advice: drinking hot beverages soothes your scratchy throat

the key is staying hydrated when sick. some studies also indicate hot beverages may be more effective against sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and chills.

does drinking hot water and honey with lemon help a sore throat?
lucia weiler, a registered dietitian and wellness counsellor in toronto, says drinking warm liquids can increase blood flow to the tissues in the throat and loosen the phlegm. getty
dear asking for a friend,
whenever i get a cold, or an allergy attack, the first thing i feel is a sore throat. is honey and hot water really the best to ease the pain?
looking for natural relief
dear looking for natural relief,
a sore throat can be scratchy and painful, and hurt even more when you swallow. that’s typically because you’re reacting to an intruding virus like the common cold or flu, or an allergen like dust or pollen. your body releases histamines to fight off the invader, which also increases the amount of mucus in your throat, nose and mouth.

often it’s the postnasal drip where excess mucus from your nose drips down the back of your throat and causes irritation, according to the cleveland clinic . you can also experience fatigue, fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes.

while antibiotics don’t work on viruses, heading to the pharmacy to get some over-the-counter antihistamine medication can help dry that postnasal drip. other remedies for immediate relief of sore throat include sucking on ice chips, popsicles or lozenges. drinking hot water and lemon is also popular to stay hydrated, thin the mucus and keep your throat moist.

research indicates there may be some truth to feeling better after sipping on a hot liquid. one often-cited study out of cardiff university in wales showed that while a hot fruit drink didn’t improve an objective measure of nasal airflow in people battling a common cold, it did improve the subjective reporting of nasal airflow. hot drinks also provided “immediate and sustained relief” from symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, coughing and chilliness. the study, published in rhinology , also found the same beverage served at room temperature wasn’t as effective.



hot beverages — like lemon and hot water — can help a sore throat

lucia weiler, a registered dietitian and wellness counsellor in toronto , says the key here is heated liquids, whether you prefer hot water and lemon, a cup of hot tea or clear broth.

“drinking warm liquids can increase blood flow to the tissues in the throat and loosen the phlegm,” she told healthing. “so, definitely drinking warm liquids will improve symptoms. it’s not a cure, but it will help people feel better.”
keeping well-hydrated is something that can be a challenge for people who have a hard time with drinking water on its own and is even more important when you’re sick to help support your immunity, weiler explains. adding a slice of lemon or a few squeezes of lemon juice can help make it more appealing.
but your go-to hot liquid doesn’t have to be hot water with lemon if it’s not something you enjoy. weiler helps her clients build healthy relationships with food so people don’t need to feel pressured to incorporate cuisines into their diet that they really don’t like.
“if you love that astringent taste of lemon, go for it. i just prefer clear water or flavoured with a slice of orange in it because it’s a little bit sweeter,” says weiler. “or, you can put in fruit like berries, strawberries or any rich-coloured fruits. they all have vitamin c in them, so pick your favourite fruit.”

the aim is to consume liquid for hydration. natural fruits give you a little something extra in flavour and nutrients. she also advises to look for signs of dehydration so that you can focus on getting enough of those important liquids when you’re hit with a cold or allergy. signs of dehydration, beyond thirst, include dry lips or dry mouth, flushed skin, headache and light-headedness, according to dietitians of canada ,



what about tea and coffee to soothe your throat?

many teas contain active compounds, called polyphenols, that work like antioxidants in your body, says weiler. she’s also an advocate for a few cups of coffee a day, which has proven health-promoting properties, as along you are aware of your sensitivity to caffeine.
“if somebody finds that they’re drinking coffee or tea and they get jittery or agitated, they may be more sensitive to caffeine than someone who can drink an espresso at 10 o’clock at night,” she says.
again, it comes back to your own personal relationship with food and enjoying healthy choices.
and when it comes to a miserable sore throat, you want to get your rest, eat well and be patient with your body.
“through covid, building up immunity has been one of the biggest questions that we’ve had as health care professionals. i think it’s like building up muscle. it takes time and perseverance and good long-term habits.”
karen hawthorne is a toronto-based writer.

thank you for your support. if you liked this story, please send it to a friend. every share counts.


postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. we ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. we have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. visit our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.