Why Does Coffee Make Me Nauseous?

Why Does Coffee Make Me Nauseous?

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We all love starting our day with a cup of strong coffee. However, at times coffee might make us sick and cause nausea and stomach pain. You probably wonder why this happens.

Coffee makes you nauseous because it is acidic and can increase the acid level in your stomach. The acid irritates the stomach lining and causes nausea, heartburn, and even vomiting. Coffee also makes you nauseous when you drink it on an empty stomach, use light-roast coffee, or if you are dehydrated.

Reasons Why Coffee Makes You Nauseous

The following reasons are why coffee makes a person nauseous.

Reason 1 – Acidity and Acid Reflux

Coffee contains acids, and so does your stomach. When you drink coffee, the level of acid within the stomach increases and causes stomach problems.

Caffeine (present in coffee) is a stimulator for the body. Just like it boosts our mood and makes us work faster, it also stimulates our digestive system. It boosts the digestive system which results in producing more stomach acid than is required.

Stimulating the stomach will create nausea because the acid interacts with your gastric acid and may irritate the stomach lining, resulting in heartburn or acid reflux. Note that acid reflux is not always caused by coffee. However, caffeine can amplify any discomfort or irritation that already exists.

Reason 2 – You Use Milk And Sweeteners

Another reason why coffee makes you feel nauseous is because of the milk and sweetener you are adding. Some people are lactose intolerant, and consuming the milk in coffee automatically leads to stomach discomfort and even nausea. Artificial sweeteners may also be the cause of sickness because they irritate your stomach. On the other hand, the use of faulty or expired milk may also result in a feeling of nausea.

Reason 3 – You Are Dehydrated

Dehydration is a major cause of nausea when you drink coffee. As per HealthLine, since coffee is a diuretic, it already removes water from your body. Therefore, drinking coffee while you are dehydrated can worsen the symptoms of nausea.

 Water is taken from the blood and into the digestive system when you take a diuretic, which can make you feel more nauseated. When the body is hydrated and is actively removing toxins from the body, drinking coffee will not cause any feeling of nausea. Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily, and coffee will never cause nausea for you again.

Reason 4 – You Are Drinking Coffee On An Empty Stomach

Sometimes, having coffee on an empty stomach can make you nauseous. When you consume a cup of joe on an empty belly, hydrochloric acid is released into your digestive tract. The acid messes with the acid that is already in the stomach and hinders the entire process.

This acidity can happen even if your stomach is full but the process is amplified in the mornings when your stomach is empty. Therefore, avoid drinking coffee first thing in the morning, as it can also easily raise cortisol levels and take a long time for the body to recover.

We recommend that you have a snack before drinking coffee. If you have a sandwich or some other food alongside coffee, it will not make you nauseous or give you discomfort.

A cup of coffee next to a muffin

Reason 5 – You Are Drinking Too Much Coffee During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and wondering why coffee makes you nauseous, you need to limit your caffeine. Coffee may make you more sensitive to nausea during pregnancy since it takes longer for it to leave your body than it would if you weren’t pregnant. Thus you end up feeling dizzy and nauseous.

Also, too much caffeine can have negative impacts on your baby as well! Caffeine travels through the placenta to your kid if you consume it while pregnant, which can be detrimental. Caffeine may even cause morning sickness because the odor is intense and easily provokes nausea.

Reason 6 – Type Of Coffee You Are Using

Nausea also depends on the type of coffee you are drinking. Light roast coffee is more acidic as compared to dark roast coffee. According to Healthline, the darker the roast, the lower the level of chlorogenic acid levels in coffee beans.

Dark roast coffee is heated for a longer time and hence is less acidic as most of the acidic compounds have deteriorated. Thus dark roast coffee is less likely to cause nausea and stomach discomfort.

Several brands also offer low-acid coffee brands, even if they are lightly roasted. However, as a general rule, remember that light roast coffee will make you nauseous. Espresso and espresso-based drinks will lower the chances of you getting nausea and stomach discomfort as they are brewed for a short period.

Light roast coffee.

Lattes and other milky espresso-based beverages will only make you nauseous if you are lactose intolerant or if you add too much sugar, but generally, they are less prone to cause nausea as compared to regular brewed coffee.

Try drinking cold brews instead of hot brews. Cold brew coffee is less acidic, so you can have them when you desperately need a caffeine boost but have already had your dose of hot coffee for the day. In fact, the longer you keep the coffee in cold water, the less acidic it will be! Therefore, let the coffee grounds brew in the water for at least 25 hours before drinking it to avoid nausea.

If you use too much Arabica coffee, that could make you nauseous as well because Arabica coffee is very acidic. According to research by the International Journal of Food Properties, Robusta coffee is less acidic as compared to Arabica coffee, so it is less likely to make you nauseous. The average pH of Arabica coffee was between 5.26 and 6.11, which makes it acidic. Therefore, Drink Robusta coffee instead of Arabica coffee. Better yet, make espresso out of them.

Comparison of Roast Types
Coffee TypeAcidity LevelCaffeine Amount
Light RoastMost acidicRetains the most caffeine
Medium roastModerately acidicRetains moderate levels of caffeine
Dark RoastLeast acidicVery low caffeine levels but a bitter taste

Reason 7 – You Are Grinding The Coffee Into Fine Powder

Coffee can make you nauseous if you have ground it too finely. When coffee beans are ground to a fine powder, more acid is extracted into the brew, and hence the resulting coffee is more acidic. According to a scientific report in PubMed Central, coarse or thick grinds will give you a more basic (less acidic) drink and lower the chances of you getting nausea. Cold brews using a coarse grind had the lowest level of acidity as per this report.

Suggested Reading – How to Make Turkish Coffee at Home?

What To Do When You Feel Nauseous After Drinking Coffee?

Getting through the day is impossible when you have nausea. Luckily, there are a few ways you can counteract the effect of nausea from coffee. Follow the tips below to feel better again.

  1. Try exercising to refresh yourself. Yoga and exercise are excellent ways to stimulate your body and get rid of nausea.
  2. Drink plenty of water. The water will flush toxins and the coffee from your body to get rid of that nauseous feeling.
  3. Try breathing exercises to give your body oxygen.
  4. Drink milkshakes or smoothies to restore electrolytes in your body. You can even get specialized drinks for restoring electrolyte levels in your body and hence saying goodbye to nausea.
  5. You can even make yourself some herbal tea or green tea and get some rest. The tea will relax your body and help flush the caffeine from your body.
  6. Eat plenty of fruits.


Now that you know the effects your coffee type has on your body, you can take the necessary precautions and drink coffee without feeling nauseous. Remember that you need to take care of your body alongside drinking your daily dose of coffee to enjoy it properly. If your stomach is particularly sensitive toward coffee, then make sure you read the labels of every coffee you buy and check the right type (coarse grind and low acidity). We hope this was helpful.

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