Ice cream can offer soothing relief for sore throats, but eating too much sugar may make symptoms worse.

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If you’ve got a sore throat, it might be tempting to reach for the ice cream to get a little cool relief. But is it completely harmless? Can it make your condition worse?

Here’s the scoop on eating ice cream for a sore throat.

Eating ice cream may provide some temporary relief for a sore throat thanks to its cold and soothing feel. However, this relief is often short-lived, and the high sugar content in most ice creams might increase inflammation and lower your immunity, potentially worsening your condition.

The good news is there are more ice cream options now than ever before, so you might be able to get the cool relief without the negatives.

Can sugar make a sore throat worse?

Research suggests that sugar isn’t ideal for the immune system because it can cause inflammation and weaken your body’s ability to fight off infections.

High sugar intake may reduce the effectiveness of white blood cells, which play a crucial role in defending against illnesses. This is particularly true if a virus or bacteria are the cause of your sore throat.

If you’re set on eating ice cream for a sore throat, opting for certain types of ice cream may be a better choice. Here are some considerations:

  • Low sugar varieties: High sugar content can potentially worsen inflammation and irritate a sore throat. Choosing ice cream with lower sugar content or even sugar-free alternatives can be gentler on your throat.
  • Non-dairy options: Individuals with dairy allergies may experience added stress on their immune system. In such cases, non-dairy alternatives, like ice creams made with coconut milk or almond milk, can serve as suitable options. These alternatives provide a creamy and soothing treat without the potential for dairy-related issues.
  • Fruit sorbets: Fruit-based sorbets are generally lower in fat and dairy-free, making them a lighter option for a sore throat. They’re often made with real fruit, which can provide some essential vitamins and antioxidants that may help soothe your throat. However, keep in mind fruit sorbets may still be high in sugar, so choosing a brand that doesn’t include added sugar may be best.
  • Smooth textures: Opt for ice cream with a smooth and creamy texture. Avoid ice creams with crunchy or hard mix-ins, as they might irritate the sore areas.

Ice cream can offer soothing relief to some individuals with tonsillitis due to its cold and creamy texture. The chilliness can temporarily numb your sore throat, while the creaminess provides a comforting and easily swallowable source of nutrition.

Ice cream might be particularly comforting after a tonsillectomy.

One study examined the effect of eating ice cream after tonsillectomy in children on immediate postoperative pain and compared it to a room-temperature diet.

The findings indicated a significant link between ice cream intake and the absence of pain. Additionally, school-aged children seemed to benefit more from postoperative ice cream consumption compared to preschoolers.

When it comes to soothing a sore throat, both cold and hot (not too hot) foods can offer relief, but the preference can vary from person to person. Some people may prefer a popsicle, while others want a cup of warm bone broth. Both can offer comforting relief.

A study of 120 children (ages 4-12) who’d recently undergone tonsillectomy involved two groups, one receiving cold diets and the other room-temperature diets postsurgery.

The results suggest that the temperature of post-tonsillectomy diets didn’t significantly affect pain levels, bleeding, nausea, or vomiting.

It’s generally recommended that you don’t eat very hot foods after a tonsillectomy.

Is ice cream or soup better for a sore throat?

Some find relief in cold foods like ice cream or popsicles, as the chilly temperature can temporarily numb the pain and provide comfort. Others prefer warm foods and beverages, such as soup or warm tea with honey, which can also help ease throat discomfort.

It ultimately depends on what feels soothing to you.

Foods that are often associated with causing inflammation in the throat include:

  • Spicy foods: The heat from spices can irritate the throat, leading to inflammation and discomfort.
  • Acidic foods and beverages: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and foods high in citric acid, along with acidic drinks like orange juice and sodas, can trigger throat irritation due to their acidity.
  • Hot beverages: Extremely hot drinks like scalding tea or coffee can scorch the throat lining, leading to inflammation.
  • Dairy products: Some people may find that consuming dairy products can result in throat discomfort and a sensation of thicker saliva.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can dehydrate the throat and exacerbate irritation, particularly when consumed in excess.

Ice cream can provide temporary relief for a sore throat due to its cold, soothing texture. However, its high sugar content may not be suitable for everyone and could lead to increased inflammation.

Opting for low-sugar or non-dairy alternatives like coconut milk-based ice cream may be a better choice, particularly if you have dairy sensitivities. Always consider your individual preferences and sensitivities when deciding whether ice cream is the right choice to ease your sore throat.