Millions around the world can unanimously agree that they cannot go a single day without consuming some coffee. In fact, the fantastic aroma of freshly brewed coffee is what gets us out of bed on most mornings.
Coffee can be tricky, though. When consumed the right way, it can boost mental and physical performance, reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes, and even increase metabolic function.
However, you might feel sick an hour or two after consuming coffee on other days.
The science behind this is that when you drink coffee on an empty stomach, you are likely to face many side effects, especially nausea. Hot coffee is known to mess with the digestive system and stomach, inducing vomit and overall discomfort.
You should try opting for a cold brew or decaffeinated coffee if you have a sensitive stomach.
Why Does Coffee Suddenly Make Me Nauseous?
Science can explain any and everything. A common reason coffee makes some people nauseous is because of its pH levels.
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that allows the digestive system to work faster. While this may be good for many, it also creates more stomach acid than needed. When the stomach is stimulated while it is empty, it absorbs caffeine quickly, which can result in nausea.
Moreover, the gastroesophageal sphincter, located at the bottom of the esophagus that allows food to make its way into the stomach, relaxes as a result of caffeine. When this happens, stomach acid has more chances of leaking into the esophagus, leading to nausea, heartburn, and acid reflux.
2. Diuretic Effects
Sometimes, along with nausea and acid reflux, coffee acts as a laxative for some people. This is because caffeine is a diuretic that allows the excretion of liquid from the body (4).
A diuretic takes water from the blood and sets it free into the digestive system (5). Depending on how sensitive your body is to caffeine, this can result in diarrhea or nausea.
3. Sweeteners and Milk Content
If you do not feel nauseous when drinking black coffee but find your stomach acting up every time you add a sweetener, your body may not be reacting to the caffeine itself.
Instead, it is based on how you are drinking your coffee. Sweeteners and milk can irritate the stomach, which can induce nausea (6).
Moreover, artificial sweeteners are a terrible idea. They can irritate the nature microbiome of your gut which can lead your stomach to produce more acid (7).
The next time you reach for zero-calorie sweeteners, keep in mind that they are full of harmful ingredients. These sweeteners activate the bacteria in your cut, negatively affecting your bodily functions. Try drinking your coffee black or experimenting with natural cocoa, cinnamon, or stevia leaf extract.
Also, artificial, low-fat, and non-dairy creamers are not a great option either. They usually include harmful ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, thickeners, hydrogenated oils, and other harmful ingredients (8).
A common ingredient used to reduce the acidity of coffee is dipotassium phosphate which can offset feelings of nausea and diarrhea. If you absolutely need to add creamer to your coffee, go for some vegan milk.
If you find yourself feeling extremely nauseous after drinking a milk coffee, you could also be lactose-intolerant.
We would recommend consulting a doctor who can give you some tests to figure out what is causing your nausea. Keep in mind that as you grow up, your body changes.
This means that you may have drunk milk all your life but suddenly, in adulthood, you could find that your body is rejecting the lactose present in milk.
4. Empty Stomach
Regardless of how amazing coffee tastes, it contains a number of chemicals, intensities, and flavors that can cause discomfort if you consume it on an empty stomach.
When you drink coffee first thing in the morning, the acids react with the lining of the stomach and cause gastritis and reflux, especially since there is no food in your stomach to absorb the acidity in the caffeine.
If you have an empty stomach and you drink coffee, it can cause you to experience the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
Hence, never skip your breakfast. If you cannot start your mornings without a hot cup of coffee, make sure that you eat something filling first and then follow it up with some coffee.
5. Drinking Coffee Too Early in the Morning
The cortisol levels in your body are extremely high when you wake up (9). In fact, they are the highest when you jump out of bed than any other time of the day. Due to this, when you drink coffee in the morning, you mind end up feeling stressed, nauseous, and more lethargic once the spike dies down.
If you have gastrointestinal problems, you should avoid drinking coffee early in the morning.
