What Vegetables Have Citric Acid


This article will outline what vegetables that have citric acid in them and also give other sources of citric acid. Citric acid is very important for our body because it has many health benefits and works as a great diet pill. What are these benefits of citric acid and what does citric acid do to our body?

What Vegetables Have Citric Acid

Natural sources of citric acid include citrus fruits, particularly lemons and limes. It is the cause of their tangy, sour flavor.

Citric acid in a produced form is frequently added to foods, household products, and dietary supplements.

Contrary to what is naturally present in citrus fruits, this produced form is different.

You could be unsure of its health benefits due to this.

This article examines the advantages, applications, and safety of citric acid as well as the distinctions between natural and synthetic citric acid.

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What is citric acid?

A Swedish scientist discovered citrus acid from lemon juice in 1784.

Prior to the discovery that the black mold Aspergillus niger, which produces citric acid when it feeds on sugar, may also be used to manufacture the flavorless and colorless substance in the early 1900s, the compound was only known to be made from lemon juice.

Citric acid is mostly employed as a flavoring and preservative because of its acidic, sour taste, especially in soft drinks and candies.

Additionally, it is employed as a disinfectant and to stabilize or maintain medications.


Citric acid is a compound originally derived from lemon juice. It’s produced today from a specific type of mold and used in a variety of applications.

Natural food sources

Citrus fruits and their juices are the best natural sources of citric acid.

In fact, the word citric originates from the Latin word citrus .

Examples of citrus fruits include:

  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges
  • grapefruits
  • tangerines
  • pomelos

Other fruits also contain citric acid but in lesser amounts. These include:

  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • cranberries
  • cherries
  • tomatoes

Citric acid is also present in beverages and food items that contain these fruits, such as tomato-based ketchup.

Citric acid is also a result of the manufacturing of cheese, wine, and sourdough bread, despite not being a naturally occurring substance.

Citric acid that is labeled in meals and supplements as an ingredient is synthesized, not what is naturally present in citrus fruits.

This is due to the prohibitive cost of generating this addition from citrus fruits and the astronomical demand.


Lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits are the predominant natural sources of citric acid. Other fruits that contain much smaller amounts of it include certain berries, cherries, and tomatoes.

Artificial sources and uses

The characteristics of citric acid make it an important additive for a variety of industries.

Food and beverages use an estimated 70% of manufactured citric acid, pharmaceutical and dietary supplements use 20%, and the remaining 10% goes into cleaning agents

Food industry

Manufactured citric acid is one of the most common food additives in the world.

It’s used to boost acidity, enhance flavor, and preserve ingredients.

Sodas, juices, powdered beverages, candies, frozen foods, and some dairy products often contain manufactured citric acid.

It’s also sometimes added to canned fruits and vegetables to protect against botulism, a rare but serious illness caused by the toxin-producing Clostridium botulinum bacterium.

Medicines and dietary supplements

Citric acid is an industrial staple in medicines and dietary supplements.

It’s added to medicines to help stabilize and preserve the active ingredients and used to enhance or mask the taste of chewable and syrup-based medications.

Mineral supplements, such as magnesium and calcium, may also contain citric acid (in the form of citrate) to enhance absorption.

Disinfecting and cleaning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that citric acid is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a direct food additive.

Since the early 1900’s, approximately 99 percent of the world’s production of manufactured citric acid has been developed from black mold (the Aspergillus niger fungus). Black mold efficiently converts sugars into citric acid. Its fermentation is also generally recognized as safe by the FDA under its Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.


Citric acid is a versatile additive for food, beverages, medicines, and dietary supplements, as well as cleaning and disinfecting products.

Safety Information

Citric acid is classified as a direct food additive that is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Approximately 99 percent of the manufactured citric acid produced worldwide since the turn of the 20th century comes from black mold (the fungus Aspergillus niger). Citric acid is produced from carbohydrates by black mold with efficiency. In accordance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA also typically recognizes its fermentation as safe.

Excessive amounts of citric acid may cause tooth enamel to dissolve over time. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends foods containing citric acid be consumed in moderation. They also recommend rinsing the mouth after eating or drinking food and beverages that contain citric acid. Using a straw when drinking beverages that contain citric acid can also help minimize tooth decay. Drinking water and eating less acidic foods, such as nuts, bananas and cheese, when consuming foods that contain citric acid can also be beneficial.

