Scientists have suggested we double our vitamin C intake, after arguing current recommendations – the NHS is in favour of 40mg per day – are partly informed by a Second World War study that’s now outdated.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises 45mg per day, based on a study by The Sorby Research Institute conducted in 1944. But scientists at the University of Washington have revisited the research and published an updated assessment of it in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Lead research author Professor Philippe Hujoel said: “The vitamin C experiment is a shocking study. They depleted people’s vitamin C levels long-term and created life-threatening emergencies. It would never fly now.” The researchers say recommended vitamin C dosages should be upgraded and potentially doubled.
So, how do you increase your intake – whether you’re hitting the current recommended dose or not? You can, of course, take a supplement, but here are a few more ways to hit the target, that are slightly more interesting than mainlining oranges…
Keep the kimchi handy
We know how good fermented foods can be for the gut, but did you know kimchi – a Korean staple, the bulk of it being fermented cabbage – is chock-full of vitamin C too? For a major flavour hit with a side of excellent health benefits, you can put it on the table with pretty much any meal to act as a spicy condiment. Especially useful to serve with rice, noodles and stews, but also great added to pasta.
Opt for Brussels sprouts
Christmas is coming, but Brussels sprouts are already appearing in the veg aisle, and the NHS includes them in their top veggies for vitamin C. Do not boil them to death – you will only have yourself to blame. Instead, sub them in any time you’d ordinarily opt for leafy greens and cabbage. Shred raw into salads, roast alongside root veg and braise with butter, lemon and peas.
Snack on kiwis
Kiwis don’t get enough attention, and yet, one kiwi (depending on its size and weight) can get you over the 40mg threshold. And they’re fun to eat. We prefer the ‘boiled egg’ method: cut the top off your chosen kiwi, scoop out the green flesh with a teaspoon. Whether you’re brave enough to eat the fuzzy skin is up to you…
Make the most of pineapples
The humble pineapple is often reserved for pineapple upside-down cake and pina coladas alone, which does the vitamin C-laced fruit a disservice. Slice it fresh into Malaysian-style curries; grill it and serve with ice cream; dress with chilli and lime and use to top pork tacos; turn it into a zingy salsa to serve with oily fish… you can even pickle it.
Add broccoli – and lots of it
Another NHS favourite, broccoli is a big hitter veg that can be used in some very cool ways. Roasting it brings out a deep nuttiness; dressing it in a squeeze of orange juice (a vitamin C double whammy) makes it zingy; shredding and swishing with parmesan and pasta water turns it into a luxurious green sauce; stir-frying it brings crunch and snap. No fridge should be without it.