8 Foods To Eat When You Have a Sore Throat

They can ease the pain—and boost your immune system, too.

Shot of a doctor examining a woman’s throat during a consultation

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You may not feel like eating much of anything when your throat is on fire. Still, certain foods can ease your pain while lowering inflammation and bolstering your body's immune system. Prioritizing good nutrition when you're under the weather is one of the best ways to help yourself heal. 

Below you'll find the eight best foods to eat with a sore throat. They're all soothing, easy to swallow, and rich in nutrients. And if you don't feel well enough to trek to the store, place a grocery delivery order online, or ask a friend to pick up what you need.

All-Fruit Popsicles

The ice-cold feel of a tasty ice pop can offer immediate relief for a sore throat. But many pre-made options are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or other added sugars and unwanted additives, like artificial colors and flavors.

You'll want to look for brands made with pureed fruit or juice (and nothing else, like added sugars). Or, you can make ice pops in BPA-free molds with antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries, pomegranate juice, and cherries. You could also include vegetables by blending leafy greens or spinach with green fruit, like kiwi.

Tart cherry juice is another healthy ingredient. In addition to quelling inflammation, it may help you get some rest. That's because cherries are one of the few foods that naturally contain melatonin

Studies have found that in addition to improving sleep, consuming cherries brings many health benefits, including decreasing:

  • Oxidative stress
  • Inflammation
  • Exercise-induced muscle soreness and loss of strength
  • Blood pressure
  • Arthritis

Chamomile Tea With Lemon

In addition to providing anti-inflammatory compounds, chamomile can help people fall asleep fast. Some evidence suggests that postpartum people who drank chamomile tea before bed had better sleep quality than those who didn't. And sleep is especially vital when you're sick. Sleep allows your body to rest while fighting off the bacteria or viruses that make you feel ill. 

Also, chamomile may help reduce muscle spasms if you have a cough. So, steep a bag of chamomile tea in a cup of hot water, and add fresh lemon for a vitamin C boost and bonus antioxidants.

Ginger

Fresh ginger root is a potent antioxidant. The health-promoting benefits of ginger also include anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.

Peel, grate, and add ginger to your homemade fruit pops, chamomile tea with honey, oatmeal, mashed sweet potato, or smoothies.

Honey

If a cough accompanies your sore throat, honey can help. The sweet stuff may be practical as a cough suppressant medication. Additionally, honey exerts the following properties:

  • Antioxidant
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiproliferative
  • Anticancer
  • Antimetastatic 

Look for organic, raw honey or Manuka honey, which hails from New Zealand with incredibly potent antibiotic qualities. Add honey to your chamomile tea or oatmeal, drizzle over mashed sweet potato, whip into smoothies—or lick it right off the spoon.

Mashed Sweet Potato With Cinnamon

Sweet potatoes provide two essential immune-supporting nutrients: vitamins A and C. Both of those vitamins are antioxidants that protect cells against aging and disease.

Sweet potatoes are also full of anti-inflammatory compounds. Research has found that those root vegetables, mainly purple ones, exhibit anti-inflammatory activities. Plus, the mashed texture is soothing for a sore throat.

Cinnamon adds flavor and is also a potent source of antioxidants. Cinnamon supports immunity by helping to fend off viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Mix cinnamon with maple syrup or honey. Then, fold into the mash, or blend both with a few water-soaked dates, almond flour, and maple syrup to make a nutritious "pudding."

Oatmeal With Mashed Banana

Oats are a grain that's filling and easy to digest. Also, the antioxidants and magnesium in oats help curb inflammation, while zinc supports immunity and healing. Research has found that polyphenols in oats possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Like broth, oats offer a base you can blend with other healthful ingredients, like a mashed banana. A terrific add-in due to its mushy texture, bananas also have vitamin C and other antioxidants that add a nutritional boost.

You can also stir in honey, ginger, and cinnamon. Enjoy warm oats mixed with hot water, soak in almond milk with pureed fruit and spices overnight, and eat chilled.

Smoothies

A smoothie can quickly become a complete meal. If you choose your ingredients well, smoothies can provide healthy protein, good fat, and nutrient-rich carbohydrates, in addition to vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

If your appetite is poor, a smoothie or two per day can help you meet overall nutrient needs and simultaneously soothe a sore throat.

Blend a handful of greens with plant protein powder, nut butter or avocado, nut milk or water, frozen fruit, fresh ginger root, turmeric, and black pepper.

Vegetable Broth With Garlic, Turmeric, and Black Pepper

A warm cup of broth is comforting, and the steam can help loosen congestion if you're also stuffed up. Plus, vegetable broth can provide nutrients and antioxidants and become a vehicle for delivering other beneficial ingredients, such as garlic. 

Garlic has sulfur compounds that fight inflammation and contains anti-bacterial, viral, and fungal compounds, which can boost immunity. Research has demonstrated that aged garlic extract may enhance immune cell function, reducing cold and flu symptoms (as well as missed days of work or school).

Make sure you add some turmeric to your broth, too. Asian countries have long used turmeric, a spice, for medicinal properties for centuries. The root's active component, curcumin, helps lower levels of enzymes in the body that fuel inflammation. 

However, curcumin is not well utilized without the addition of piperine, a substance found in black pepper, so be sure to also add pepper.

A Quick Review

Hopefully, your throat will be soothed by these easy-to-swallow and healthy foods. They're an excellent choice for sore throat relief and long-term health.

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Sources
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