Vitamin C (also termed ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant vitamin that your body needs to maintain healthy bones, skin, and muscles. Good food sources of vitamin C include lemons, papaya, strawberries, orange juice, kiwi, bell peppers, cantaloupe, broccoli, and other types of fruits and veggies. Most people easily get enough vitamin C in their daily diets. Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C does not prevent colds, but it may help shorten the duration of the common cold if you take a supplement regularly. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin so you need to eat vitamin C rich foods regularly or take a supplement to make sure you always maintain adequate levels. A deficiency of vitamin C was a cause of scurvy (swollen, bleeding gums, loose teeth and poor wound healing) in sailors and others who had diet lacking in fresh citrus fruits and vegetables.