Wintertime is a hard season for our immune system. We’re exposed to various viruses, colds, and multiple allergens from spending more time inside. Add to that lack of sunshine and harsh weather and we find ourselves needing a good dose of vitamins to get through the day. Although getting plenty of all vitamins and minerals is important for good health throughout the year, vitamin C becomes our focus once snow makes its arrival. That’s not without reason as this vitamin is closely associated with improving our immunity. In fact, multiple cells of our immune system such as phagocytes and t-cells need vitamin C to perform their functions. Apart from keeping our antibodies strong, consuming vitamin C also helps shorten the duration of colds.
When it comes to getting plenty of vitamin C during winter, our minds typically go to oranges. While this juicy fruit evokes sunshine (which we understandably are attracted to!), it’s actually not the highest source of vitamin C in the plant kingdom. Surprisingly, common fruits and veggies you probably eat on a regular basis contain more than their fair share of this precious vitamin. Want to know more? Check out these 8 plant-based foods featuring delicious recipes from the Food Monster App that will help you get all the vitamin C you need to get through winter!
Cheesy Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers/One Green Planet
While all bell peppers contain vitamins and minerals, red bell peppers are the highest source of vitamin C. One medium-sized red bell pepper will give you 152 milligrams of vitamin C which is more than twice the amount found in an orange. They are also rich in carotonoids and flavonoids, two types of antioxidants that fight free-radicals and help our bodies get rid of inflammation.
Want to get recipes ideas featuring bell peppers? We suggest making these Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Stuffed Peppers, this Eggplant and Bell Pepper Caponata, and this Onion and Bell Pepper Masala. You can also give these Risotto and Herb Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes and this Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccine a try!
Creamy Polenta With Balsamic Brussels Sprouts/One Green Planet
These little cabbages may not be everyone’s favorite but they’re definitely worth a second try. Adding one cup of Brussels sprouts to your plate will give you a good 74 milligrams of vitamin C. It will also nourish your body with vitamins and minerals such as folate, manganese, potassium, copper, B-vitamins, and a good dose of fiber.
Not sure how to prepare Brussels sprouts to make them palatable? We can help with that! Check out our 5 Ways to Get Anyone to Love Brussels Sprouts. Then, try out these Balsamic Brussels Sprouts With Shiitake Bacon, this Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Grilled Pear Pizza, and these Potato Tacos With Brussels Sprouts Slaw and Quinoa Tortillas. We also suggest making these Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Apples and Chestnuts and these BBQ Brussels Sprouts. These recipes will become part of your weekly dinners rotation, we promise!
Asian Healthy Broccoli Salad/One Green Planet
Even though kids like to snob this common vegetable, as adults we have to agree that broccoli is pretty awesome. Containing almost twice the amount of vitamin C found in an orange, a stalk of broccoli gives us a total of 134 milligrams of this essential vitamin. What’s more? This green vegetable is an important source of sulforaphane, an antioxidant compound that shows promise in the prevention of cancer.
If you’re searching for recipes that will banish your bad childhood memories related to broccoli once and for all, we’ve got you covered! Check out this Sweet and Sour Sesame Broccoli and Tofu, this Fried ‘Riced’ Broccoli Bowl, this Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Brown Rice Bake, and this Spicy Carrot Broccoli Dal.
Full of manganese, iodine, potassium, copper, and fiber, strawberries are one of our favorite fruits. What’s even better? One cup of strawberries equals out to around 85 milligrams of vitamin C! And who only eats a cup? Especially when we have great recipes like these Dessert Chips and Strawberry Salsa (pictured above), this Nut-Free Apple and Strawberry Crumble, and this 3-Ingredient Berry Cereal!
Vegetable and Pesto Stuffed Kohlrabi/One Green Planet
This funny looking vegetable may not make a regular appearance on our plates but that’s a shame because it’s packed with vitamin C! One cup of kohlrabi contains 83 milligrams compared to the 69 milligrams found in a medium-sized orange. This veggie is also a good source of copper, calcium, manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
Want to get more familiar with kohlrabi? Check out How to Cook With Kohlrabi: the Versatile Veggie That Deserves a Spot in Your Kitchen. Then, you can make this Creamy Kohlrabi Soup, these Baked Kohlrabi Fries With Tzatziki Sauce, and this Crispy Kohlrabi Sandwich With Tamari Shallots.
Kale, Beet, and Pecan Salad With Ginger Dressing/One Green Planet
Kale is well-known for being an important source of minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and potassium but were you aware that it’s also full of vitamins? Packed with 120 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 gram, you have yet another reason to start including more kale into your diet.
There’s no reason to be afraid of greens when you can have delicious dishes such as this Avocado Kale Chili Salad, this Comforting Kale Pesto Pasta Casserole, and this Kale Pesto Pizza With ‘Goat’ Cheese. We also suggest checking out these 21 Recipes That Go Beyond Kale Salad. These amazing recipes make being healthy really easy!
When we think of nutrient-rich foods, colorful fruits and veggies usually come to mind but cauliflower is here to defy stereotypes. One small head of this seemingly bland vegetable actually contains around 127 milligrams of vitamin C which is almost twice the amount found in a regular sized orange. Moreover, cauliflower is packed with potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, folate, B-vitamins, phosphorus, manganese, and fiber.
Searching for delicious recipes featuring this surprisingly vitamin C-rich veggie? Check out this Miso Cauliflower Cashew Alfredo With Kale and Peas, this Creamy Buffalo Cauliflower Casserole, this Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Crusty Chickpea Topping, and these Kung Pao Cauliflower Bites. You can also try out any of these 10 Cauliflower Recipes to Keep on Hand for Every Type of Craving.
If you can handle the heat, chili peppers are a great addition to make to your diet to get your fill of vitamin C this winter. Not only do these spicy babies contain 107 milligrams of vitamin C per half a cup but they can also help your body strengthen its immunity to nasty viruses roaming around and rev up your metabolism at the same time. That’s thanks to their content in capsaicin, a bioactive compound that stimulates energy expenditure and increases the production of antibodies by our immune system.
Want to get used to the heat? We suggest adding chili peppers in small doses to your favorite recipes to build up your tolerance. You can also make recipes such as this Pineapple Pepper Jelly in which sweetness balances out the heat. If spicy food is already your jam (pun intended), you can try out this Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili, this Caribbean Jerk Chili, and these Potato Stuffed Chili Peppers.
For more delicious vitamin-packed and immunity-boosting recipes, we suggest downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day!
Lead image source: Roasted Cauliflower Piccata With Mashed Potatoes With Sour Cream and Chives