Ease Sore Throat
What Is a Sore Throat?
Throat pain can have many causes, such as dry air and tobacco smoke, but most is due to respiratory infections caused by viruses or bacteria that inflame and irritate throat tissue. Post-nasal drip also causes painful irritation in the throat.
There is simply no way to ignore a sore throat. With every swallow, you receive a painful and scratchy reminder that a viral or bacterial infection has taken hold and caused inflammation. Even though it may hurt to swallow, some foods can bring comfort and healing. The arsenal for soothing a sore throat includes frozen juice pops to ease discomfort and vitamin-packed produce to boost your body's infection-fighting powers.
THE THROAT-PROTECTION DIET
A raw, stinging throat most often signals the arrival of a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. The right foods can help prevent illness by ensuring that your body is in shape to battle infections. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: They are rich in immune-boosting antioxidants like vitamin C. Choose berries, mangoes, papayas, melon, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. Brightly colored produce, including peppers and strawberries, also contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A - another antioxidant that helps build immunity.
- Broth: chicken, vegetable, and beef
- Crushed ice
- Herbal teas:goldenseal, chamomile
- Juice and juice pops
- Warms lemonade
Once the pain has actually set in, soothe your sore throat with zinc in lozenge form. This mineral also asists in immunity, while deficiencies may make you vulnerable to sore throats and other minor infections. Zinc lozenges are notoriously bad-tasting, however, so foods may be the most palatable sources. You'll find plentiful supplies of zinc in lean beef, eggs, yogurt, pumkin seeds, and mushrooms. Note: A sore throat should ease as the underlying illness clears, but call your doctor if pain persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, breathing difficulties, headache, or upset stomach. These may indicate a more serious condition that requires medical treatment, such as strep throat, tonsilitis, or a peptic ulcer.
When your throat is so sore that swallowing food is difficult, make sure you still get plenty of fluids. They go down easier, with less irritation, and many provide some of the nutrients you miss out on when you're ill and not eating. Drink at least eight glasses of a water a day or suck on soothing ice chips to thin mucus and moisten dry membranes in your throat. Other fluid soothers:
JUICES Choose clear juices, such as apple or cranberry, and check the label to be sure they are fortified with vitamin C to bolster your immunity. Frozen juice pops also help numb the pain and provide fluid to keep you hydrated, which is especially important if you are also feverish. Citrus juices such as orange and grapefruits are naturally rich in vitamin C, but they're acidic and may sting your throat.
HERBAL TEAS Herbalists recommend several herbs to fight the infection of a sore throat in soothing teas. At the first hint of illness, it's a good idea to start drinking echinacea tea; the herb's antimicrobial qualities may reduce sumptoms or decrease the duration of illness. Other possible healers include goldenseal to fight infection; licorice, which may bolster the immune system; or slippery elm, a traditional Native American treatment.
WARM DRINKS Some pain is eased by heat, so bathe your sore throat with warm liquids. Squeeze the juice of a lemon (for vitamin C) into a cup of warm water. Sweeten with honey, which helps to coat and soothe the throat and has antibacterial qualities. Regular tea with honey can also help soothe pain, as can chicken, vegetable, or beef broth.
GARGLES Garling with warm water and salt (1/2 tsp. of salt in an 8-oz. glass of warm water) provides immediate relief and washes away mucus and irritants. Relief is temporary, so you may need to gargle often. Alternative garling mixtures can be made with 8 oz. of water containing chamomile (1 tsp.), apple cider vinegar (2 tsp.), the juice of one lemon, or sage (steep 1 or 2 tsp. in boiling water for 10 minuts, then let cool to lukewarm). It's safe to gargle as often as you like.