What to eat when your throat hurts?

A sore throat is a painful, dry, or scratchy feeling in the throat. When your throat hurts, you feel very uncomfortable and at times worried about what you can eat or cannot eat. You may even end up not eating because your throat hurts.

Sore throats are very common and are caused by infections, by environmental factors like dry air. Although a sore throat can be uncomfortable, it’ll usually go away on its own. 

Eating when suffering from a sore throat is a very uncomfortable feeling to experience. Certain types of food when eaten can make you experience severe pains in your throat. So, you should be careful of what you eat when you have a sore throat. You can become a picky eater at that point.  

In this article, you will get to know what a sore throat is, what causes it, what food you can and cannot eat when your throat hurts, and possible treatments for your sore throat.

What is a sore throat?

It is a painful, dry, or scratchy feeling in the throat. Pain in the throat is one of the most common symptoms of a sore throat. Most sore throats are caused by infections, or by environmental factors like dry air. Even though a sore throat can be very uncomfortable, it usually goes away on its own. Sore throats are divided into types, based on the part of the throat they affect. These types include

  • Pharyngitis (affects the area right behind the mouth)
  • Tonsillitis (swelling and redness of the tonsils, the soft tissue in the back of the mouth)
  • Laryngitis (swelling and redness of the voice box, or larynx)

What are the symptoms of sore throat?

The symptoms of a sore throat can vary depending on what caused it. Symptoms of a sore throat include

Scratchiness, burning sensation, throat feeling raw, dry throat, inside of your throat becoming tender, irritation in the throat.

Talking can also make your sore throat hurt more or even when you swallow. Your throat or tonsils might also look red. Sometimes, white patches or areas of pus will form on the tonsils. These white patches are more common in strep throat than in a sore throat caused by a virus.

You can feel the following symptoms along with sore throat

Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, cough, fever, chills, swollen glands in the neck, hoarse voice, body aches, headache, trouble swallowing, and loss of appetite.

What are the causes of a sore throat?

There may be several reasons why your throat hurts. Let us, therefore, look at some of the possible causes resulting in your throat hurting. Here are some of the common causes of sore throat

Strep throat and other bacterial infections

Bacterial infections can also cause sore throats. The most common one is strep throat, an infection of the throat and tonsils caused by group A Streptococcus bacterium.

Strep throat causes nearly 40 percent of sore throat cases in children. 

Tonsillitis and sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause a sore throat.

Dry air

Dry air can suck moisture from the mouth and throat, and leave them feeling dry and scratchy. The air is most likely dry in the winter months when the heater is running.


Any injury, such as a hit or cut to the neck, can cause pain in the throat. Getting a piece of food stuck in your throat can also irritate it.

Repeated use strains the vocal cords and muscles in the throat. You can get a sore throat after yelling, talking loudly, or singing for a long period. Sore throats are a common complaint among fitness instructors and teachers, who often have to yell.


A tumor of the throat, voice box, or tongue is a less common cause of a sore throat. When a sore throat is a sign of cancer, it doesn’t go away after a few days.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus — the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

The acid burns the esophagus and throat, causing symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux — the regurgitation of acid into your throat.

Smoke, chemicals, and other irritants

A lot of chemicals and other substances in the environment irritate the throat, including:

  • Cigarette and other tobacco smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Cleaning products and other chemicals

What food and drinks can I eat when I have a sore throat?

Foods that are soft and very easy to swallow are usually safe to eat when you have a sore throat. The soft texture will help limit the amount of irritation to your throat. Warm foods and beverages can also help soothe your throat.

Examples of foods that can be eaten with a sore throat include 

  • warm, cooked pasta, including macaroni and cheese
  • warm oatmeal, cooked cereal, or grits
  • gelatin desserts
  • plain yoghurts and or yoghurts with pureed fruits
  • cooked vegetables
  • fruit or vegetable smoothies
  • mashed potatoes
  • broth and cream-based soups
  • milk
  • non – acidic juices, such as grape or apple juice
  • scrambled or hard-boiled eggs
  • popsicles

Eating and drinking these foods will allow you to stay nourished without irritating your already existing sore throat.

What foods and drinks should I avoid when I have a sore throat?

You should avoid foods that might irritate your throat more or that are difficult to swallow. These foods may include:

  • crackers
  • crusty bread
  • spicy seasonings and sauces
  • sodas
  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • dry snack foods, such as potato chips, pretzels, or popcorn
  • fresh, raw vegetables
  • acidic fruits, such as oranges, lemons, lime, tomatoes, and grapefruits

In some people, dairy may thicken or increase mucus production. This may prompt you to clear your throat more often, which may aggravate your sore throat.

How to treat a sore throat?

Gargle warm water and salt. Pour about a tablespoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water. Stir the salt around in the water. Then, take a few sips, tip your head back, and gargle. Make sure not to swallow. Instead, spit it out and repeat.

Taking lozenges such as streptol, strobin, decatylen, and others including vitamin C can help treat sore throat conditions. 

A pharmacist or doctor may recommend analgesics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief 

A doctor may prescribe antibiotics when recommendable and necessary in severe conditions of sore throat infections. 

The takeaway from this article

Foods that are soft and very easy to swallow are usually safe to eat when you have a sore throat. The soft texture will help limit the amount of irritation to your throat.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Can you use retinol while breastfeeding?

Why does it feel like something is in my eye?

What can be mistaken for herpes?