As someone who loves food a lot, few things are more devastating for me than a sore throat. On top of not being able to taste anything, the pain when trying to swallow food is pretty excruciating when your throat is irritated.
It's always best to consult your doctor if a sore throat is truly unbearable or caused by something other than just an irritation (if it's bacterial, you may need medicine). As for what you can eat while you wait it out? We turned to Beverly Hills concierge doctor Ehsan Ali, MD, LiveHealth Online physician Mia Finkelston, MD, and creator of Reserveage Nutrition and author of Glow15 Naomi Whittel to break down for us what are the best foods for a sore throat and what foods to avoid. Scroll down to see what they said below.
Foods to Eat
1. Coconut oil: "It is antimicrobial and attacks bacteria, fungi, and even many viruses so your immune system can step in and get rid of the problem faster. It is also anti-inflammatory, so it soothes the pain, irritation, and scratchiness of a sore throat," says Whittel.
2. Warm water with honey: According to Ali, it reduces inflammation.
3. Garlic: "Since garlic is praised for its anti-inflammatory properties, I recommend some garlic whenever there is a sore throat," says Finkelston. "You can dip garlic bread into soup, shake a bit of garlic powder into a smoothie, or make pasta sauce with fresh garlic."
4. Cinnamon: "It contains antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, which are known to suppress E. coli, candida albicans, and staphylococcus," says Whittel. "It contains anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce the inflammation. It eases the pain and discomfort caused by the sore throat."
5. Mashed potatoes: "They are easy to swallow, and are filling if you don't have much of an appetite. You can also easily add garlic," says Finkelston.
6. Warm tea soaked with honey, garlic, and ginger: "Garlic and ginger are anti-inflammatory and soothe," says Ali. "I drink it three to four times per day when I have a sore throat. It also boosts your immune system."
7. Green Tea: "In a study reported in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, scientists found that gargling green tea helped ward off sore throat symptoms in postoperative patients," says Whittel. "Green tea has numerous other health benefits that may improve overall functioning and healing."
8. Soup: "Any soup is good, but most people prefer the clearer, less thick soups when they are sick, as they are easier to consume," says Finkelston. "Soup is one of the easiest foods to get down when you're not feeling well and it can be loaded with nutrition, which helps if you are eating less overall."
9. Macaroni and cheese: "I also recommend macaroni and cheese for the same reasons as mashed potatoes—it's filling and easy to swallow if you have a sore throat," says Finkelston.
10. Earl Grey tea: "The bergamot found within Earl Grey is said to improve the immune system as well as cure fevers," says Whittel. "As such, it's considered to be a natural cold remedy."
Foods to Avoid
1. Dairy: "It may increase mucus production," says Whittel.
2. Acidic foods: "Although acidic foods help kill bacteria, they may actually worsen the discomfort with swallowing, as it will irritate the inflammation," says Ali.
3. Spicy seasonings: According to Whittel, it can cause further irritation.
We'll be keeping this list handy the next time we're sick.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic prescribing and use in doctor's offices: sore throat. Updated August 30, 2019.