Chief Medical Director at SANESolution | Website

Dr. Matthew Olesiak continues to make a significant impact in the medical field through his work at SANESolution and his dedication to evidence-based practices.

Food for Sore Throat: 10 Foods to Eat and 4 to Avoid

When you’re feeling sick, the thought of ingesting anything may not seem appealing, and that goes double if you have a dry, irritated throat. However, it’s crucial to nourish your body during this time. Choosing the appropriate food for sore throat pain can make this task more manageable. Surprisingly, specific foods can aid in soothing a sore throat.

In this throat cleaner and remedies blog post about throat health, we will take a quick look at the most frequent causes of sore throats, such as viral infections, and then discuss the foods that can ease or aggravate throat pain. If you love remedies for sore throats, make sure to check out our benefits of drinking ginger tea for reflux and citicoline & phlegm guides!

Short Summary

  • Sore throat is a common issue for most people. Some things that can irritate the throat are viral and bacterial infections, allergies, and acid reflux.
  • Certain foods and beverages can soothe throat irritation and pain. Examples include chicken soup, yogurt, scrambled eggs, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, ginger and honey tea, bananas, berries, coconut oil, and pomegranate juice, all excellent throat cleaners and pain relievers.
  • Maximize throat relief by gargling with warm salt water several times a day.

What is a sore throat?

Pain or irritation in your throat when you swallow is commonly known as a sore throat or pharyngitis. Other symptoms, like a cough or a runny nose, often accompany it.

Additionally, depending on the underlying cause, you may notice redness, sores, or other abnormalities in the back of your throat.

Sore Throat Symptoms

We all know what a sore throat feels like, but the symptoms can vary depending on the cause. Symptoms may include:

  • Throat pain (of course)
  • Raw, scratchy throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vocal hoarseness
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Red, swollen tonsils
  • Sores or pus on the tonsils

A graphical image of a virus or bacterium signifying infection on a black background.

Sore Throat Causes

Many factors can cause a sore throat, including:

  • Viral infections, such as the common cold, influenza (the flu), tonsillitis, or laryngitis, are the most common causes of a sore throat.
  • A bacterial infection, such as strep throat.
  • Fungal infections, such as thrush
  • Air pollution
  • Dry air
  • Allergies
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Air pollution, both inside and outside
  • Vocal strain from shouting or talking for extended periods
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Treating a Sore Throat

When you have a sore throat, you can try different remedies like throat sprays, salt gargles, herbal tea, humidifiers, and over-the-counter decongestants, expectorants, or decongestant nasal sprays to reduce mucus production or relieve nasal congestion and pressure.

However, if your sore throat persists for several days and comes with other symptoms like fever, nausea, or vomiting, it’s essential to see a healthcare provider immediately. If a viral infection is the cause of your sore throat, your doctor will advise specific over-the-counter or prescription medications to soothe it or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to lessen throat inflammation.

If a bacterial infection is the cause of your sore throat, your doctor may recommend an antibiotic in addition to over-the-counter (OTC) medications and home remedies to soothe throat irritation and relieve pain.

10 Best Beverages and Foods for Sore Throat

When you have a sore throat, it’s best to stick to soft foods that are easy to swallow. These foods have a gentle texture that minimizes irritation to your throat. Additionally, warm foods and beverages can be particularly soothing.

Eating nutrient-dense foods is also recommended for sore throats, as they help boost your immune system to heal and soothe a sore throat and, if necessary, fight infection.

Below are 10 of the best nutritious, soothing foods that are gentle on a swollen, sore throat. Some of the following foods even have medicinal benefits.

An image of a bowl of chicken noodle soup, a food for sore throat.

1. Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is a popular remedy for the body and the soul. It provides comfort and relief for a sore throat and helps strengthen the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells called neutrophils. The warm broth keeps you hydrated and promotes the drainage of nasal mucus, which can speed up your recovery time if you have an upper respiratory infection. The salt in the soup also helps with fluid retention in the tissues. Chicken soup is an excellent option for those looking for a natural way to combat illness.

2. Yogurt

When you have a sore throat, soft, creamy, and cool foods can provide soothing relief, and yogurt is a great option. It contains essential nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and probiotic bacteria that can strengthen your immune system and aid in the fight against illness.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is widely recognized as a superfood and for good reason. Packed with nutrients like fiber, magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants, consuming oatmeal can significantly boost your overall health. Moreover, its soft texture and disease-fighting properties make it an excellent option for sore throat patients. While it may not make germs flee from your body, oatmeal is a perfect choice for maintaining good health.

An image of a bowl of mashed potatoes.

4. Mashed Potatoes

During holidays, mashed potatoes are often the main attraction at the dinner table. But did you know that they are also an excellent choice when you have a sore throat? Mashed potatoes’ soft texture and nourishing nutrients can help boost your immune system and prevent illness. To get the most out of your mashed potatoes, leave the skin on while mashing them. The skin contains immune-boosting, essential nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and antioxidants to help you recover faster. Remember to let the mashed potatoes cool down before consuming them to avoid irritating your throat.

