When you have a sore throat, all you want is to get better so that itchy, scratchy feeling can go away. You may drink hot herbal tea, which is a great relief method, or you may reach for some ice cream in hopes of soothing the throat. Although ice cream provides a soothing cold relief, it may not be completely harmless. In fact, ice cream may make your condition worse. Continue reading to get the full scoop on eating ice cream for a sore throat.
If you have ever eaten ice cream to soothe a sore throat, you know that it may provide temporary relief. Depending on your beliefs, you may completely avoid all things cold when you have a sore throat, or you embrace both hot and cold items. Regarding ice cream, the relief it provides is often short-lived. The type of ice cream and the ingredients may even increase inflammation, lower immune function, and worsen your condition. The good news, however, is that there are some ice cream options that may help provide relief without the negative side effects.
Can Sugar Worsen Your Sore Throat?
According to research, sugar is not the ideal ingredient to boost immune function, which should not surprise you. Sugar can cause more inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. High sugar intake may reduce the efficacy of white blood cell activity against infections. That is especially true if a sore throat is caused by a virus or bacteria.
Better Ice Cream Options For Sore Throat
If you are dead set on eating ice cream to soothe your sore throat, the best thing to do is opt for specific, healthier varieties. Due to the vast amount of dietary restrictions and preferences these days, there are many low-sugar, non-dairy, and other “healthier” types of ice cream. Here are some varieties to consider:
- Non-dairy options: If you are sensitive to dairy, or you have a dairy allergy, avoid eating dairy ice cream while sick. A person who is allergic to dairy will only put more stress on their immune system, which is battling the virus or bacteria. Non-dairy ice creams made with coconut milk, almond milk, macadamia milk, or cashew milk are readily available. They provide that soothing cold without the risk of dairy problems.
- Smooth textures: If you can, opt for ice cream that has a smoothy, creamy texture. Don’t purchase ice creams that have crunchy or hard mix-ins, as these items may irritate the throat.
- Low-sugar varieties: Because high sugar content may increase inflammation and irritate a sore throat, choose low-sugar ice cream options. Sugar-free or low-sugar alternatives can be both gentler on the throat and the immune system.
- Fruit sorbets: Generally lower in fat and typically dairy-free, fruit sorbets make for a much lighter option than traditional ice cream. If you find the ones that are made with real fruit, that is even better, as fruit provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may help soothe your throat. Keep in mind, though, that many sorbets can be very high in sugar. Don’t forget you can easily make your own sorbet with some frozen fruit and a food processor!
Are Cold Or Hot Foods Better For A Sore Throat?
Experts suggest that both cold and hot foods can offer relief, but the preference varies from person to person. A popsicle may be great for one person, while a warm cup of vegetable soup is better for another person. One study observed 120 children (ages four to 12) that underwent tonsillectomy prior to the start of the study. The kids were divided in two groups, one of which received a cold diet while the other received a room-temperature diet. The results indicated that the temperature of the diets didn’t significantly affect pain levels, vomiting, or bleeding. As long as the food isn’t so incredibly hot, your throat should tolerate the food.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is not feeding your body inflammatory foods while you are sick. If you find that a couple spoonfuls of ice cream relieves pain and doesn’t worsen symptoms, then proceed responsibly. Just keep your sugar intake in mind, opting for low-sugar and non-dairy varieties whenever you can while sick.