Here at Runner bean, we are huge fans of coffee (naturally). We’ve raved about the wonders of strong coffee pre and post your workout, what caffeine actually does to your body when used for sport (find out more here) and more. However, it can also have detrimental impacts, and it is important that you drink your coffee as best suits you. Usually these side effects creep up if you consume a lot of caffeine, (we’re thinking 10 cups a day). One of these side effects is — coffee-induced nausea, which can affect drinkers who already have a sensitive stomach, for many reasons.
So why exactly do you feel nauseous after your favourite brew?
Caffeine is a stimulant, so it encourages the digestive system to work a little faster, including creating more stomach acid than necessary. The specific acidity of the beans used in your brew can vary, so they may be the cause of your nausea. This works with your stomach acid, and may cause inner irritation, leading to heartburn or acid reflux. This isn’t caused specifically by coffee, but the caffeine can highlight any irritation that is already there.
The laxative effects of caffeine are also occasionally too much on our digestive systems. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it promotes excretion of water from your body, in one way or another. A diuretic causes water to be drawn from the blood and into the digestive system, which can increase that nausea feeling. Finally if you choose to sweeten, or add flavoured syrup into your coffee, this may be sparking those nauseous feelings. Artificial sweeteners can upset your gut’s natural microbiome, causing distress to your stomach, and if you find you’re feeling particularly sick after a milky coffee, you could be lactose-intolerant. Try alternative milks such as oat, almond or hemp to see if these ease the symptoms.
You don’t have to cut coffee out completely
The good news is that you can still have your favourite cup of coffee without feeling nauseous every time, it’s all about how, when and why you drink it. In the morning team your coffee with protein foods like yogurt, eggs, and cheese. These can help slow your digestion and improve nausea. Porridge and bananas also provide a starchy release to compliment your coffee digestion. Also, keep sipping water throughout the day. While coffee doesn’t necessarily dehydrate you, drinking lots of water lessens the harsh effects of coffee on the stomach and keeps your electrolytes up. An easy way to keep an iffy stomach at bay.
Finally, If none of these options work, cutting down on your coffee intake may be the only way to go. Try a day without, or slowly decreasing your cups per day.