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Are you having difficulty swallowing? Is your throat swollen or scratchy? If so, you probably have a sore throat. After all, millions of individuals get this condition each year, and now that we’re in the thick of cold and flu season (not to mention still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic), sore throats are everywhere.
While the cause of your sore throat will vary—sore throats are symptoms of illness and can be caused by bacterial infections, like strep, or viruses—they tend to feel the same. “A sore throat is a discomfort or pain in the throat,” Omid Mehdizadeh, an otolaryngologist and laryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Parade. “It can be perceived more when speaking or swallowing at various times.”
The good news is that while there’s no “cure” for a sore throat, there are ways to alleviate the discomfort and give your immune system a little boost. Certain foods can coat your throat while others can reduce swelling and pain. Here are the 20 best foods for a sore throat.
Food for a sore throat
Honey can feel soothing on the throat when it’s sore, but there’s some research to suggest that two teaspoons of honey can act as a cough suppressant, too.
Smooth, cold, and creamy, ice cream is a delicious way to soothe a sore throat—one study found that ice cream had a soothing effect for patients after a tonsillectomy.
In addition to soothing a sore throat, the live cultures in yogurt can actually help boost your immune system, according to research.
Related: 10 Home Remedies for a Sore Throat
There’s some research that the vegetables and chicken in chicken soup actually have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help with a sore throat.
Delicious and nutritious, eggs are a great food for sore throats. They are soft and can be prepared in several ways, including scrambled. They are also full of protein and infection-fighting minerals, such as zinc, iron and selenium.
High in fiber and ingredients like magnesium and zinc, oatmeal is an excellent food for sore throats, as it has infecting-fighting properties and a soft texture.
With a super soft texture and creamy consistency, mashed potatoes are the perfect “I don’t feel good” food. Potatoes are also a surprising source of vitamin C, which can help ease symptoms of a cold or sore throat. Just make sure that you don’t eat your potatoes when they’re piping hot, as heat can cause additional irritation and inflammation.
While Jell-O doesn’t have any medicinal properties, the fun, fruity, and easy-to-swallow food is ideal for those with sore throats.
Related: Got a Sore Throat? A Salt Water Gargle May Be Your Best Bet
Puddings are also recommended for those with sore throats, as their soft texture won’t cause any further irritation. They are also a delicious dessert.
Long known for its nausea-reducing properties, ginger is also great for those with sore throats. According to Harland Adkins, a registered dietician and nutritionist, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that may help sore throats by reducing swelling and pain.
Does the thought of eating solid food seem scary thanks to how much your throat hurts? If so, you may want to drink your calories. Fruits and vegetables tend to pack tons of vitamin C, which can help ease symptoms of a sore throat.
Made from boiled cornmeal and mixed with butter or cheese, grits are another great option for sore throats. Plus, grits are high in iron, which is essential for red blood cell production.
Not only is pomegranate juice delicious, but it’s also nutritious—particularly when you’re sick. “Studies have shown that the nutrients in pomegranate juice may ward off infection and reduce inflammation,” Adkins explains. Serve cold or cool.
If you’re looking for something a bit more filling, you may want to try slightly overcooked pasta. While this item has a bit more bite than other foods on this list, it is nourishing and (relatively) easy to swallow.
Related: Best Ginger Tea Recipes for a Sore Throat
Soft and nutritious and full of vitamins, like C and B6, bananas help boost your immune system while being gentle on the throat.
Cottage cheese is another easy-to-consume food, particularly small curd, as it doesn’t require a lot of effort to swallow and it is chock full of health benefits.
While vegetables may seem like an odd choice, cooked vegetables are packed with essential nutrients that can help with a sore throat.
While sage is (technically) an herb and not a food, the purported health benefits of sage should not be overlooked, i.e. sage can tone irritated tissues and kill bacteria. Not sure how to use it? Try infusing sage with honey and water to create a tonic or tea.
Another great herb is turmeric because, according to Adkins, it may have healing antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
One study found that gargling a green tea solution helped ease a sore throat after surgery. Not only that, but hot tea can be soothing for a scratchy throat. Just make sure it’s not too hot.
Next up, here’s why the 2021 flu season may be worse than ever—and how to prepare.
- Omid Mehdizadeh, an otolaryngologist and laryngologist
- “Honey for treatment of cough in children.” Can Fam Physician.
- “The Effect of Ice Cream Intake on Pain Relief for Patients After Tonsillectomy.” Cureus.
- “Effects of oral administration of yogurt fermented with Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus OLL1073R-1 and its exopolysaccharides against influenza virus infection in mice.” Int Immunopharmacol.
- “Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro.” Chest.
- “The Effect of Green Tea Gargle Solution on Sore Throat After Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” Anesth Pain Med.
- Harland Adkins, a registered dietician and nutritionist