The Best 7 Vitamin C Drinks, According to Dietitians
It’s a well-known fact that vitamin C keeps your immune system in tip-top shape, helping to ward off those pesky colds and other illnesses. But this powerful nutrient has many other benefits as well — like helping your body to absorb iron, healing wounds, and making collagen. Not only that, but vitamin C is also considered an antioxidant, meaning it can protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Because your body doesn’t produce this vitamin on its own, you need to get plenty through your diet. Fortunately, these best vitamin C drinks can easily be found at your local supermarket.
According to Edibel Quintero, RD, a registered dietitian with HealthInsider, if you don’t get enough vitamin C, you may find that you’re more susceptible to getting sick, feel more fatigued, and have weaker bones and joints. Vitamin C is water-soluble, which means your body can’t store excess for later use. So you need a continuous supply of it.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 90 milligrams daily for men and 75 milligrams daily for women. Seem like a lot? Consider sipping on the dietitian-approved beverages below, which are all chock full of vitamin C.
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1. Orange juice
OJ may seem like an obvious choice, but there’s a good reason why it’s a go-to when you’re trying to kick a case of the sniffles: One cup of this juice exceeds the RDA for vitamin C.
But orange juice isn’t only one of the best vitamin C drinks. Sara Chatfield, RD, a nutrition specialist at Healthcanal, notes that it’s also a good source of potassium, an essential mineral that supports heart and kidney function and can reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
Whenever possible, Chatfield recommends looking for products labeled “100% juice.” That way, you’re getting the maximum amount of vitamin C and a minimal amount of sugar.
If you’re not a fan of orange juice, go for grapefruit instead, which happens to have 156% of your RDA for vitamin C in one cup.
2. Tomato juice
While you may assume all the best vitamin C drinks are fruit juice, there are also lots of veggies that pack high concentrations of this nutrient — like bell peppers and tomatoes.
For example, did you know that a single glass of tomato juice provides a whopping 108 milligrams? That’s 144% of the RDA for women and 120% of the RDA for men.
Quintero points out that one advantage of tomato juice is that it’s much lower in sugar and calories than other fruit juices. Specifically, it only contains about 46 calories and 6 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving.
“Tomato juice is also an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin A and potassium,” adds Chatfield.
One thing to watch out for, though, is added sodium. Consuming too much sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack in the long term. In the short term, it can contribute to bloating. That’s why dietitians advise opting for a low-sodium variety whenever possible.
3. Guava juice
This tropical-tasting juice is a top pick for Megan Wong, RD, a registered dietitian at AlgaeCal — in part because one cup of guava juice contains 53 milligrams of vitamin C, more than half the RDA for both men and women.
“Guava juice is also typically lower in sugar compared to orange juice,” she adds.
Try it in a smoothie with strawberries and papaya — two more fruits that are super high in vitamin C.
Related: Why Everyone Is Telling You to Eat Vitamin C Right Now
4. Mango juice
Another tropical fruit that’s loaded with vitamin C is mango. In fact, one cup of mango juice provides 64% of the RDA for vitamin C.
Johna Burdeos, RD, notes that it can sometimes be harder to find pure mango juice — but you may find it blended with other fruit juices, like OJ.
“Sugar is often added, so be sure to look for 100% juice,” says Chatfield.
Use it in mocktails, shakes, or even to make tasty homemade popsicles.
5. Hibiscus tea
Tea might not be the first option that comes to mind for the best vitamin C drinks. But Trista Best, RD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, says it’s actually loaded with this particular nutrient. In fact, one cup of hibiscus tea offers 44 milligrams of vitamin C — which is 59% of the RDA for women and 49% of the RDA for men.
Pro tip: Add a squeeze of lemon juice to your tea to boost the vitamin C content even further.
Related: The Healthiest Teas to Drink
6. Pineapple juice
Citrus juices tend to get the most attention for their vitamin C content, but Burdeos says pineapple juice happens to be another great source of this essential nutrient.
Depending on which brand you buy, one cup of pineapple juice can contain 110 milligrams of vitamin C, which is more than what you need in a day.
“Pineapple juice also provides the enzyme bromelain, which is linked with improved immunity and digestive health, among other health benefits,” says Chatfield.
Since some store-bought pineapple juice can be loaded with added sugar, Chatfield advises always looking for products labeled 100% juice.
7. Papapa juice
It may be a little harder to find than some of the other juices on this list, but Blanca Garcia, RDN at MIDSS, says it’s well worth seeking out due to its high vitamin C content. Specifically, one cup contains 72 milligrams, which is almost the RDA for this nutrient — making it undoubtedly one of the best vitamin C drinks.
That’s not all papaya has to offer, though. Research shows that your body absorbs the many antioxidants found in papaya better than the antioxidants found in other fruits and vegetables. Papaya is particularly high in lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been linked to reduced cancer risk.
Can’t get papaya juice at your local supermarket? Consider making your own at home by tossing chunks of the fruit into a juicer or high-speed blender.
Read next: The Best 5 Vitamin D Foods To Add to Your Diet ASAP
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