Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that serves many important roles in the body.
For instance, it’s needed to make collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen gives structure and flexibility to the skin and is critical for the proper functioning of the bones, muscles and blood vessels (12).
Additionally, vitamin C helps the body absorb non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant foods.
What’s more, it’s a powerful antioxidant. In fact, it has been extensively researched for its potential cancer-fighting qualities (13).
Vitamin C works to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals, which has been associated with many chronic diseases, including cancer (
In fact, a recent analysis of 21 studies found that the risk of lung cancer decreased by 7% for each daily 100-mg increase in vitamin C intake (
However, this study was limited because it could not determine whether the decreased risk of lung cancer was caused by vitamin C or other compounds found in fruits and vegetables.
Even though more research is needed to determine this vitamin’s role in cancer prevention, it’s certain that vitamin C plays a key role in many important functions in the body.
While both green and red cabbage are excellent sources of this potent antioxidant, red cabbage contains about 30% more.
One cup (89 grams) of chopped red cabbage packs in 85% of the recommended intake for vitamin C, which is the same amount found in a small orange (21).
Summary: Your body needs vitamin C for many important functions, and it is a potent antioxidant. Red cabbage is particularly high in this nutrient, providing about 85% of the RDI per cup (89 grams).