What to Eat with A Sore Throat (Comprehensive List of Foods, Teas & Soups)
Often the pain, scratchiness or irritation in the throat gets worsened while swallowing. It is a primary symptom of a sore throat. Sore throat is commonly caused by a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A Sore throat, burning, and uncomfortable feelings make it hard to drink or eat. Read more about What to Eat with a Sore Throat.
A sore throat can also be caused by streptococcal infections known as strep throat which is less common. The sore throat caused by a virus can be resolved on your own but if the sore throat is caused due to bacterial infections then it requires treatment with antibiotics to prevent further complications.
Environmental factors like dry air and change in weather can also result in sore throat. Although a sore throat is very uncomfortable due to pain and difficulty in swallowing, it usually goes away on its own.
Types of Sore Throat
There are different types of sore throat like
It affects the area exactly at the back of the mouth.
The redness and swelling in the tonsils are medically called as tonsilitis. They appear bright red and sometimes white patches and pus is also formed on the tonsils
There are swelling and the redness in the voice box also known as the larynx
At times, it is a very annoying, continuous itchy feeling that makes you feel uncomfortable and gives you constant irritation. In such situations, home remedies can be used to treat sore throat and still if it persists then one should take help from doctors.
Why Eating and Drinking is Painful during Sore Throat?
Muscles involved in swallowing (muscles of tongue, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus) are all affected during the sore throat. Hence, any activity related to swallowing often increases pain and discomfort.
The following are the symptoms that appear due to sore throat resulting in pain during swallowing activities like eating and drinking.
Symptoms of Sore Throat
These symptoms may vary depending on the cause, but the most common sign and symptoms include (1):
- Pain in the throat (mild or severe depending on the severity)
- Scratchy sensation in the throat
- Pain that gets worsened with swallowing or talking
- Difficulty while swallowing food and other things
- Swollen glands in your neck
- Swollen Bright red tonsils
- White patches or pus formed on your tonsils
- Change in voice (hoarse or muffled)
- Due to these symptoms, while you swallow it hurts. This pain of swallowing increases if your tonsils are swelled, bright red and white patches or pus is formed. The white patches are common signs in strep throat caused by bacterial infections.
This sore throat can further result in other signs and symptoms, which includes
- Body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Runny nose
Causes of Sore Throat
Several reasons cause sore throat ranging from infection to injuries. They are as follows:
The flu, colds and other viral infections 90 % of sore throats are caused by viruses and viruses that cause sore throats are (2):
- Common cold
- Infection that’s transmitted through saliva-mononucleosis
- Strep throat and other bacterial infections: Strep throat is caused by Bacterial infections, most commonly by a group A Streptococcus bacteria, giving rise to an infection in the throat and tonsils are also affected. Generally, antibiotics are required for the treatment.
- Allergies: Allergens like pollen, grass and pet dander trigger allergy, when the immune system reacts towards those allergens. In response to allergens, the human body releases chemicals leading to symptoms like throat infection, nasal congestion, sneezing, and watery eyes.
- Dry air: Dry air environment dries the moisture from the mouth and throat, leaving it dry and scratchy. Hence, most of the people face sore throat problem in winter as the air is mostly dry in the winter months.
- Smoke, chemicals, and Irritants
- Injury: Injuries such as hit or cut to the neck results in the pain of the throat.
- One may get sore throat due to talking loudly, after yelling or even after singing for a long period.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease: It is a condition in which acids from the stomach refluxes up into the esophagus (a tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach through peristalsis movement).
- The acid that backs up into the stomach burns the esophagus and throat causing symptoms like heartburn and regurgitation of acid into your throat.
- Tumor: A tumor of the larynx, throat or tongue is a less common cause of a sore throat. When a sore throat is a sign of cancer, it will not go away after a few days and treatment has to be taken.
Prevention from Sore Throat
There are many ways by which you can prevent sore throat. Some of them are
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid sharing your food, and utensils.
- Cover your nose while coughing or sneezing with a tissue and do not reuse it. If possible, use your elbow while coughing and sneezing.
