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This blog is purely informational and not meant to take the place of individual medical nutrition therapy (MNT). For serious medical conditions, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian. 

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Q: How can I boost my Vitamin C intake?

A: Below is a smoothie recipe that provides most of your vitamin C needs in one yummy serving. It's a refreshing, hydrating, and well-balanced way to start your day.

I woke up this morning to a Coronavirus world. My state just announced its first cases of the illness that is shutting down schools, driving down the economy, and clearing the shelves of essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. While the world is trying to mitigate the situation and flatten the curve, I work in a clinic. So off to work I go.

While good nutrition is always top of mind for me, I was feeling an even stronger urge to up my antioxidant game. What better way than to turn to the antioxidant powerhouses of fruit and vegetables!

Vitamin C is known to support a healthy immune system to help fight and recover from viral attacks. Good sources of vitamin C include:

Sweet red peppers, raw: 1/2 cup = 95 mg

Orange: 1 medium = 70 mg

Green red peppers, raw: 1/2 cup = 60 mg

Brussels sprouts, cooked: 1/2 cup = 48 mg

Broccoli, cooked: 1/2 cup = 51 mg

How much vitamin C do you need?

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for adults is 90 mg for males, 75 mg for females. As you can see above, even just a couple of servings of fruits and vegetables are going to give you what you need and more. Imagine the antioxidant boost you get just by following basic dietary guidelines!

How much is too much?

The benefits from vitamin C are seen from food sources. Using vitamin supplements have been associated with adverse effects. For example, 300 mg or more of vitamin C in supplement form has been associated with increased risk of death from heart disease in older women with diabetes. Furthermore, supplements may have negative interactions with prescription medications.

The maximum amount of total vitamin C that is considered safe for adults is 2000 mg, unless your doctor prescribes more for specific therapies. Otherwise, just 75-90 mg from food is considered adequate for good nutrition.

Thankfully, my freezer is well packed with a variety of frozen fruit, and my blender is always ready to go in the morning. At 89 mg of vitamin C per serving, I've already met my needs for the day with my breakfast smoothie. The fruits and veggies I'll have in lunch and dinner are going to give me the antioxidant boost I'm looking for. In addition to getting vitamins and other nutrients, smoothies are a great way to get the fluids you need to stay hydrated, another key to a healthy immune system.

For more foods to stock up on, check out Q: I'm suck at home. What can I whip together to eat?

Pineapple Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie

89 mg vitamin C per serving


1 cup unsweetened soy drink

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/4 cup rolled oats, dry

1 Tbsp peanut butter

Add water as needed to thin consistency (about 1/2 cup).


Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until smooth.


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