What Vegetables Have Citric Acid?


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The sour flavor experienced with some foods is due to citric acid. It can be found in many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges.


Citric acid is an organic, crystalline acid that exists in a variety of fruits and vegetables. It is colorless and is derived by fermentation of carbohydrates.


Citric acid can be found in beans, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes. The acidity in foods can be measured in “pH” levels. The lower the pH level, the more acid is in the food. Tomatoes are high in citric acid and measure between 4.30 and 4.90 in pH level. Broccoli measures between 6.30 and 6.52 in pH level.


Food manufacturers add citric acid to jams, canned fruits and vegetables. Citric acid is also added to soft drinks for the sour taste.

Natural Cleansers

Many environmentally friendly products use citric acid as their cleaning agent. Citric acid can also be used for odor control.


A person usually consumes about 500 mg citric acid per day. This is about the same as 2 ounces of orange juice. Citric acid is absorbed through the digestive tract and eliminated by the kidneys.

Sources Of Citric Acid

Fresh citrus fruits in the wooden box

Oranges, lemons, and limes have the highest concentration of citric acid.

Citric acid, which naturally occurs in fruits and vegetables, is used in foods and beverages as a preservative and flavour. Additionally, the Krebs cycle of human metabolism, which involves the oxidation of lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates, depends on the citric acid in food.

You can find foods containing citric acid in your garden, orchard, and neighborhood grocery shop. Benefits of citric acid extend beyond food. In addition, it is frequently found in hand sanitizers, candles, air fresheners, cleaning supplies, and personal care items.

Citric Acid in Food

Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and limes are foods that naturally contain citric acid, according to a study released in February 2015 by the International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences.In particular, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, cranberries, and gooseberries all contain citric acid, with the exception of blueberries. Citric acid is also present in pineapples, cherries, tomatoes, certain peppers, artichokes, and some lettuce kinds.

Citric acid protects processed foods as an additive, extending their shelf life, as stated in a 2015 article from the European Food Safety Authority.Citric acid accelerates the fermentation of milk during the cheese-making process, making it a crucial component of industrial-scale cheese production. Traditionally, milk is fermented into cheese by adding a bacterial culture and letting it sit for a while. Citric acid is used to expedite this process in commercial cheese production. Citric acid is added to soft drinks, especially fruit-flavored ones, as a preservative and flavoring.

Citric acid is used as a fat emulsifier in less priced frozen desserts to prevent the additional vegetable fats from separating in ice cream, sherbet, and sorbet. It causes an effervescent activity in candies, powdered drinks, as well as powders and tablets for indigestion, when combined with sodium bicarbonate.

Beverages and Citric Acid

Tartaric, malic, and citric acids are found in fruits like wine-making grapes. These affect the wine’s color, harmony, and flavor while increasing the overall acidity of a vintage. Additionally, during fermentation, these acids have an impact on yeast growth, which inhibits bacterial growth.

The majority of the citric acid present in affordable, commercially available wine is a result of post-fermentation additions of fermenting sucrose solutions.

Sources of Citric Acid

It’s not just sour citrus fruits that have citric acid. All plants and animals have small traces of it. Many packaged food and nonfood items, like cosmetics and cleaning products, also contain citric acid, but a manufactured version, not the type that you find in nature.

Natural sources of citric acid

Foods that are high in natural citric acid are citrus fruits, especially the juice of lemons and limes. Other fruits and vegetables also contain some natural citric acid.

These foods have the highest amounts of naturally occurring citric acid:

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Berries

Artificial sources and uses of citric acid

The citric acid that’s added to food and drinks, medications, personal care products, and cleaning products is artificial.

