No matter which type of fruit you tend to snack on, you’ll get the vitamin C you need. But some fruits have way more than others. Oranges are one of those fruits. Bananas only have about 16 percent of the vitamin C that oranges have. So if you’re looking to get more of the immune-boosting vitamin in your diet, oranges are a better option for you.
What It Does
Vitamin C boosts your immune system, so it can battle against any foreign invader that dares to sneak into your body. But it goes above and beyond that call of duty. It’s a powerful antioxidant that gets rid of free radicals -- molecules that can damage DNA, leading to chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Vitamin C even creates collagen, which is a component of ligaments, tendons and skin and required for wound healing.
Bananas vs. Oranges
You need to get 75 milligrams of vitamin C in your daily diet, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Bananas have a decent amount of vitamin C -- around 10 milligrams in a 4-ounce fruit. However, this is less than 15 percent of your recommendation for the entire day. A 4-ounce orange gives you over 60 milligrams of the vitamin, which is 80 percent of your vitamin C needs for the day.
When You Need More
Sometimes special circumstances require you to get even more vitamin C. If you smoke, for example, you’ll need an extra 35 milligrams of the vitamin above your recommendation. Smoking stresses out cells by upping the free radicals that scavenge through your system. So you need more vitamin C to push away those damaging compounds. You’ll also need more vitamin C during your pregnancy -- 85 milligrams each day. Lastly, if you breast-feed your young one after delivery, you’ll have to aim for 120 milligrams of vitamin C each day.
Getting Too Much
It is possible to get too much vitamin C in your diet, although you’d have to eat a whole lot of fruit for that to happen. If you take a vitamin C supplement in addition to snacking on vitamin C-rich produce, that’s when you may run into problems. Excessive vitamin C -- more than 2,000 milligrams a day -- can aggravate your belly. You could go through cramping, bloating and diarrhea as your body tries to flush it out. Don’t worry though; symptoms should resolve on their own and aren’t likely to be long lasting.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.