Chances are you've been sipping on orange juice in hopes of preventing or fighting a cold or flu ever since you were a kid. This makes sense because not only does orange juice provide your body with Vitamin C to boost your immune system, but your mom said it was a good idea, and moms know best right?
Well, I hate to break it to you but mom is wrong about this one.
Turns out, drinking orange juice is not the best way to get rid of a cold or flu. It could actually make you feel worse.
"It's fair to say that vitamin C supplementation both shortens duration of cold and offers some protection against colds, though it's not very dramatic," Stephen Lawson, a researcher at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, told Live Science.
So before you reach for a glass of the citrus drink, here are three reasons why health experts are now advising sick people to think twice before sipping:
1. The acidity
Contrary to popular belief, that burn you feel when the juice hits your sore throat isn't because the virus is dying. It's the high acidity of the juice that's setting your throat on fire, further aggravating the soreness by burning the inflamed membranes in your throat.
2. The sugar content
While there is no doubt that store-bought orange juice is a great source of Vitamin C, it also contains an alarmingly high amount of sugar. A 12-ounce glass of OJ contains 9 teaspoons of sugar, which is approximately the same as a 12-ounce can of Coke. Scary, right?
When you're sick, the last thing you want to do is increase your glucose intake. Sugar and Vitamin C use the same receptors in your body, so the more sugar you consume, the less your Vitamin C intake. Sugar also slows down your immune system, and reduces your kidney's ability to absorb the crucial vitamin, all of which will only make your condition worse.
When you're focused on drinking orange juice to increase your body's Vitamin C levels, you're neglecting your water intake. When you have a cold of the flu, you tend to lose a lot of fluids, so it is imperative that you increase your H2O intake during this time to prevent dehydration.
Considering the severity of this year's flu season, it's important to opt for remedies other than orange juice that will cure the infection faster and more effectively.
Eating an orange in its natural state is one way to ensure that you're meeting your daily Vitamin C requirement and protect yourself from catching a cold or the flu. Multivitamins and Vitamin C tablets are also great alternatives.
If you're already sick, try soothing your sore throat with some hot tea or soup. They won't agitate the inflamed membranes, plus they taste better than OJ.
Increasing your intake of foods that are rich in Vitamin C, like broccoli and red bell peppers, will also help you prevent and/or beat your illness.
Do you drink orange juice when you're sick? Let us know in the comments!