If you’re going hard on the OJ to keep colds at bay, you might want to rethink your strategy. While orange juice does contain vitamin C and the nutrient plays a role in the correct functioning of the immune system, the beverage is rich in sugar (fructose) which actually plays against your defences. A better alternative to get your C fix would be to eat the actual fruit, as you’d be getting the fibre as well.
But if you are determined to get rid or your cold, vitamin C might not even be the nutrient you should be chasing. A study titled “Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold”, published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, pointed out that “no consistent effect of vitamin C was seen on the duration or severity of colds in the therapeutic trials.”
While it does acknowledges that in some cases vitamin C helped reduce the duration of a cold, it goes on to conclude that “the failure of vitamin C supplementation to reduce the incidence of colds in the general population indicates that routine vitamin C supplementation is not justified.”
However, there’s hope. Zinc might come to the rescue. The mineral has also been linked to the reduction of a cold’s duration and, as explained by mayoclinic.org, “Zinc may work by preventing the rhinovirus [causing most colds] from multiplying. It may also stop the rhinovirus from lodging in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.”
They do advise to consult your doctor before taking supplements, as large amounts of zinc can bring unpleasant side effects. So, in plain English, zinc can help treat the cold by stopping the virus’ multiplication.
Adding foods that are rich in zinc to your diet is a good alternative, and the good news is, among the many benefits of dark chocolate, is the fact that it is a good source of the precious mineral. A portion of 100 grs of dark chocolate has almost 10 mg of zinc, which is pretty much the recommended daily intake. It’s best to go for the darkest possible type of chocolate, as the higher percentage you go, the less sugar you’ll be throwing into the mix. Other foods rich in zinc include oysters, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
Want to find out about more benefits of dark chocolate? Check out why it might be wise to enjoy it in the morning.