown in Eleuthera), pineapples are added into one of our signature local dishes, conch salad, by adding a sweet tangy texture to the strong citrus base of lime and orange juices (this is known as tropical conch salad). A great way to add a pop of pineapple during snacking is to try this tangy salsa as a complement to your tortilla chips and also enjoy a slice of this vegan pineapple dessert. This will ensure that your body doesn’t miss out on the 79% DV found in this tangy fruit.
Notably, there are other foods like broccoli, kale and red bell peppers (offering over 100% DV of vitamin C) that you can be a part of of your meals, however, fruits have this ease and versatility to them when it comes to preparation and eating, which makes them a great grab and go option. There are no worries about excess Vitamin C, as it will be naturally excreted from the body. Most of the recipes are raw and gluten-free, which ensures that you experience and absorb the vitamin in its truest and purest form (without additives). This also allows for fewer worries about allergies or overprocessing. These recipes are also useful for your meal planning rolodex and are perfect for saving in airtight containers to enjoy later.
What’s your favorite fruit or recipe on the list? What recipe would you recommend?