5. Ginger and Honey Tea

Did you know honey and ginger can help alleviate pain and inflammation associated with a sore throat? Honey is a natural antibacterial agent that can also promote faster healing of open sores in the throat. Meanwhile, ginger is an antioxidant that can fight off bacteria and other pathogens contributing to a sore throat. (This is particularly true of fresh ginger.) Try combining these two ingredients in a warm tea for a powerful remedy.

An image of ginger root on a saucer with a tea cup.

6. Bananas

When your throat is inflamed, bananas can be an ideal snack because they are easy to chew and swallow. In addition to being easy on the throat, bananas are a great source of nutrients such as potassium, vitamin B, and vitamin C, which can help strengthen and boost your body’s health when you’re sick. However, it’s important to note that bananas are higher in sugar than other fruits, so limiting your intake to one per day is recommended.

7. Berries

Harvard Health suggests consuming berries is an excellent alternative to alleviate inflammation and pain in the throat. Moreover, they are a smart snack choice during sickness as they contain low sugar content and a high concentration of vitamin C. This can enhance your immune system and combat illnesses effectively.

8. Coconut Oil

According to animal studies (1), virgin coconut oil can help decrease inflammation and combat infections. Additionally, it can soothe a sore throat due to its lubricating properties, which help keep the throat moist. Coconut oil also contains beneficial fats that are necessary for a healthy body. If coconut oil is available, mix it into your herbal tea or take a spoonful orally to coat your throat and temporarily alleviate discomfort.

An image of pomegranate fruit.

9. Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate is a fruit known to contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. These properties can help alleviate a sore throat quickly. Additionally, it has been discovered that the seeds of pomegranates can reduce swelling. When purchasing pomegranate juice, check the ingredient label for purity and ensure it doesn’t contain too much sugar.

10. Scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs can be a great option if you’re dealing with a sore throat since their texture makes them easy to swallow. Plus, eggs are packed with essential minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium, as well as vitamin D and B12, which can aid in fighting off infections that may be the root of your sore throat.

4. Worst Beverages and Foods For Sore Throat

When dealing with a sore throat, it’s important to note that certain foods can worsen your symptoms. Foods that can irritate your throat are typically scratchy or spicy, as are those with excessive amounts of dairy.

Crunchy Foods

If you’re experiencing a sore throat, avoiding crunchy and hard foods is best. These foods can cause pain when you swallow them, so it’s best to avoid them until you feel better. This includes potato chips, pretzels, cold cereals, raw vegetables, and crackers.

An image of peeled mandarin oranges in a bowl on a table.

Acidic Foods and Juices

Avoiding acidic fruits and juices when dealing with a sore throat is crucial, as they can intensify the irritation. Highly acidic foods and juices like tomatoes, pineapples, grapes, and oranges should be strictly avoided.

Spicy Foods

If you’re experiencing a sore throat, it’s advisable to steer clear of spicy foods such as hot sauce or hot peppers, even if you typically enjoy them. These foods can aggravate your discomfort and exacerbate the pain in the affected area. It’s better to stick to mild foods to allow your throat ample time to recover.

Dairy Foods

While dairy products are generally considered healthy, excessive consumption can exacerbate throat pain. This is because consuming too much dairy can thicken mucus, worsening postnasal drip and further irritating an already sore throat.

An image of a jar, pitcher, and glass of milk behind a bowl of cereal.


If you’re experiencing a sore throat, consuming soft, cool, or warm foods can provide relief while swallowing. However, avoiding acidic, spicy, or other irritating foods and beverages is essential, as they can increase pain and prolong healing. Opting for easy-to-swallow foods like chicken noodle soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs can help soothe and ease sore throat discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

What foods get rid of sore throats?

When experiencing a sore throat, it’s best to consume foods that are easy to swallow. This will limit any additional irritation to your throat. Foods with a soft texture are particularly helpful. Additionally, warm foods and beverages can provide relief and soothe your throat. Examples include:

  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Ginger and honey tea
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Coconut oil
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Scrambled eggs

What foods should you avoid if you have a sore throat?

To reduce irritation, it’s best to avoid spicy or acidic foods and crunchy or hard-textured foods like cold cereals or potato chips that can scratch your delicate throat. Limiting dairy foods and drinks is also recommended, as they can thicken mucus, leading to postnasal drip that can worsen a sore throat.

How does warm water help a sore throat?

If you are suffering from throat pain and irritation, drinking warm water can help alleviate symptoms. This is because warm water improves blood flow to the throat muscles, causing them to relax. Additionally, it helps keep the throat moist and aids in flushing out toxins. It’s even more effective if gargle with warm salt water.

This simple remedy can help reduce swelling in the throat, loosen mucus, and flush out irritants. Try gargling with warm salt water several times daily to get the most benefit. Just remember to spit out the water after you gargle.

Can I eat ice cream with a sore throat?

Yes. If you experience discomfort while eating other foods due to swallowing issues, consuming a small amount of a calming frozen dessert like ice cream can offer relief and sustenance. However, it’s essential to avoid consuming excessive amounts, as dairy may cause throat mucus to thicken and irritate the throat.



Chief Medical Director at SANESolution | Website

Dr. Matthew Olesiak continues to make a significant impact in the medical field through his work at SANESolution and his dedication to evidence-based practices.