Sore throats cause discomfort for people of all ages in Portland. Often the first sign of a cold or upper respiratory infection, they can leave you feeling miserable and not wanting to eat—but it’s important to fuel your body when you’re sick in order to speed up the healing process.
Nutrient-Dense Foods for Colds and Infection
Though your appetite probably won’t be great when you’re sick, try to eat as many nutrients as you can. We’ve all heard the phrase “feed a cold, starve a fever;” while no food will cure a sore throat, there are certain choices you can make that will help soothe irritation and swelling while promoting healing.
- Chicken soup. Your grandma was right—chicken soup really does help fight colds and infection. Scientists have discovered that chicken soup helps 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 enables your tissues to retain fluid. Bonus: it’s delicious!
- Honey. Honey is another ingredient that gets a lot of buzz (pun intended) for its medicinal benefits. Studies have shown it to be effective in warding off bacterial and viral infections. But limit your intake; the high sugar content can prevent the immune system from doing an effective job. Children under the age of one shouldn’t be given honey due to the possibility of botulism.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It’s chock full of probiotic bacteria that help protect the immune system. Plus, its cool, soft texture makes it an ideal source of nourishment when you’re sick.
- Mashed potatoes. Soft foods are always a good idea when you’re sick, and mashed potatoes fit the bill perfectly. The skin contains beneficial magnesium, vitamin C and antioxidants, ingredients that promote a strong immune system, so leave that on when mashing. Just be sure to let them cool off before eating in order to avoid further throat irritation.
- Eggs. Eggs have healthy doses of vitamins D and B12, as well as 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. High in fiber and ingredients like magnesium, zinc and antioxidants, oatmeal is an excellent food to help rid your body of toxins. Its soft texture makes it easy to swallow when you’ve got a sore throat.
- Ginger. This root that originated in China is great at reducing pain and inflammation and works as an antioxidant, helping to prevent bacterial growth. Its anti-nausea properties have been well-documented. Studies show that combining ginger with honey boosts the effectiveness of either ingredient alone.
- Jell-O. Watch it wiggle and see it jiggle when you’re sick and you could be feeling better in no time. Jell-O doesn’t contain any unique medicinal properties and the sugar content could suppress the immune system, but its smooth texture makes it an easy-to-swallow food when your throat is irritated.
- Ice cream. Cold foods such as ice cream help soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation. Again, stick to a single scoop, as too much sugar may inhibit the immune system’s effectiveness.
- Smoothies. Smoothies made with low-sugar and high-antioxidant ingredients such as berries, kale or celery help soothe the throat and boost the immune system. Add fruits such as orange or tangerine to amp up the Vitamin C and speed up your recovery.