The 6 best drinks to soothe a sore throat and boost your immune system
- The best drinks for a sore throat are soothing beverages like warm water with lemon and honey.
- You should also try ginger tea, chamomile tea, or peppermint tea as herbal remedies to soothe your sore throat.
- To relieve your sore throat and get key nutrients to boost your immune system, you may also want to try warm soup with chicken and vegetables, or a smoothie with antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
- This article was medically reviewed by Jason R. McKnight, MD, MS, a family medicine physician and clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine.
It can be difficult to get rid of a sore throat. However, drinking the right fluids may be all you need to relieve the scratchy, painful feeling. Here are some of the best drinks to soothe your sore throat:
1. Sip warm water with lemon and honey
Any warm beverage can help soothe a sore throat. "Hot water on its own is soothing and can help provide relief for sore throat, cough, and runny nose," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian in the New York City area.
Drinking warm lemon water may be especially useful when you have a sore throat due to an illness, as it can add a small extra dose of vitamin C to your diet. Vitamin C can boost your immune system and may even help you overcome colds.
Adding honey to your lemon water may also treat a sore throat and cough. For example, a small 2017 study found that honey can help speed up the recovery of a sore throat due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
2. Try ginger tea
Ginger tea may also help soothe a sore throat. In fact, a 2013 study indicated that a hot water extract of fresh ginger might help protect you from the respiratory syncytial virus — a highly infectious virus that commonly affects young children — though more robust human studies are still needed.
"Drinking ginger tea can be beneficial if you're not feeling well," says Gorin. "There's some evidence to show that it can help soothe a sore throat and reduce congestion, but more research needs to be conducted."
3. Drink chamomile tea
If you're not a fan of ginger tea, you may want to opt for chamomile tea, which is made from dried Matricaria flowers. According to Amber Robins, MD, a board-certified family medicine doctor and lifestyle medicine strategist at Camillia Wellness in Maryland, chamomile tea can reduce inflammation in the throat.
Plus, chamomile tea can promote relaxation and help you sleep, which can boost your immune system and help you better recover from illness. People who don't get an adequate amount of sleep may be more likely to get a common cold or other infections.
"As with any warm beverage, your discomfort can be soothed as the steam helps with decongestion," says Taylor Schoemaker, RDN, a registered dietitian and owner of Enlightened Nutrition LLC, a nutrition coaching practice based in Michigan. "Chamomile tea is naturally caffeine-free, and some research suggests that chamomile, itself, may help promote sleep and relaxation in the brain."
4. Have peppermint tea
Peppermint tea is another warm beverage that people often turn to when trying to ease sore throat symptoms. This is because it contains spearmint, which has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce swelling and soothe a sore throat.
Plus, as with any hot beverage, Robins notes that inhaling the steam from peppermint tea can treat other symptoms like congestion.
"Similar to steam from a vaporizer or shower, the steam from peppermint tea can help decrease nasal congestion," Robins says. "This gives you the feeling that you can breathe better."
5. Eat warm soup
Chicken noodle soup is a classic home remedy for common illnesses, and it offers many of the same benefits as hot teas or warm lemon water.
In fact, any kind of warm soup — especially one with healthy protein or vegetables — can be a great way to soothe your sore throat and get some key nutrients when you're feeling sick.
"Broth-based soups are a great way to get a little nutrition into you when you don't feel like eating when you're sick," Gorin says. "I'd go with a soup that has additional ingredients, such as chicken breast, tofu, beans, or veggies."
6. Make a smoothie
When you're sick, you might experience a decreased appetite, says Schoemaker. This can make it more difficult to get all the nutrients your body needs to fight off an illness.
That's why a nutrient-packed smoothie makes a great option, as long as you use fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants — molecules that may boost our immune system.
Some antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to add to your smoothies include:
The bottom line
Sore throats are common, especially during cold and flu season. Therefore, finding ways to soothe your throat at home while providing your body with the nutrients it needs to fight an infection is important. Some great drink options for sore throats include hot tea or broth, warm water with lemon and honey, or antioxidant-rich smoothies.
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