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Diet For Sore Throat

Sore throat is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection with the most common type being caused by the Group A Streptococcus bacteria. It results in an inflamed pharynx which makes swallowing painful. A sore throat can happen at any age but most commonly affects young children below the age of 15 years. Sometimes it can be accompanied by fever, nausea and a loss of appetite. It is important to consult your physician if you have a sore throat as it may require treatment with antibiotics.
While the antibiotics prescribed by your physician will treat the infection, your diet can help provide some symptomatic relief from the discomfort of a sore throat.

Chronic cases of sore throat can also result from oral candidiasis, a type of fungal infection. The growth of yeast that causes this infection can be controlled by good bacteria that are found in some foods like yogurt. This is known as a candida diet and sore throat caused by oral candidiasis will respond well to this diet. People on certain weight loss diets like Atkins diet, Dukan diet and a low carb diet may find their symptoms getting aggravated by certain foods in the diet. It is better to avoid certain foods like dry foods that may be difficult to swallow and can aggravated the throat. Good foods for sore throat will help to ease the pain and reduce the inflammation. Have a lot of warm soups and broth as these are easy to swallow and will not aggravate the throat. Cooked cereals, mashed potatoes and yogurt are also easy to swallow and will not irritate the throat. Drink a lot of water and keep your body well hydrated. It will help replace the body fluids lost due to fever.

If you find your throat hurting too much, try gargling with warm salt water. This will soothe the throat and reduce inflammation. Gargle several times a day especially before each meal. Other warm beverages like tea and green tea with a little honey will also help soothe a sore throat. Garlic helps fight symptoms of sore throat as it contains both antibacterial and antioxidant properties. However, excessive intake of garlic may lead to heartburn, nausea and diarrhea. Foods to avoid in cases of sore throat are dry foods that can irritate your throat. Stay away from foods like popcorn, dry cereals raw fruits and vegetables. These foods can be consumed by combining them with other foods like milk. Have fruit juices instead of fruit, pancakes instead of toast and applesauce instead of apples. Avoid eating acidic foods like citrus fruits, pickled foods and foods cooked using vinegar. Avoid eating spicy or highly seasoned foods as the spice may further irritate the throat. Alcohol and caffeine too are best avoided. Fried foods are dry and difficult to swallow and should be avoided. Try eating a meat or vegetable broth instead of frying your food.

Nutrition for Sore Throat

Certain foods contain nutrients that help support the body’s immune system. Two nutrients that are good for the immune system are vitamin C and zinc. Zinc may also help reduce the inflammation that causes a sore throat. Legumes, beef, pork are good sources of zinc and should be a part of the diet. Herbs containing zinc include alfalfa, chamomile, sage parsley and chickweed. Zinc supplements can also be used but it is advisable to consult your physician before taking them. Vitamin C supplements can also be taken as it is a powerful immune booster.


Signs of a sore throat include difficulty and pain while swallowing. It may be accompanied by fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes. Children may experience nausea and abdominal pain. In cases of Scarlet fever, the sore throat may be accompanied by rashes all over the upper body. Staph infections may exhibit white or yellowish dots on the tonsils. In cases of Infectious Mononucleosis, symptoms may be absent and may just appear as a feeling of uneasiness, fatigue and loss of appetite.


Sore throat causes can be many with the majority being caused by viral and bacterial infections. Treating all sore throats with antibiotics is inadvisable as they have no effect on viruses and just create resistance to the drug. Recurring infections in children is common and there is no evidence to suggest that removing the tonsils would help. Major syndromes that are associated with sore throat are scarlet fever and streptococcal pharyngitis or ‘strep throat. Strep throat is caused by the streptococcus bacteria and its symptoms include a red, sore throat, white or yellowish spots on the tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, headache and fever. In the case of children it may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Scarlet fever produces the characteristic red, rough textured rashes that may spread to cover the entire body. Both these illnesses respond well to antibiotics. Infectious mononucleosis or ‘the kissing disease’ caused by the Epstien Barr virus also causes sore throat.


Your physician will advise you on the appropriate treatment for your sore throat. Treatment for sore throat involves the use of antibiotics only in cases of bacterial infections. Since there may be other underlying causes of sore throat, your physician may advise you to undergo further medical tests to aid the diagnosis. Home remedies for sore throat help in reducing the inflammation. Gargling regularly with warm salt water is the most popular of these remedies. Another popular one is drinking a mixture of warm milk and honey to which a spoon of turmeric powder has been added. Avoid cigarette smoke and paint or chemical fumes as they are irritants and if possible, use a humidifier in your room.


Prevention of sore throat is not guaranteed by salt water gargling but it will lessen the risk. Have a tablespoon of warm honey immediately after waking up. Additionally, avoid polluted places and do not smoke.


This is best left to a doctor as the underlying cause may vary. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, consult your physician immediately.

Submitted on January 24, 2012