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Is Coffee Good for Asthma? What You Need to Know!

woman suffering from asthma attack

As many as one in 13 people has asthma in the United States. Many people drink coffee every day, consuming more as they age. Can consuming coffee can make asthma worse? The good news is that coffee can actually be beneficial to people who have asthma. However, there are a few risks, so keep reading as we take a closer look at this topic to see how your morning beverage can affect your health and what you can do to help yourself.

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Can Coffee Help Asthma?

The caffeine in coffee acts as a bronchodilator, helping your lungs take in more oxygen, which can help people suffering from asthma feel more comfortable. It’s similar to the asthma drug Theophylline. However, most physicians prescribe another type of medication instead because too much caffeine can lead to unexpected results.

woman having asthma attack
Image Credit: Sincerely Media, Unsplash

How Does Coffee Hurt People Living With Asthma?

Health Issues

The primary downside of using caffeine as a bronchodilator is that it’s not that strong, and users are unlikely to experience much relief, especially during a flare-up or episode. People who consume caffeine regularly can have trouble sleeping and experience nausea and headaches. Many people also suffer from increased urination, irritability, muscle tremors, nervousness, and anxiety. These symptoms are more likely to occur if you consume more than 400 mg of caffeine daily, which is the recommended limit.

Acid Reflux

Another problem with consuming too much coffee is that it’s quite acidic. Foods with a low pH, like coffee, tomato sauce, and other foods, can trigger acid reflux, a problem that many people with asthma also have.

man having a heartburn
Image Credit: naturalherbsclinic, Pixabay

Other Ways That Coffee Is Good

Coffee provides many people with the energy that they need to start each day. It makes them more alert and better able to focus. The caffeine in coffee also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling inside the body and out.

Other Ways That Coffee Is Bad

Exceeding the recommended caffeine consumption limit can lead to several health problems. It’s a diuretic and can affect your gastrointestinal system and other organs in the body, like the kidneys and brain. Excessive caffeine consumption can also increase your heart rate, leading to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.

empty coffee cups
Image Credit: Izz R, Unsplash

How Can I Minimize the Problems Associated With Coffee?

  • If you have asthma and acid reflux, a light coffee roast may help reduce symptoms and the number of flare-ups. Dark roasts have more caffeine but a more bitter taste, meaning they are more acidic. Choose a medium or light roast for something more neutral on the pH scale with a balanced flavor.
  • The brewing method can also affect how acidic the coffee is. Hot water and long steep times will make the coffee more acidic, while a cold brew method can help reduce acidity.
  • If you feel that coffee is causing acid reflux, try other beverages that can provide an energy boost, like ginseng.
  • Drinking plenty of water can help neutralize the diuretic effects of caffeine.
  • Avoid consuming coffee on an empty stomach if you suffer from acid reflux. Food will help absorb and neutralize the acidic fluid.

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Summary

The caffeine in coffee is a weak bronchodilator that can help provide mild relief to people with asthma. It’s similar to an asthma medication that a doctor might prescribe. However, consuming it regularly, especially in large amounts, can lead to several health issues, like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. The acidic fluid can also lead to more frequent bouts of acid reflux, a problem that many asthma sufferers already have. Drinking more water and choosing a cold brew coffee can help reduce the risk of side effects.


Featured Image Credit: Antonio Guillem, Shutterstock

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Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker, a veteran writer, has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming, and of course, coffee. He drinks a lot of it when he writes, making him an expert indeed. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.

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