Whether or not it’s safe to drink coffee while you’re sick depends on the illness in question. In some instances, it is perfectly fine and can even make you feel better. In other cases, it can have a negative impact on your health. Keep reading to discover when it is and isn’t a good idea to drink coffee.
Is Coffee Bad for Your Immune System?
You may have heard that coffee has numerous health benefits. However, what kind of impact does the beverage have on your immune system? Let’s find out:
On the one hand, there are studies that show that coffee is good for your immune system. Consuming around 2 cups a day helps your body to fight bacteria as well as promote antigen fighting capabilities. Not only can this reduce your risk of infection, but it may also prop up your immune system while you are sick.
On the other hand, there is some evidence to prove that an excess consumption of coffee can cause an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone. When this happens, your body produces more inflammatory substances. In turn, this can compromise the immune response of your system.
Speaking of inflammation, there is some confusion about how coffee can affect inflammation. There are some research studies that show that coffee can help to reduce inflammation in the body, allowing your immune system to function more effectively.
At the same time, some experts believe that coffee can increase inflammation in the body. In doing so, it prevents the immune system from working efficiently and getting rid of infections and other illnesses.
What gives? Which of these studies should you believe? Well, apparently it all depends on your individual genetic markers. Depending on that, coffee may either promote or fight inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know which group you fall into.
When you are sick, coffee is great for giving you an energy boost and perking you up. This can be useful for when you need to get through the day. The downside, though, is that coffee can also make it pretty difficult for you to fall asleep.
As you know, rest is important when you’re sick. So, if you aren’t able to get the sleep that you need, you may not recuperate as quickly as possible.
Coffee and Illnesses
Now that you have some idea of how coffee can impact your immune system, let’s take a look at how it can affect individual illnesses:
Is It OK to Drink Coffee When You Have a Cold?
There should be no issue with drinking coffee when you have a cold. In some cases, it may help you feel better. If you have a sore throat, hot coffee can soothe the inflammation and ease your discomfort.
In the event that you just can’t take a day off from work or school, coffee can be a great way to feel rejuvenated. It may help you to stay focused and keep going until you can get some rest.
Can You Drink Coffee When You Have the Flu?
Colds and flus are caused by viruses. As such, having your regular cup of java shouldn’t negatively impact you in any way. As with colds, the coffee may ease some of your symptoms and give you a jolt of energy.
However, this is traditionally advised for mild flus. If you have a more severe strain, your doctor may ask that you steer clear of caffeinated drinks until you have recovered. So, it is a good idea to speak to a medical health practitioner ahead of time.
This is especially important if you have been provided with any medications. It is possible for coffee to interact with certain medicines. This may increase the risk of side effects or reduce the effectiveness of medications.
Due to this, always read the contraindications of any medications or ask your doctor. When in doubt, it is best to steer clear of caffeine until you have completed your course of antibiotics.
Is It Okay for You to Drink Coffee If You Have COVID?
Of course, the illness that everyone is worried about these days is COVID-19. You may want to know if it safe to drink coffee if you have tested positive.
Well, there are no restrictions on what you can eat or drink if you have COVID. If you are feeling well enough, you can drink coffee as usual. Of course, in some instances, you may lose your sense of taste. The only reason to drink coffee would be for an energy boost.
In an interesting turn of events, scientists now believe that drinking coffee can reduce your risk of contracting COVID. So, if you drink several cups of coffee a day on a regular basis, you may have some level of immunity. Of course, you still need to follow proper health and safety protocol to truly reduce your risk of getting COVID.
Can You Drink Coffee If You Have an Upset Stomach?
The one time that you may want to give up your coffee habit is if you’re suffering from a stomach bug or any kind of digestive issue. There are several reasons for this.
For one thing, coffee has a mildly diuretic effect and can sometimes cause additional bowel movements. On a regular day, this is fine. However, if you are already vomiting or suffering from diarrhea, your body is losing a significant amount of fluids. Adding coffee to the mix isn’t a good idea.
In situations such as these, doctors would recommend more hydrating beverages such as water. They may also want you to consume drinks that have increased electrolyte levels to replenish any that you may have lost.
It should also be noted that coffee can be mildly acidic – this may affect some individuals more than others. If you are vomiting, or your stomach lining is already compromised by your illness, then coffee may just aggravate the problem.
Tips for Drinking Coffee When You’re Sick
Here are some tips to follow when you are sick but are considering drinking coffee:
Only Drink If You Are a Regular Drinker
If you don’t drink coffee on a regular basis, it is not a good idea to start when you are sick. While coffee has plenty of benefits, your body takes time to adapt to the effects of the beverage.
Keep in mind, coffee can temporarily raise your blood pressure and be mildly diuretic. After drinking coffee for a short period, you will be less likely to experience these issues. If you are new to coffee, however, you certainly don’t want to feel these side-effects while sick.
Limit Your Intake
While coffee is normally safe to consume when sick, you should still limit your intake. This is something to keep in mind even if you are a seasoned coffee drinker. Ideally, you shouldn’t be drinking more than two cups a day.
Remember, coffee is most likely to have a negative impact on your immune system and health if it is consumed in excess. Not to mention, the more coffee you drink, the higher the risk of experiencing the side-effects. This includes increased heart rate, irritability, and jitteriness.
If you feel comfortable enough, you can consider switching to decaf until you feel better. Of course, bear in mind that decaf coffee still contains caffeine. So, you shouldn’t go overboard in this case either.
Don’t Drink Coffee Past a Certain Time
As mentioned, if you are not careful, coffee can disrupt your rest. Since this isn’t something that you want to experience while sick, it is a good idea to stop drinking coffee earlier on in the day.
Until you feel better, try to avoid drinking coffee after 12 in the afternoon. This will ensure that the caffeine has cleared up from your system by the time you go to bed. If you are especially sensitive to caffeine, it can help to have your last cup of coffee in the morning.
You should also know that the number of coffee drinks you consume can impact your sleep. As a result, it is important to cut down on your caffeine intake and stop drinking it earlier on.
Monitor the Effect of Coffee on Your Symptoms
To know for sure if it is safe for you to drink coffee while you are ill, monitor how you feel shortly after drinking coffee. You can also wait for a few hours. Do you feel the same, better, or worse?
If you feel worse, then you may want to think about temporarily stopping your caffeine intake until you start feeling better. In case there is no impact, then feel free to continue as usual.
There you have it. Yes, coffee is usually safe for you to drink, but you need to know the right conditions when you can do so. What’s more, you should know the right dose and how to consume it to be safe while you are recovering from your illness.