Flu season is in full force this year, and many of us have already caught the virus and had to spend days fighting it off. Arguably the most well known go-to “cure” to turn to while sick is orange juice, which always came alongside chicken soup to help fight off colds, fevers, and whatnot. Turns out, however, that orange juice’s curative properties are all just in our head.
Orange juice’s high vitamin C content is one of the big reasons we use it as a drink to help fight off colds or flu. However, WebMD reports that the micronutrient provides little to no benefit in combating those ailments. Taking vitamin C daily also doesn’t help prevent colds, so overdosing on it on the daily isn’t a big help either.
To be honest, orange juice could actually make things worse for you. One study found that the fructose (natural fruit sugar) inside of it actually represses the immune system, making it harder to fight off your cold. So drinking it could prolong the duration of your illness. Yikes.
Fortunately, there are other ways to take on the cold that work way better than your typical glass of OJ. According to Business Insider, zinc is a great mineral to take to fight the common cold, since it can block the proliferation of the viruses that cause it. The best food sources of zinc include un-toasted pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, and dark chocolate.
Unsweetened dark chocolate has about 10 mg of zinc per 100 grams, which amounts to about a full bar of chocolate and provides two-thirds of the recommended daily intake. It’ll be a little bit bitter because of how dark the chocolate is, but it could be a big help in getting you out of bed and back on your feet faster.