With the holidays winding down, cold and flu season is ramping up. One of the first signs of illness in Augusta is typically a sore throat. This often precedes a cold or flu and can interfere with your appetite. It’s important to stay nourished when sick; eating the right foods can help supply your immune system with the fuel it needs to fight infection, and can lead to a faster recovery.
The Best Foods for a Sore Throat
Chances are, you’ve heard that old phrase, “feed a cold, starve a fever.” It turns out there is some truth to this; while no food will magically cure a sore throat, there are some that will help soothe irritation and swelling while promoting healing.
Your Augusta ENT doctor recommends the following foods when you are dealing with a sore throat:
- Chicken soup. Science backs up the old wive’s tale (no offense to wives of any age!) — chicken soup really does help fight colds and infection. The ingredients in chicken soup help inhibit movement of neutrophils, white blood cells that defend against infection, and the hot fluids increase the movement of nasal mucus. Plus, the broth keeps you hydrated and the salt helps your tissues to retain fluid. If only all “medicine” were this delicious!
- Honey. Honey is getting a lot of buzz from the medical community for its health benefits. Research shows it’s effective in warding off bacterial and viral infections. It’s important to limit your intake, though; the high sugar content can prevent the immune system from doing its job effectively. Children under the age of one shouldn’t be given honey due to the possibility of botulism.
- Yogurt. Smooth, creamy foods go down easily, and yogurt is an excellent choice due to its protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It’s loaded with probiotic bacteria that help protect the immune system.
- Mashed potatoes. Soft foods are another easily-palatable food when you’re sick. It’s likely you’ve already enjoyed mashed potatoes over the holidays; if you’re like us, you can never get enough! Keep the skin on when mashing them; it contains magnesium, vitamin C and antioxidants, ingredients that promote a strong immune system. Just be sure to let them cool off before eating to avoid irritating your throat.
- Eggs. Eggs have long been considered a wonder food, and they’re a wonderful food for when you’re battling a cold or flu. They are rich in vitamins D and B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and selenium, all of which help fight infection. Serving them scrambled when you’re sick makes them easier to eat.
- Oatmeal. Oatmeal is notoriously high in fiber and has ingredients like magnesium, zinc and antioxidants, minerals that help rid your body of toxins. Its soft texture makes it easy to swallow when you’ve got a sore throat. Bonus: add a little honey for an even greater benefit.
- Ginger. This “ancient Chines secret” is actually pretty well-known for its pain- and inflammation-reducing properties. It’s also high in antioxidants that will help limit bacterial growth. Research shows combining ginger with honey will increase the effectiveness of either ingredient alone.
- Jell-O. This kid-favorite treat doesn’t have any actual medicinal properties, but its soft texture and sweet flavor might make it the only food you can tolerate when you’re sick. Nothing is easier to swallow when your throat is irritated.
- Ice cream. Cold foods like ice cream provide soothing throat relief and help reduce inflammation. Stick to a single scoop in order to prevent the sugar from interfering with your immune system’s effectiveness.
- Smoothies. Smoothies are another cold, easy-to-swallow (and tasty!) food when you’re sick. Make them healthier by using low-sugar and high-antioxidant ingredients like berries, kale and celery. Adding citrus fruits such as orange or tangerine will provide a good dose of vitamin C that can help speed up your recovery.
These foods should help you recover from your cold more quickly. If sore throat symptoms persist longer than a couple of days, contact an ENT doctor in Augusta to rule out anything more serious, such as strep throat.