As coffee lovers, we like to think that coffee is only good for us. That there's nothing bad about it. But as much as we love coffee... as much as coffee is good... there are some downsides to it.
I discovered this one gloomy day when I had the common cold. I lay in bed almost all day that day. Naturally, I had a cup of coffee to cheer me up. After a while, my coughing became a lot worse. The more I drank, the worse my cough got.
So I thought, does coffee trigger a cough? It certainly seemed that way. After some research, I've found the answer.
Here, I'll talk about all my findings. This is not to disdain coffee in any way. Of course it isn't! I still love coffee. But a word of caution for anyone that wants to get rid of their cough is a good thing.
What is Mucus and Coughing?
To make you understand how it triggers coughing better, I'll first explain a bit about mucus and coughing. There's a tendency to think that these are bad things, but they're not bad in themselves. In fact, and this might surprise you, mucus and cough are there to protect us.
There's always mucus in your body. It's a protective lining that helps areas from drying out. It also keeps invaders away, like viruses and bacterias. Mucus becomes harmful and uncomfortable, though, if there is too much of it in the body.
Coughing is preventing excessive mucus from entering the lungs. It's a voluntary or involuntary reflex that forces the mucus away or phlegm away. In the simplest form, coughing protects your lungs. But again, coughing can be very annoying and can keep us up all night, which is not good.
How does Coffee Trigger Coughs?
If you want to remove cough, then you should normalize mucus levels. Unfortunately, coffee might not be the solution to that, to our great dismay. Sad to say that it might be the very reason our cough gets worse. Here's why...
To thin out mucus, we need to hydrate our bodies. Before you start blabbering about how coffee is a beverage so it must be good for hydration, let me explain.
We all know that coffee has caffeine...lots and lots of it. What most of us don't know though, is that caffeine is a diuretic.
This means that it lets the kidney flush out extra sodium and water in the body through urinating. This can be a bad thing for people with a cough.
As caffeine flushes away extra sodium and water, your body will go through a sort of dehydration. The lack of water in the body will then thicken mucus. The thicker mucus gets, the more violent your cough will be.
This is what happens when coffee triggers coughing. Yet, and this can be good news for some coffee enthusiasts out there, that's not always the case.
How does Coffee Help Coughs?
Everyone's different. So everyone's body works in different ways. Let's get to the bright side, how coffee CAN help with a cough.
Coffee doesn't only have caffeine. It also has a lot of antioxidants. These antioxidants can work to boost your immune system. The healthier your immune system, the faster your body can get rid of excessive mucus and cough. So this is one great way coffee can help.
Not only that, but coffee is also a great energy booster. If your cough makes you feel under the weather, coffee can reverse that. This is for the people that need to go to work even with a cough. You're welcome.
To add another bonus, coffee is soothing for your throat. Have you ever tried coughing every few minutes? Your throat started to dry up and feel sore, right?
Well, not anymore with the soothing and warm coffee slipping down your throat.
So in many ways, coffee is great for a cough too.
How Do We Know if Coffee Triggers or Helps Coughs?
Great news, you don't have to do any scientific tests. The simplest way to find out if you're on the negative side or positive side is to try it.
Even if coffee does trigger your cough, it won't do you much harm except make your cough last longer. So it's okay to try a cup of coffee or two to see which side you're on.
If you feel like coffee is not doing anything to your cough, then there's no reason to avoid it.
Unfortunately for me and people like people, coffee does worsen my cough. Oh well, it can motivate us to try to get well as soon as possible so we can drink coffee again.
Can Coffee Create a Cough?
So you now know that coffee can be good or bad for coughing, depending on who you are.
But can it create a cough? Can too much coffee thicken the mucus in your body?
Another good news is that it doesn't. Even if you only drink coffee and remove any other liquid sources from your life. Don't do that, though, because although you won't get a cough, you'll get something much worse.
So I'm not saying you can drink an unlimited amount of coffee per day. I'm just stating that coffee doesn't create mucus and coughs.
What is the Right Amount of Caffeine Intake?
This got me thinking...how much coffee should we intake per day? What's the safest amount, whether we are sick or well?
I think it's important to talk about this so that we're careful. As much as we love coffee, it's wise to take it in moderation so that there's no reason for it to harm our bodies.
So what's the right amount? Again, it depends on the person. I know I keep saying this, but it's the truth.
Person A can drink 5 cups of coffee per day and have zero side effects. Person B, meanwhile, takes 2 cups and already feels the symptoms, restlessness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc. So when I say that the ideal amount of caffeine a day is 400mg, that's 4 cups, I don't mean it for everyone.
Yet to keep it safe, you can drink at least 4 cups a day if you don't experience any symptoms. Drink less if symptoms occur. No matter how much we love coffee, it's good to take precautions. Coffee can be positive and negative to our individual bodies.
If you stick to 4 cups a day, and that's black coffee, then you should be fine. Unless your body reacts differently. Let's enjoy our favorite drink...but make sure we don't overdose ourselves. Coffee can be a very good thing, but it can also be bad when we are not careful.
So the bottom line is that for some coffee can trigger coughs, for others it helps. Some people are okay with taking more than 4 cups of coffee per day, while others can take 1 to 2.