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Is Coffee Good for Nausea? What to Know!

a woman making a cup of coffee

Nausea can be irritating and painful. In extreme circumstances, it can be debilitating and put a stop to your day. The best nausea relief will usually be determined by its cause, so if you’re feeling nauseous because of something you ate or drank, it may be best to avoid food and drinks—other than water—altogether. What’s more, some experts advise steering clear of caffeine because of its diuretic and stimulating effects. However, some people do find relief from nausea by drinking coffee.

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What Is Nausea?

Nausea is a feeling of wanting to be sick. It can lead to vomiting but does not necessarily do so. It can be caused by factors like illness and food irritation but can also be caused by dizziness, motion sickness, and various forms of headache and head injury. It often accompanies migraines. It can occur in men, women, and children of all ages.

Usually, nausea goes away on its own in a relatively short space of time, but if the feeling continues over several days and nothing seems to alleviate it, it may be worth consulting your physician to check that it isn’t a symptom of something more sinister.

young man having nausea at home
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Is Coffee Good for Nausea?

Coffee isn’t necessarily bad for nausea.  However, it isn’t seen as a remedy, either. Certainly, coffee with sugar and milk or cream is more likely to make the feelings worse, but plain black coffee could help settle some people’s stomachs.

Things That Help Nausea:
  • Ginger – Ginger is regularly given as a homeopathic or natural treatment for stomach complaints, including nausea. It is often recommended to alleviate feelings of nausea associated with pregnancy and, as well as having fewer side effects, it has proven to be as effective as anti-nausea medications found on shelves and in pharmacies for some people.
  • Clear Liquids – Fluid intake is important, especially if your nausea is accompanied by vomiting, but is important anyway. Water is the best form of hydration, especially when feeling sick because it has no additives or any other ingredients that might cause the nausea to worsen. Sports drinks and soda water can also help replace the electrolytes that are lost through vomiting and diarrhea, so these are another alternative.
  • Toast – If you can stomach food, it should be bland and plain. Dry toast may not be the most appealing of snacks, but it will not only provide sustenance, but it can also mop up any substances in your stomach that might be making you feel ill. Similar alternatives include crackers, pretzels, or cereals.
  • Cold Food – One major cause of nausea, and something that exacerbates the problem, is strong food smells. Hot foods tend to have stronger and more pungent aromas, so if you can eat and want to avoid making the feeling of sickness worse, eat cold food. Plain ice cream or yogurt are good options because they are bland enough that they won’t cause vomiting and they don’t have a strong smell.
  • Soup – Soup is basically a liquid as long as you don’t choose chunky soups, which means that it can help hydrate your body while being easier for your stomach to digest. Chicken or vegetables will provide the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to gain some energy, too.
  • Bananas – If you can handle their smell, bananas are a good choice of snack food when nauseous because they are densely packed with nutrients and provide energy. They also replace potassium which, like electrolytes, is lost to vomiting and diarrhea.
a cup of coffee
Image Credit: Anastasia Eremina, Unsplash

What to Avoid

Generally, you should try and avoid food and drink that has a strong smell or strong flavor. Avoid spices because if your nausea is being caused by something in your stomach, the spices could mix with this and make the problem worse. Eat small portions and avoid large mouthfuls of food. This can make you feel full, which, in turn, will make you feel even more nauseous. It is also advised that you avoid sugar, and some experts do advise against consuming caffeine and caffeinated drinks because they may make the problem worse.

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Coffee & Nausea: Conclusion

There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that caffeine is necessarily good or bad for nausea, and it is likely to depend on the individual and the cause of the nausea. Certainly avoid adding too much milk or sugar to your coffee drink, and if you find the smell to be too much, avoid the coffee. If you do want to try coffee, have a small mouthful and see how it settles before finishing the whole mug. Also, don’t use coffee as a substitute for water—staying hydrated is vital to your recovery.

Featured Image Credit: Chevanon Photography, Pexels


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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