Ever felt nauseous or sick after drinking coffee? It's actually pretty common, but most people don't know why it happens or how to stop it.
In this guide we'll explain why coffee makes you nauseous and how you can enjoy your cup of coffee without the negative side effects.
7 Reasons Why Coffee Can Make You Feel Nauseous
Below are some of the most common reasons why the ingredients in coffee make you nauseous:
1. High Acidity
As coffee has a relatively high acidity that can range from 4.4 to 5.5 in terms of pH, it can cause individuals to feel nauseous and even have gastrointestinal discomfort or acid reflux.
If you're feeling nauseous, one of the reasons can be attributed to the acidity of the hot coffee.
2. Coffee Stimulates The Digestive System
As caffeine is a stimulant, it encourages the digestive system to work a little faster - causing more gastric acid secretion than required.
This could potentially cause individuals to experience nausea, trigger acid reflux, and even heartburn - especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
Coffee also relaxes the gastroesophageal sphincter, which could allow some stomach acid to leak up into the esophagus and cause nausea
3. Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach
Having coffee when you haven't eaten will result in the empty stomach absorbing the caffeine at a quicker rate, potentially leaving you feeling nauseous.
In the long run, the acids from the coffee could also thin out your stomach lining and intestines and cause acid reflux or gastritis.
Some other symptoms that you could experience from drinking coffee on an empty stomach include nervousness and an increased heart rate.
4. Consuming Excessive Amounts
Nausea and stomach upsets are typically caused by high protein foods, but drinking lots of coffee can have the same effect. You should only be consuming about four cups of coffee a day (less if you have strong cold brew coffee).
Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day could cause an excessive amount of acid in the stomach, which can cause coffee induced nausea along with acid reflux and discomfort.
Drinking excessive amounts of coffee can also cause other issues as caffeine stimulates laxative effects and irritability.
5. Drinking Coffee Too Early in the Morning
Drinking coffee the moment you wake up in the morning can cause nausea as your cortisol levels are the highest in the morning.
This especially affects individuals that have a history of gastrointestinal issues. If you're prone to these issues, try to avoid drinking coffee until mid-morning or afternoon to avoid feeling sick.
6. Drinking Coffee While Pregnant
Morning sickness is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, and this can be exacerbated by coffee. It is advised not to drink coffee during the first trimester, as this can worsen the symptoms of nausea.
Generally, however, if you are pregnant, you should be limiting your caffeine consumption to less than 20 milligrams a day. That's why most pregnant women drink decaf coffee.
7. You’re Dehydrated
If you are already dehydrated, consuming an excessive amount of caffeine can worsen the symptoms of dehydration and cause you to feel nauseous.
If you are feeling dehydrated, it is best to consume water instead of coffee to ensure that you are sufficiently hydrated. If possible, it’s also best for you to have something to eat before drinking your morning cup of coffee - even if it's decaffeinated coffee.
How Do You Get Rid Of Nausea After Drinking Coffee?
While a cup of coffee can cause you to feel energized after you've been feeling sluggish, it can also cause coffee induced nausea and headaches. If you started to feel nauseous after drinking coffee, here are some ways to counteract the caffeine that you’ve consumed.
1. Drink More Water
Since coffee can cause you to feel dehydrated, one of the best ways to counteract caffeine is to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. By consuming large amounts of water, you will be flushing out the caffeine in your system while reducing the feelings of nausea.
2. Go For a Walk
While it might be the last thing that you want to do, going for a walk or even doing some light jogging can help with caffeine jitters. A gentle workout is exactly what you need to get your blood flowing and to make the nausea go away. If you don't want to walk or jog, you can consider doing yoga or pilates instead.
Consider practicing meditation to avoid caffeine induced nausea. It’s also a good idea to combine meditation and deep breathing exercises to increase the supply of oxygen to your brain, calm your thoughts, soothe your nerves and make you feel more alert.
4. Replenish Electrolytes
It's possible that nausea can be caused by the caffeine upsetting your stomach. To combat the nausea, try drinking Gatorade, smoothies, and even juice to replenish the electrolytes and restore your body's electrolyte imbalance.
How To Tell That You’re Consuming Too Much Coffee?
Think that you might be consuming more coffee than you should? Here are some ways to tell:
Frequent Questions About Coffee and Nausea
Can the smell of coffee make you feel sick?
Yes, for certain individuals, the smell of coffee can most certainly make you feel sick. Instead of the usual side effects of anxiety or nervousness after caffeine intake, some individuals may end up feeling sick from the smell of coffee instead.
Do artificial zero-calorie sweeteners in coffees make you feel sick?
There is a possibility of zero calorie artificial sweeteners in coffee making you feel ill. For some individuals, some symptoms that they may experience include vomiting, abdominal pain, cramps, etc.
Can you suddenly become intolerant to caffeine?
If you're someone that regularly consumes caffeine, there is a possibility that you would become intolerant to caffeine and its effects. It's also possible that you may develop physical or behavioral dependencies on caffeine.
Is coffee high in histamines?
Interestingly, coffee is high in histamine and can result in an allergic reaction. It is, however, different from your regular allergy mechanism but will still affect individuals with caffeine and histamine intolerances.
There are a few reasons coffee makes you nauseous and hopefully this guide has helped to explain them.
We've given you some tips to improve nausea related impacts from coffee, but if it continues to bother you then it's worth reducing your coffee intake, switching to decaf coffee, or just sticking to tea or juice instead.