How drinking orange juice can make your flu symptoms worse


Sometimes we hear our mom’s voice in the back of our heads when we’re sick telling us how to get better. Buy some chicken noodle soup. Get lots of sleep. Drink orange juice?

Not so fast. Orange juice may not deserve its holy reputation for curing that cold. It’s been praised for its Vitamin C content, but next time I think I’ll pass on the orange juice when I’m feeling under the weather.

It makes your sore throat worse

orange juice chocolate dairy product © Christine Chang orange juice chocolate dairy product

Although Vitamin C is credited for helping with inflammation, the Vitamin C in Orange Juice is completely canceled out because of its acidity. Acidic liquids will aggravate an already-scratchy throat. Try gargling with salt water, not only will it soothe sore throats, it will flush out post-nasal drip (ew) and salt also doesn’t allow bacteria to grow.

Added sugars can further hurt your immune system

orange juice chocolate dairy product © Christine Chang orange juice chocolate dairy product

Most juices that you buy at the grocery store are full of hidden sugars that can wreak havoc on your immune system. Extra sugar can reduce the quality of your white blood cells which help keep your immune system running smoothly.

Most commercial orange juice is so over processed that it wouldn’t even be drinkable without added “flavour packs.”

You could be eating more beneficial foods instead

orange juice broccoli cabbage © Kristine Mahan orange juice broccoli cabbage

If you want to get some micronutrients in, stick to actually peeling an orange. Or try some other Vitamin C heavy foods like broccoli or red bell peppers. You’ll get some added fiber, so you can make it part of a meal.

If you’re not into vegetables, chop up some garlic for a pasta dish (or eat a clove—yes, I’ve done this.) They act as a natural antibiotic and provide the most antioxidants when eaten raw.

You’ll be neglecting your water intake

orange juice lemonade water © Caroline Liu orange juice lemonade water

By drinking orange juice, you might be forgetting to hydrate yourself with the simplest juice of all: water. Hydration is key to fight off a cold. It keeps your organs hydrated and working great to prevent a cold, but also flushes out toxins if you’re already suffering.

Jazz up your drinks with some hot, vegan options too, so that you can get better as soon as possible.

Use it as a prevention method

orange juice juice sweet © Jocelyn Hsu orange juice juice sweet

If you’re in love with orange juice, don’t fret. The Vitamin C will help boost your immune system to avoid future colds. You can still enjoy this drink, just maybe don’t give it such high priority when you’re sick. 

Want to know what’s an even better prevention method? Dark chocolate. Yep, research shows eating chocolate can help alleviate cold symptoms. Move over, OJ.



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