Foods High in Vitamin C & Zinc

Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, and the mineral zinc are nutrients known for their potent antioxidant, or disease-fighting, benefits. Though dietary supplements can provide both nutrients, a healthy diet is the prime means for maintaining nutritional health, according to the American Dietetic Association. For best results, consume a variety of vitamin C- and zinc-rich foods as part of a nutrient-rich, balanced diet. For specified guidance, discuss your wellness and dietary goals with a qualified professional.

A plate with cantaloupe slices. (Image: Aneta_Gu/iStock/Getty Images)

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide a broad range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements from the National Institutes of Health, eating five servings of various fruits and vegetables daily can supply 200 milligrams of vitamin C, or more than your entire daily needs. Fruits and vegetables particularly high in vitamin C include red and green bell peppers, citrus fruits, kiwi, cantaloupe, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, skin-on baked potatoes, spinach and green peas. Citrus and tomato juices also provide rich amounts of the nutrient. Though vitamin C is present in cooked vegetables, fresh raw vegetables and fruits tend to provide the richest amounts.

Protein-Rich Foods

Numerous protein-rich foods provide valuable amounts of zinc. Since protein plays a major role in tissue repair and recovery, such foods can provide multiple benefits when recovering from injuries or illness. A serving of six medium-sized oysters provides over five times most adults' daily requirement for zinc intake, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Additional valuable sources include beef shanks, ground beef, steak, chicken, turkey, pork shoulder and tenderloin, lobster, cow's milk, yogurt, flounder, sole, salmon and cheddar and mozzarella-style cheeses. To prevent excessive intake of saturated fat, opt for the leanest cuts of meat, and trim visible fat and skin from meat and poultry before consumption. Meat- and dairy-free protein-rich zinc sources include legumes, such as kidney beans and chickpeas, almonds and cashews.

Fortified Foods

Numerous foods and beverages are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Various fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, cereals and breads contain vitamin C and zinc. Fortified breakfast cereals often contain 25 percent of adults' daily recommended allowance of zinc, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. To determine specific nutrient content, examine nutrition labels on food packaging, and adhere to appropriate portion sizes. If you are vegetarian, seek a doctor's guidance to determine your specific zinc requirements, since vegetarian sources are less potent and usable than animal-derived sources.

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