It started when I wanted to go to bed last night at 9:30pm–the wrong side of a single digit bedtime. It got worse when I couldn’t go to bed until past midnight since my baby was being a jerk.
It started as a frog in my throat this morning, turned into a dry, hacking cough by this afternoon, and then slight chest pain accompanying a lost voice this evening. “Eff,” I thought, when I looked into my kitchen cabinet and found that I am out of my favorite herbal tea.
Yeah. That’s the one. *cough*HACK*cough*
Hot Drinks For Colds and Sore Throats
I make this herbal tea with honey and lemon. It feels wonderful and heals your very soul. I think. The FDA is unclear on that one.
But I am out! The nearest place to get the tea is 50 miles away, and I’m just not going to make that trip any time soon. Here are a few drinks for colds that I can use instead of my regular standby to help me feel better and fight off this illness.
Yes, I can sub any other herbal tea in for my hibiscus. Peppermint tea helps clear nasal passages. Citrus-based teas (like lemon peel) get you one step closer. Don’t forget the squeeze of citrus: although lemon is traditional, you can use limes, oranges, or grapefruit. The important part is the Vitamin C and honey.
It’s a traditional English remedy. Simply heat a draught of fruit cordial. Although I keep Chambord in the house for cooking, I don’t know if I can bear drinking it straight. Black currant, anyone?
It doesn’t get more traditional than several spoonfuls of whiskey to help that cold say “Uncle.” My parents never tried it on me, but I have friends who swear by whiskey.
I’m not talking about the wimpy apple cider in the juice section of your grocery store. Wander over to the refrigerated juices department and check for a bottle of cider that looks cloudy. That’s the stuff. Even better, find a local farm or orchard that sells its cider. Heating that stuff is like circling your cold with a tire iron. Do it.
There’s a reason that people drink wassail in the winter, and it’s not always for the good cheer. Heat orange juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg in a pot and let it steep. Add honey to taste when you serve. It makes your house smell amazing, which will make you happy, and makes your cold sore throat feel so much better.
You heard me. Hot chocolate. This does not mean Swiss Miss. Seriously. How old are you? Put down the packets and pull out the cocoa powder from your pantry. Mix 1/3 cup of cocoa powder with 2/3 cup powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, and about two cups of milk (you want it to be the color of dark chocolate milk.) Check for sweetness, you might want more. Too sweet/bland? Add more cocoa. Cocoa and chocolates are packed with antioxidants and relieve coughing.
To really kick up your hot chocolate? Bring four cups of milk up to a boil, remove from heat, throw in a dark chocolate bar, add a bit of dried chile, cinnamon sticks, and a couple cloves. Steep for 15 minutes, and then adjust flavor with sugar, cocoa, or more milk. I used probably half the chile shown and the drink was plenty spicy.
Milk and Honey or Almond Milk and Honey
Another drink with hot milk? YES. Phlegm is not my concern (and there have been some studies that show that milk doesn’t cause phlegm.) You can absolutely use almond, soy, or other dairy alternatives. Heat until comfortably warm and add honey. Honey has natural antibiotics and other awesome stuff that really does help beat your sick into submission.
Add slices of fresh ginger to any of the above drinks when you’re heating them. Ginger helps relieve inflamed membranes, sore throats, and all manner of nasty cold symptoms.
Like wassail and herbal teas, you’re looking for a punch of vitamin C. If you’ve never tried hot lemonade, you’re missing out. This is another case where using a powdered substitute isn’t terrible effective. Squeeze lemons into a cup, add hot water and honey. The ginger I mentioned above would be especially delicious in hot lemonade.
What Do I Eat With a Sore Throat?
So we got you covered when it comes to the best hot drinks for colds and sore throats. But what about things you can eat? It’s going to be hard to drink your way to getting over being sick. When it comes to the best foods to eat with a sore throat, follow this simple mantra: only eat foods that are soft and very easy to swallow. The consistencies and textures in soft foods will cut down on any additional irritation and strain on your throat. Warm foods also add that extra layer of comfort when eating with a sore throat.
With that said, here is a list of some of the best foods to eat with a sore throat in order of the best:
The best broths for a sore throat are chicken, bone, and vegetable. If you don’t have a frozen broth stored in your freezer, you can easily make one of the store brand. Lipton noodle is a go-to product. Just don’t make the temperature too hot where you could irritate the symptoms of your sore throat.
Go easy on adding any fats to your warm oatmeal. Instead of using sugar or brown sugar to sweeten it up, opt in for honey or agave syrup. Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon is also another fantastic way to get in another sore throat fighting agent.
Creamy, smooth, and soft. Warm, mashed potatoes feel amazing on a sore throat. Adding a little bit of gravy also helps a lot, but be careful of not adding a gravy with high amount of fat.
Add a bunch of chopped up spinach to your scrambled eggs. The extra protein, potassium, and vitamin A helps give your body an added immune boost.