Instead, have some hydrating liquids with your breakfast when you wake up and leave your coffee as a mid-morning or afternoon beverage.
6. You are Dehydrated
When you consume too much coffee, you might end up feeling more dehydrated than you previously were (10). Many people forget that nothing can replace fresh drinking water.
In fact, water should be the first thing that you drink as soon as you wake up.
Rather than drinking coffee on an empty stomach, experts suggest flushing your body and getting rid of toxins by drinking twotall glasses of water. And don’t forget to have a snack before drowning your cup of Joe.
How to Avoid Feeling Nauseous After Drinking Coffee
Even though you might have realized that drinking coffee makes you nauseous, you don’t necessarily have to cut it out of your life. Instead, there are several ways you can enjoy coffee without feeling so miserable.
Here is a list of tricks that you can try:
1. Eat Something Before
It is a great idea to start protecting yourself from the adverse effects of coffee even if you are not particularly harmed by it right now.
Regardless of whether or not you are allergic to caffeine, you must have breakfast before you think about drinking a cup of coffee.
Some of the best breakfast options include yogurt, toast, cheese, eggs, and granola. We are not encouraging you to overeat, but you must eat something so that your digestive organs do not get affected.
These foods will help slow your digestion down so that you do not feel nauseous. They will also act as a cushion against the caffeine levels present in the coffee.
In case you are dealing with other stomach issues, it is best to ask your doctor for some advice. You might have to take some medication early in the morning or completely cut out coffee from your life.
Even though this would be sad for a coffee lover, your health comes before any cravings.
2. Don’t Choose Overcomplicated Coffee Options
This may be a hard truth to hear for individuals who enjoy ordering special coffees but drinking black coffee is a great alternative to all your stomach issues. This is because artificial sweeteners cause nausea, but when you have black coffee, you do not have to worry about harmful ingredients.
When you order coffee from a café every morning on your way to work, you have no idea what ingredients are added to your order. While the coffee might taste absolutely delicious, there are probably a number of artificial flavors used to make you fall in love and maybe even get addicted to it.
Instead, make your coffee at home or ask for black coffee.
If you aren’t used to consuming black coffee just yet, you can add some milk, but remember to wean yourself off sugar and other artificial creamers and sweeteners.
3. Drink More Water
When you drink coffee, you might soon find yourself feeling thirsty.
This is because coffee dehydrates you. It makes your nausea worse, so drinking more water is highly recommended. Even though a small amount of coffee will not lead to dehydration, you can reduce the harsh effects of multiple cups of coffee by drinking lots of water during the day.
This will also ensure that the electrolytes in your body are not affected, especially if coffee makes you use the bathroom more often.
Additionally, if you are allergic to caffeine, drinking more water will build a better digestive system, putting an end to most problems related to nausea and acid reflux.
4. Try Cutting Down
If you find that you have tried all these options and still feel nauseous each time you consume coffee, there may be no other thing left to do than cutting down your coffee intake.
Drinking coffee is great, but if it makes you feel nauseous every time, it is not worth the trouble.
Of course, it might be hard to stop drinking coffee completely, so make sure you do so slowly and replace it with another beverage of your choice like smoothies, shakes, or matcha.
You could also find other ways to keep your energy levels up, such as exercising or brisk walking.
You can opt for specialty-grade decaf if you suffer from nausea when drinking coffee. You can also try darker roasts, as these have been brewed sufficiently to reduce the acidity levels present in the caffeine.
We would also recommend that you choose protein options for breakfast that can keep you full and don’t get tempted by sweeteners and artificial creamers.
Due to the solutions given in this article, you might be able to enjoy your cup of coffee more comfortably, especially since you have all the necessary knowledge and are more in control of the situation.
But, if you still experience some discomfort, ask yourself whether drinking coffee is the most crucialthing in your life and whether you would choose to getsick over ditching it altogether.
After all, it comes down to what is goodfor you. Other options are always available to help you feel alert, such as golden milk, matcha tea, and chicory coffee!