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Can orange juice actually help you stave off or cure the flu?


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Photo: Stocksy/Giada Canu

As this year’s flu season wreaks havoc across the country, most of us are trying everything under the (weak winter) sun to stave off or recover from the sickness, like loading our desks with ginger shots and other seasonal essentials, making sure that sniffly coworker works from home, and—according to a new report—buying tons of orange juice.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Americans are responding to one of the worst flu seasons in years by stocking up on OJ—so much so that orange juice sales increased (for the first time in five years) by almost a whole percentage point from December to January.

While health-minded folks are growing increasingly wary of the side effects of sugar, opting instead for sugar-free drinks like LaCroix or probiotic-filled ones like kombucha, the orange juice industry has taken a hit. According to Thrillist, the market for the citric beverage has actually halved since 2001. Yet this flu season has everyone running for the traditional liquid-sunshine remedy.

Vitamin C lessens the severity of your flu only if you have it in your system prior to getting sick, according to Grub Street.

But does the increased vitamin C intake actually do you any good? Only somewhat, according to Grub Street. Vitamin C lessens the severity of your flu, but only if you have it in your system prior to getting sick. And, since most orange juices are packed with sugar (likely why people have been choosing other drinks instead), Grub Street points out that vitamin C supplements like Emergen-C, which packs 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C but only 35 calories, might be a worthy alternative.

So sure, turn to orange juice when you’re craving a sweat treat, but as for avoiding the flu, you’re probably better off getting the vaccination (just don’t forget to smile for the shot!).

If you haven’t been affected by the flu, here are some tips for keeping it that way and how to look after someone without getting the illness yourself

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