See if You Are Getting Enough C

— Written By Barbara Linder and last updated by Carmen Boswell

This year’s flu season has already made a deadly impact across the United States. Regardless if you had the flu shot or not, paying attention to your diet may lessen the chance of contracting the virus.

Vitamin C has long been proven in aiding in the support of a healthy immune system. The USDA recommends filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and during this time of year when colds and the flu are among us, making choices high in vitamin C are wise choices.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an important antioxidant that aids in wound healing in producing new cells, helps to fight off infections, and protects the immune system. The food most commonly associated with vitamin C is the humble orange, but various fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of this vigorous acting vitamin. The Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C is 60 mg for adults and children aged 4 and older. The FDA requires all food labels to list the percent DV for vitamin C. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient.

Other fruits and vegetables such as chili peppers, bell peppers, cantaloupe, kale, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, tomatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, kiwi, cabbage, and mango are packed with vitamin C and are great ways to get the essential nutrient in to your daily diet.

Try the following ‘Sunrise’ Fruit Smoothie recipe during these gloomy winter weeks to brighten your day and your immune system (Recipe courtesy NCSU Steps to Health):

Makes 2 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • ½ cup banana
  • 1 cup frozen orange juice
  • ½ cup low-fat or fat-free milk

Directions

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Excellent source of vitamin C and Calcium.

For more information nutrition education or healthy eating, please contact North Carolina Cooperative Extension at 336-318-6000.