The 13 Best Foods To Eat When You Have A Sore Throat, According To Doctors


You know that dreadful feeling when you wake up and your throat is desperately dry. It hurts to swallow, your neck feels tender, and your voice is…voiceless. While putting anything down your throat sounds less than ideal at times like this, it’s really important to fuel up when you’re sick. This is a lot easier to do if you pick the right food for sore throat. (Yes, there is such a thing!)

Eating is a super underrated remedy for a sore throat. “Nutrient-dense foods are a low-risk, high-potential gain prescription,” says Cynthia Li, MD, an internal medicine physician and the author of Brave New Medicine. If you manage to get a few bites in here and there, you can load up on vitamins and minerals that’ll help you fight off the infection that’s causing your misery in the first place (think: vitamin C and zinc, for example).

“The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection,” says Nate Favini, MD, the chief medical officer at Forward. “The virus and your immune response to the virus cause the lining of your throat to become inflamed, which causes pain.”

You should also be mindful of COVID-19 as a potential contributing factor. “The common manifestations of COVID are tonsil enlargement, runny nose, and upper respiratory infection, and all can cause a sore throat,” says Michelle Pearlman, MD, an internist, gastroenterologist, and the co-founder and CEO of Prime Institute Miami. “A lot of viruses and bacteria can cause pharyngitis (a.k.a. a sore throat), sinus congestion, or a cough, and that irritates the throat and can cause swelling.”

A visit to the doc may be necessary depending on the severity and length of symptoms, but it’s crucial to rest up and stay hydrated. “Water can thin any sort of mucus secretions that might be occurring, and it can also help with the hydration of the throat and keep it moist,” explains family physician Jaclyn Tolentino, DO.

She also recommends drinking warm liquids like broths and teas—they’re easy to swallow and soothing. You should also opt for mostly soft foods when you have a sore throat so as to not aggravate the delicate throat lining, so think blander options like yogurt, oatmeal, and Jell-O.

Next time you’re laid up in bed with throat discomfort, try one of these foods to feel better and boost your immune system to speed up recovery. And yes, ice cream is on the list!

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup in white bowl on wooden tray.
Sore throats are the result of inflammation and dehydration, explains Dr. Li. “Fluids like the broth in chicken soup not only replenish lost water, but the salt helps your body retain the fluid inside the tissue,” she says. The same rings true for virtually any broth—vegetable will do if you’re vegan.


Herbal honey pouring into the wooden spoon.
Honey has been a mainstay in medicinal remedies since ancient times, and for good reason. “Modern science has shown Manuka honey to be effective against a variety of infections, both bacterial and viral, including those that cause the common cold, as well as some Strep species,” says Dr. Li.

Just don’t go overboard: “In larger doses, its sugar content can suppress the immune system from doing its job,” she says.


Homemade yogurt
Yogurt is a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, as well as probiotic bacteria, the beneficial germs that support immune function and keep harmful germs from taking hold in our bodies,” says Dr. Li.

She says there might be a link between yogurt consumption and reduced rates of respiratory infections and ear pain. “Beyond that, the cool and soft textures of yogurt make it an easy food to swallow when nothing else soothes,” says Dr. Li.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potato in bowl and fresh potatoes on wooden table
Leave the skin on the potatoes while mashing for a rich source of magnesium, vitamin C, and antioxidants, which all support a strong immune system. A word to the wise: Make sure your mashed potatoes aren’t too hot, since that could irritate your throat even further, Dr. Favini says.


Scrambled egg served in a pan.
Eggs have a pretty innocuous texture, but preparing them scrambled makes them especially palatable. What’s more, Dr. Li says eggs are rich in minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium, as well as vitamin D and B12, which can help fend off the nasty infection that’s causing your sore throat.


oatmeal porridge with ripe berries
Dr. Li says oatmeal is rich in magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants, which kickstart the body’s detoxification processes, then rid the body of waste and infection.


Fresh ginger whole and chopped on rustic wood surface
Ginger has been shown in lab experiments to have analgesic [pain-reducing], antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties,” says Dr. Li. “It also appears to inhibit the growth of certain harmful strains of bacteria.”

In a study published in Nutrition Journal, the combination of ginger and honey proved to be more effective than either alone. Since many sore throats are accompanied by postnasal drip, which can irritate the stomach and induce nausea, “ginger’s best-established property, [which is] fending off nausea, is another compelling reason to give it a try,” Dr. Li adds.

Important Notice: This article was originally published at by Nikhita Mahtani and Andi Breitowich where all credits are due.


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