Immune Supporting Foods: Vitamin C

In the last blog post, we discussed zinc and its role in supporting the immune system. Next up, we will focus on vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that aids in the formation of collagen and serotonin. Zinc and vitamin C pair well together. The citrus sources of vitamin C enhance zinc absorption, and both aid in wound healing, which is crucial in maintaining skin integrity to fight infections. Our bodies cannot make vitamin C, so dietary and/or supplemental intake is necessary.

Foods High In Vitamin C

  • Red & green bell peppers
  • Oranges (& orange juice)
  • Grapefruit juice (*be cautious if taking statins)
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwi
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Green peas (great source of zinc too!)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Mango
  • Papaya

Ascorbic acid is a common form of supplemental vitamin C. Other names include calcium ascorbate and sodium ascorbate. The bioavailability of it is equal to that in natural foods. All age groups typically receive enough Vitamin C, so deficiency is not a concern. It is important to note that smokers require increased intake compared to the average individual. 

While vitamin C has essential functions and vitamin C containing foods are delicious, be cautious of vitamin C overload as too much may cause diarrhea, kidney stones, or an increase in iron stores.

Food First Approach

Incorporating vitamin C into the diet is as easy as enjoying fruits and veggies at most meals and snacks:


  • Oatmeal topped with strawberries 
  • Oatmeal with cauliflower rice, mashed banana, cinnamon & a drizzle of honey
  • Spinach and bell pepper omelet with a glass of OJ 
  • Spinach and mushroom omelet with a glass of grapefruit juice
  • Fruit smoothie- strawberries, banana, spinach, nut butter or powder, milk 
  • Bell pepper, sweet potato, and basil hash
  • Broccoli and ham quiche


  • Tomato soup
  • Garlic parmesan roasted broccoli 
  • Roasted cauliflower topped with pesto sauce
  • Baked potato topped with yogurt 
  • Stuffed red/green bell peppers with a side of brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower rice burrito bowl
  • Sauteed brussel sprouts to be topped on salad
  • Sauteed peppers and onions with fajitas
  • Roasted red peppers and green beans with soy sauce
  • Meatball subs with bell pepper buns


  • Orange slices
  • Bell peppers with hummus 
  • Strawberries and mangoes with mascarpone cheese
  • Tomato and mozzarella pearl bites
  • Any of the above fruit with yogurt
  • Any of the above fruit with cottage cheese