- Use hand sanitizers (alcohol-based) as an alternative to washing hands in a situation where soap and water are not available.
- Keep social distancing.
- Use sanitizing cleanser to regularly clean telephones, TV remotes, and computer keyboards.
- If you are traveling, take extra care while sanitizing your phones and remotes wherever you stay.
Drinks for Sore Throat
Following are the warm herbal drinks to provide instant relief from pain due to sore throat.
1. Turmeric Milk
Adding a teaspoon of turmeric in hot milk and drinking one glass before bed will help you to improve the conditions. You can also add some amount of ghee which will coat your throat further relieving you from sore throat. Turmeric milk also has a lot of other health benefits (3).
2. Ginger-Cinnamon-Licorice Tea
The combination of ginger, cinnamon, and licorice is the best to provide instant relief from the symptoms of sore throat. Prepare a mixture of two parts ginger, two parts cinnamon and three parts licorice. Add one teaspoon of the prepared herbal mixture to a glass of water and keep it for 5-10 minutes. Drink this herbal water three times a day. You can add a little honey to enhance its taste and effect. Since this tea contains licorice which has properties like aspirin, it quickly helps to gain relief (4).
3. Ginger Tea
The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of spice ginger help to relieve throat pain (5). Add grated ginger in a good amount to boiling water and let the water soak all its goodness. Add honey to make it slightly tastier and more beneficial. Also, you can simply add ginger to your milk tea and enjoy the best of it.
Teas for sore throat provide much-needed relief and soothes the throat.
4. Chamomile Tea
For a long time, chamomile tea is being used for medical purposes due to the presence of healing properties. If you have this tea in bedtime, it promotes restful sleep and avoids constant harsh coughs at night. The presence of anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties helps fight infections, thereby reducing various signs and symptoms (6). You can prepare and drink this tea at least twice a day to get quick relief.
5. Peppermint Tea
Anti-inflammatory compounds present in peppermint tea are extremely soothing for the throat (7). Just add fresh peppermint leave into the boiling water and after boiling for 5-10minutes strain off the leaves and have this tea. It will not only relieve symptoms but also replenish your body.
6. Lemon Water
Squeeze half lemon in a glass of warm water and add little honey and salt. Lemons contain vitamin C and antioxidants that increase the amount of saliva produced inside the mouth and hence keeps your throat’s mucus membrane moist (8).
7. Cinnamon Almond Milk
It helps to fight throat pain and infection caused due to a cold or flu. Prepare cinnamon tea using cinnamon and hot water or add it to other warm beverages to help ease throat comfort (9).
8. Marshmallow Root Infusion
Since middle ages marshmallow plant treats sore throat and other conditions. Marshmallow roots contain a gelatin-like substance known as mucilage which coats and lubricates your throat (10).
Apart from this drink, you can have fruit juices like pomegranate juice as it helps to ward off the infection and reduce inflammation.
Foods for Sore Throat
When you have a sore throat, it is very difficult to swallow foods that we eat on a routine basis resulting in more pain. Hence, foods that are soft and easy to swallow are usually safe when you have a sore throat. Warm food will help soothe your throat.
Hence, foods which you may eat or suggest to people having sore throat problems are:
- Cooked pasta including macaroni and cheese
- Cooked cereals, warm oatmeal or grits
- Desserts prepared from gelatin
- Cooked vegetables
- Chicken soup or any other vegetable soup or cream-based soups
- Yogurt with pureed fruits or plain yogurt
- Mashed potatoes
- Hard-boiled eggs or scrambled
- Fruit or vegetable smoothies
Eating or drinking the above-listed foods and drinks will help you stay nourished without irritating your already sore throat and may also help you treat your symptoms if started early.
Foods to avoid during Sore Throat
There are foods and drinks to avoid to prevent the symptoms from getting worse. These include:
- Crackers and crunchy, hard foods
- Pickle or brined foods
- Crusty bread
- Tomato juice and sauces
- Irritating spices
- Dry snacks such as potato chips, nachos, pretzels or popcorn
- Fresh raw vegetables