They are one of the most efficient and painless methods to deliver necessary flu-fighting nutrients to your body when you have a cold or sore throat. We have a whole section on the best smoothies for sore throats below.
A little word of caution on this one: just avoid nuts or anything that might be rough or coarse on your throat. Additionally, choose a low fat ice cream. Fatty foods are more difficult for you body to digest and a lot of times can suppress your immune system, which can actually make the symptoms of a sore throat or cold worse.
Low fat and plain yogurts are the best. If adding fruit, only add soft fruits. And stay away from nuts or granola as they cause irritation on a sore throat when swallowing.
When you have a sore throat, popsicles are just heavenly. For the kids, this is by far the most popular option. Calms their sore throats and calms their irritable moods those sore throats can cause.
Doesn’t matter if you eat it chilled or warmed. Opt-in for a lower sugar option.
Soft, cool, and flavorful. Jello is not only a nice snack, but it’s so soothing on a sore throat. Careful to avoid acidic flavors though.
Are Smoothies Good For Sore Throats?
Short answer: Absolutely! Smoothies are not only uber soothing on a sore throat, they are a great way to feed your body vital nutrients it needs to help recover. Too many times when we get sick, it’s easy to stop eating because, understandably, it HURTS! A smoothie loaded with cold and flu-fighting ingredients feels good on the body and is good for the body. Below are the four foundations to building the perfect sore throat smoothie. It’s vital that you add at least one immune-boosting ingredient from each category. The list below will give you added levels of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, and rich antioxidants which will help you fight off any infections as well as add support to your immune system during your body’s vulnerable state. Those four smoothie foundations are:
Milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, water, orange juice (careful because orange juice can irritate a sore throat for some people), yogurt, and pineapple juice.
Pomegranates, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, lemon (or lemon juice), bananas, kiwis, pineapple, raspberries,
Spinach and Kale
Herbs, Spices and Natural Sugars
Honey, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and vanilla. Don’t overdo any of these because they can easily overpower the flavor of your smoothies.
There are a lot of ingredients listed above in the four categories which means you could create a million different smoothie blends. But we’ve narrowed it down to some of the best combinations below...
Favorite Sore Throat Busting Smoothie Blend #1:
Unsweetened Almond milk (½ to ¾ cup), 1 cup of spinach, 1 banana, 1 orange, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a teaspoon of honey, ½ teaspoon of turmeric, and a pinch of cinnamon. Optional additions to amp up this smoothie: 1 teaspoon of freshly minced ginger + ½ cup of frozen blueberries.
Favorite Sore Throat Busting Smoothie Blend #2:
Coconut milk (¾ to 1 cup), 1 cup of baby kale (not as strong as regular kale), ½ cup frozen blueberries, ¼ cup of frozen raspberries, ¼ cup of pomegranates, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a tablespoon of honey. Optional additions to amp up this smoothie: 1 teaspoon of freshly minced ginger + ¼ cup of kiwi.
Foods To Avoid With A Sore Throat
A sore throat can be caused by a bunch of issues: allergies, viruses, bacteria, or pollution are a handful of common reasons. Sore throats are no joke and can really damper the mood and affect your quality of life. For the most part, you want to stay away from foods that are going to exacerbate your symptoms.
Avoid spicy foods because they will increase the inflammation and swelling of your throat. Hot sauce and all kinds of peppers are the main culprits here. Good substitutions of spices like these are ginger, turmeric, and garlic.
Rough and Coarse Food
Anything rough or coarse you are going to want to avoid. Chips, popcorn, toast, raw veggies, some raw fruits, nuts, granola, and cereal are most common in this area. Here’s a little trick I use to determine if a food is too rough for my throat: Pinch it. In your heightened state of throat pain, you’d be surprised how keenly aware your thumb and fingers can be in determining what will cause pain in your throat.
This is an interesting one. Initially the first thought of fatty food texture is soft and soothing. You’re right. Then shouldn’t that be good for my sore throat? Not so fast. There’s more to it than just texture. That’s not why you want to avoid fatty foods when you have a sore throat. As mentioned above, fatty foods are harder for you body to digest, which then suppresses your immune system, which can actually worsen the symptoms of a sore throat or cold.
You gotta be careful when using acidic foods when you have a sore throat. There’s nothing like the much needed vitamin C boost that comes from an orange or a lemon. But you can overdo it. I like a little bit of orange and lemon in smoothies and warm drinks. The flavors complement so many soothing sore throat remedies. Just use a little caution. Avoid tomatoes and grapefruits. If you’re worried about your vitamin C levels here are some great sources of vitamin C when you have a sore throat: bananas, kiwis, peaches, kale, cooked cauliflower, strawberries, and mashed sweet potatoes.
Now, wish me luck at fending this cold off!
What are your go-to drinks to keep you from getting sick or staying hydrated when you are sick?