Certain Foods Such As Lemon Juice Or Milk Really Bad For A Sore Throat?

Dr. Weida answers the question: 'Are Certain Foods Worse For A Sore Throat?'

ByThomas Weida, M.D., Professor, Family and Community Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
December 29, 2008, 10:17 AM

— -- Question: Are certain foods such as lemon juice or milk really bad for a sore throat?

Answer: The concern is whether lemon juice or milk are bad for a sore throat. Not necessarily. Many people find that lemon juice, a gargle with lemon juice and water, actually can help their sore throat, help make it feel better, because the acidic nature sometimes changes the environment and might help chase away some of the viruses. On the other hand, some people will gargle with the lemon juice and water and it'll feel worse. If that's the case, don't gargle with the lemon juice and water.

Milk also can be very soothing for many people, some people even recommend chocolate milk because it's a little bit thicker and a few people have recommended taking it through a straw so it provides a slow-coating mechanism.

Where a number of folks have problems with using milk as a coating agent for their throat is when they have a lot of mucus, as it seems that the milk tends to enhance the mucus production and makes more of a coating in the back of the throat that may promote cough.

So again, if it feels better, if it's working better, if you're feeling more comfortable, that certainly is a recommendation to continue doing it, whether it's milk or whether it's lemon juice.

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