Fall is well underway now, which means the leaves are changing colors, ghosts and goblins will soon be parading through the Midlands neighborhoods and you’ve had your fill of pumpkin spice-flavored everything. It also means cold and flu season is upon us, and with that, your likelihood of experiencing a sore throat is higher. You might not feel like eating much when you’re sick, but there are certain foods that you can tolerate easily with a sore throat—and many of them can help accelerate healing.
Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever
Your mom might have uttered the phrase, “feed a cold, starve a fever” whenever you were sick. Guess what? Mom was right! Certain foods can help you recover from illness more quickly. The pain and discomfort associated with a sore throat might have you avoiding food altogether, but there are certain foods that will go down smoothly and make you feel better. Your Lexington ENT doctor recommends the following.
- Chicken soup. Yes, it’s good for the soul—and the body, too! Plus, it’s delicious. The broth in chicken soup soothes a sore throat and helps inhibit the movement of white blood cells called neutrophils, which help the immune system fight infection, the hot fluid promotes movement of nasal mucus and keeps you hydrated, and the salt helps your tissues retain fluids.
- Honey’s high viscosity acts as a barrier against viral and bacterial infections and can help you recover from an illness more quickly. Limit yourself to no more than an occasional spoonful, however; the high sugar content could limit your immune system’s effectiveness. Due to botulism concerns, avoid giving honey to children younger than the age of one.
- Yogurt. Yogurt’s creamy, cool texture is soothing for a sore throat. In addition, it’s packed full of immune system-friendly ingredients like protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats and probiotic bacteria, all of which help fight disease and offer nourishment to speed up the healing process.
- Mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving dinner. Their soft texture and ingredients that help your immune system fight off disease make them a great choice when you have a sore throat. Be sure to leave the skin on when mashing them, as this provides ingredients such as magnesium, vitamin C and antioxidants, which help your body recover more quickly. Just make sure you let the potatoes cool off before eating in order to prevent irritation.
- Eggs. Eggs really are all they’re cracked up to be! These nutritional powerhouses contain vitamins D and B12 and infection-fighting minerals such as zinc, iron and selenium. Plus, there are multiple ways to prepare them; they’re best enjoyed scrambled, soft boiled or over easy when you have a sore throat.
- Oatmeal. Oatmeal has a well-deserved reputation as a superfood. It’s loaded with fiber and ingredients that aid in the removal of toxins from your body, including magnesium, zinc and antioxidants. Its soft texture makes it easy to swallow and helps prevent throat irritation. If you top your oatmeal with a drizzle of honey, you’ll receive an added health benefit.
- Ginger. This Chinese root has long been known to contain medicinal properties that help reduce pain and inflammation. As an added bonus, its active ingredients help prevent nausea. Add ginger and honey to a cup of hot tea and you’ll double up the health benefits—plus, tea goes down smoothly when you have a sore throat.
- Jell-O. Jell-O may not be as healthy as some of the other choices and it does contain sugar, but its smooth texture goes down easy when you have a sore throat. Plus, it’s fun to watch it jiggle on your plate! Just enjoy it in moderation.
- Ice cream. Cold foods help soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation. Nothing screams cool refreshment like ice cream! Like Jell-O, it’s got a lot of sugar, so you’re best sticking to a single scoop in order to ensure your immune system stays active. Smoothies. Smoothies are delicious, highly customizable, cool and refreshing. Try blends made with fruits like berries and citrus or leafy greens such as kale or celery; these offer beneficial properties that will help your immune system fight off infection and get you on the path to recovery a little more quickly.
If you have tried these foods and your sore throat still hasn’t cleared up after a few days, make an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist at CENTA Meto ensure you don’t have something more serious, like strep throat.