You May Also Like

Trader Joe's might stock cauliflower gnocchi

Cauliflower connoisseurs: Trader Joe’s might soon answer your low-carb, Italian-cuisine dreams

Corn leads to the most weight gain of any veggie

Here’s why you might want to enjoy this beloved summer vegetable in moderation

Chopped romaine lettuce hosts e. coli outbreak

Everything you need to know about the E. coli outbreak on romaine lettuce

Chef Gordon Ramsay tweets plans to go vegan

Meat-loving chef Gordon Ramsay announces he’s going vegan—for at least one meal

The beginner's guide to composting

The beginner’s guide to composting—no matter the size of your space

Why obesogens make it hard to lose weight

Why is long-term weight loss so hard? These scary chemicals are partly to blame

Is it okay to drink coffee when you’re sick?


Thumbnail for Is it okay to drink coffee when you’re sick?
Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Lumina
1/4

When you’re under the weather, chances are there’s not much you won’t do to start feeling like yourself again. (Even—gulp—throwing out your favorite, newly germ-infested red lipstick.) But giving up coffee? If you’re a java devotee, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

The truth is, there are pros and cons to drinking coffee when you’re sick. In some ways, it can hinder your body’s ability to bounce back. But coffee also has some properties that can get you up and running, so there are a few different factors to weigh when you’re debating whether you should pass on your favorite AM habit.

To settle the caffeine-or-cough syrup dilemma for good, I consulted Nashville-based dietitian Jenny Beth Kroplin, RD, LDN, CLC. Trust me when I say you’ll want to keep her thoughts in mind next time you feel the sniffles coming on.

Keep reading to find out whether it’s *really* a good idea to drink coffee when you’re sick.

Get Started
2/4
Is it ok to drink coffee when you're sick?
Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

The case for skipping coffee during an illness…

Let’s start with the bad news. Unfortunately, caffeine can be dehydrating—and, as you’ve probably heard, the golden rule of getting over a bug is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. “While you’re sick, it’s very important to stay on top of hydration to help the body thin mucus [and] replace fluids lost,” explains Kroplin.

Plus, a caffeine hit can interrupt your sleep, which also makes it a risky beverage choice when you’re sick. You probably know that getting enough rest is major for overall health, but it’s especially crucial when you’re not feeling well—research shows that your immune system is at its best when you’re getting enough zzz’s, and coffee can potentially mess with your shut-eye.

3/4
Is it ok to drink coffee when you're sick?
Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma

…And an argument for caffeinating as usual

But it’s not all buzzkill (literally). Coffee actually has some merits when it comes to feeling better. “Coffee is a rich source of disease-fighting polyphenolic antioxidants,” says Kroplin.”Research suggests the antioxidant activity from coffee, specifically from ferulic and caffeic acids, has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral effects,” she says. “This can all be helpful to the body in healing from an illness.”

Plus, the polyphenols in coffee may be helpful in reducing inflammation. “When we can reduce inflammation in the body, [this] can help set the stage for healing and wellness,” says Kroplin.

But the most obvious benefit of coffee when you’re sick is—you guessed it—an energy boost. One study found that coffee helped reduce the general “malaise” associated with colds. 46 people with colds were given either caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or fruit juice. The study participants who had caffeinated coffee reported increased alertness and performance that was the same as a group of non-sick subjects. (The sick participants who had decaf coffee also saw improvement). “The caffeine from coffee can actually help offset that sluggish feeling and boost your mood,” says Kroplin. And that’s especially beneficial if you just can’t take a sick day from work.

4/4
Is it ok to drink coffee when you're sick?
Photo: Stocksy/Lyuba Burakova

The verdict

Bottom line? If you’re a regular coffee drinker, there’s no need to skip your usual java—and deal with all the additional symptoms that would bring—just because you’re sick. “If a warm, comforting cup of joe sounds good, have one,” says Kroplin.

She does recommend sticking to less than two cups per day, and if you’re really concerned, try switching to half-caf or decaf. To avoid disrupting your sleep, try not to have it late in the afternoon, and make sure you’re hydrating throughout the day with other drinks, too—Kroplin recommends jumpstarting your morning with a big glass of water pre-coffee, and you can also sip on herbal teas or broth.

“In moderation, coupled with other hydrating beverages like water, coffee stands to actually help the body heal both physically and emotionally,” says Kroplin. Because sometimes, a hot cup of comfort is just what the doctor ordered.

Reduce your odds of getting sick in the first place with this immunity-boosting soup. Too late? Here’s how to rid your house of germs once you feel better. 

Loading More Posts...

You May Also Like

Chopped romaine lettuce hosts e. coli outbreak

Everything you need to know about the E. coli outbreak on romaine lettuce

Trader Joe's might stock cauliflower gnocchi

Cauliflower connoisseurs: Trader Joe’s might soon answer your low-carb, Italian-cuisine dreams

cauliflower grilled cheese

This cauliflower crust grilled cheese is next-level comfort food

anthony bourdain talks vegan burgers

Why Anthony Bourdain isn’t sold on the Impossible Burger

cbd drink

How to make a super simple CBD drink

The beginner's guide to composting

The beginner’s guide to composting—no matter the size of your space