This type of citric acid is used in:

  • The food industry. Citric acid is often added to packaged food and drinks. It helps keep canned and jarred foods fresh over long periods of time. It can prevent some kinds of fresh-cut produce, like sliced apples, from turning brown. Citric acid can also help thicken foods or give them a slightly sour flavor. That’s why you might see citric acid listed as an ingredient in some ice creams, sorbets, or sodas.
  • Alcohol. Citric acid can balance out the acid in a food or drink. Winemakers sometimes add it to their products to improve the taste.
  • Medicines. Some creams include citric acid to help clear up skin infections. Other citric acid drugs that you take by mouth can lower the amount of acid in your urine. This can help prevent kidney stones. You might also take citric acid for metabolic acidosis, a buildup of acid inside your body.
  • Supplements. Some people take calcium citrate supplements, which can help prevent kidney stones.
  • Personal care products. When manufacturers mix citric acid with other ingredients, they can form a compound called “alpha hydroxy acid” that helps smooth your skin. It’s also in some cosmetics and toiletries — like lipstick, hair spray, and deodorant — to help them last longer.
  • Household cleaners. Because citric acid can eat away at hard water buildup, you’ll often see it in dishwasher detergent. Other household cleaners also include it as an ingredient since it can help remove stains and odors.
  • Disinfectants. Since citric acid kills some types of bacteria and viruses, you’ll find it in insect sprays, products that kill fungus or algae, hand sanitizer, and even some tissues you use to blow your nose.
  • Environmental cleanup products. Citric acid can safely remove toxins from polluted soil and even clean up nuclear waste.

Benefits Of Citric Acid

There are many reasons to add citric acid to food, medicine, or other products. It can:

  • Preserve food. It is used to keep food fresh for longer periods. In some cases, it may prevent foodborne botulism, an illness that can be caused by home-canned foods that are low in acid.
  • Preserve personal care products. It may keep cosmetics and other products fresh for longer.
  • Have protective effects in the body. Citric acid used in medicine can kill bacteria and lower the acid in urine.
  • Remove tough stains. For this reason, it’s added to some cleaning products.


Vegetables are packed with essential nutrients and are an important part of a healthy diet. Here are some health benefits of vegetables:

  1. Nutrient-rich: Vegetables are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that are vital for overall health. They are low in calories and fat, making them a great option for weight management.
  2. Disease prevention: Many vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals. Regular consumption of vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
  3. Digestive health: Vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber, which promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy digestive system.
  4. Hydration: Many vegetables have a high water content, which can help to keep the body hydrated, especially during hot weather or intense physical activity.
  5. Eye health: Certain vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes, are rich in carotenoids, which are beneficial for eye health and may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
  6. Bone health: Some vegetables, including leafy greens like kale and broccoli, are high in calcium and vitamin K, which are important for bone health and can help prevent osteoporosis.
  7. Skin health: Vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, such as tomatoes and bell peppers, can help protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation and environmental pollutants, and promote healthy, glowing skin.
  8. Heart health: Many vegetables are low in sodium and high in potassium, which can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  9. Weight management: Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, which can help with weight management by keeping you full and satisfied, reducing the risk of overeating.
  10. Overall health: Incorporating a variety of vegetables into your diet can help boost your overall health and well-being, as they provide essential nutrients that support various bodily functions and contribute to optimal health.

It’s important to note that the health benefits of vegetables can vary depending on the type of vegetable, how they are prepared, and your individual health needs. It’s recommended to consume a wide variety of vegetables as part of a balanced diet to maximize their health benefits. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can also provide personalized recommendations for incorporating vegetables into your diet for optimal health.


What are some fruits and vegetables that contain citric acid?

Citric acid occurs naturally in lemons, limes, pineapples, grapefruits, berries (not blueberries), tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and some varieties of peppers.

What is citric acid used for?

Citric acid is used in insecticides and disinfectants to help destroy bacteria and viruses. It is used to preserve and marinate meats, and flavor foods and beverages. For example, citric acid is used in wine to reduce low acidity and improve taste.

Citric acid is also used in cosmetic and personal care products as a preservative, and in cleaning products to remove hard water build up.

Does citric acid come from black mold?

Approximately 99 percent of the world’s production of manufactured citric acid is developed from the Aspergillus niger fungus, also known as black mold. Black mold efficiently converts sugars into citric acid and its fermentation also is generally recognized as safe by FDA under its Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Is citric acid bad for your teeth?

Excessive amounts of citric acid may cause tooth enamel to dissolve overtime. The Academy of General Dentistry states that foods containing concentrations of the organic acid should be consumed in moderation. Rinsing the mouth after eating or drinking food and beverages that contain citric acid is also recommended. Using a straw when drinking beverages that contain citric acid is another option.

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