The best way to prevent scurvy is to eat a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

This will ensure that you have enough vitamin C in your body at all times.


It's recommended that:

  • babies (0-12 months old) get around 25mg of vitamin C a day
  • children 1-10 years old get around 30mg of vitamin C a day
  • children 11-14 years old get around 35mg of vitamin C a day
  • older children and adults get around 40mg of vitamin C a day (people who smoke or drink large amounts of alcohol may require slightly more)
  • pregnant women get 50mg of vitamin C a day
  • breastfeeding mothers get around 70-75mg of vitamin C a day 

It's very easy for most people to get the recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin C from their diet. For example, eating one large orange, a bowl of strawberries or a single kiwi fruit would provide you with more than enough vitamin C to meet your body's needs.

Consuming more than the amounts of vitamin C outlined above isn't overly harmful. The only adverse effects you would experience if you were to regularly eat more than 1000mg of vitamin C a day (the equivalent of eating about 15 oranges) would be stomach pain, diarrhoea and flatulence.

Sources of vitamin C

Fruit and vegetables are some of the best sources of vitamin C, including:

  • oranges
  • lemons
  • limes
  • grapefruits
  • blackcurrants
  • strawberries
  • kiwi fruits
  • tomatoes
  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • green peppers
  • sprouts
  • sweet potatoes

It's better to eat raw fruit and vegetables because vitamin C is easily destroyed during cooking. If you cook vegetables, it's a good idea to steam rather than boil them, because vitamin C dissolves in water.

Levels of vitamin C also gradually reduce during storage, so frozen vegetables can have a higher vitamin C content than fresh vegetables that aren't eaten soon after purchase.

Read more about healthy eating, food and diet and the eatwell plate.

Page last reviewed: 14/01/2015
Next review due: 14/01/2018