The cold is a common affliction that often makes people miserable, with people in the United States coming down with more than one billion colds each year, often including sneezing, runny noses, coughs or headaches. While there is no cure for colds, high doses of vitamin C may help limit a cold's duration. Drinking juices high in vitamin C may also help if you have low levels of the vitamin. The efficacy of vitamin C on a cold, however, does vary from one person to the next.
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Orange juice is a good source of vitamin C and, as it provides support for your immune system, it is potentially helpful during a cold. A 1-cup serving of raw orange juice has 124 milligrams of vitamin C, which is more than 100 percent of the recommended dietary intake for the vitamin. Vitamin C is also a natural antioxidant, which helps protect your body’s cells from damage or death.
Grapefruit juice, like orange juice, is a source of vitamin C, although it does not have as much vitamin C as orange juice. There are two types of grapefruit juice: pink and white. A 1-cup serving of raw, white or pink grapefruit juice has 94 milligrams of vitamin C per serving. This provides over 100 percent of the RDI of vitamin C for adults and pregnant women -- but not for breastfeeding women -- who require 120 milligrams.
Tomato juice, unlike grapefruit or orange juice, is not a juice you can easily make at home. When buying canned tomato juice, choose one with no added salt to reduce the amount of sodium you take in. A 1-cup serving of tomato juice has 44.5 milligrams of vitamin C, which, while less than the other juices, still provides between 37 and 59 percent of the DRI for all adults. Tomato juice also contains some vitamin A, which, as a natural antioxidant, may also provide support to your body during a cold.
Lemon juice is another citrus juice that is a good source of vitamin C. However, because it is more sour-tasting than either grapefruit or orange juice, it is best if you drink it diluted with water or blend it with other sweeter juices. A 1-cup serving of lemon juice has a little more than 94 milligrams of vitamin C. This provides about as much vitamin C per serving as grapefruit juice does, although you need to add 1-cup of water to the juice before you can drink it.
- MedlinePlus: Common Cold
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin C and Colds
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Orange Juice, Raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Lemon Juice, Raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Tomato Juice, Canned, No Salt
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Grapefruit Juice, White, Raw
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: GrapefruitJuice, Pink, Raw
- MedlinePlus: Antioxidants
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)