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Can You Drink Coffee When You Feel Sick?

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You can’t start the day without your morning coffee. But is it OK to drink coffee when you’re sick?

When a bug brings you down, your first instinct may be to grab a cup of joe to bring you back up to speed. Coffee has the caffeine to keep you going, but is it what your body needs to fight a cold? Registered dietitian, Ashley Reaver, MS, RD, CSSD explains that there are both pros and cons to drinking coffee while you’re sick.

Drinking Coffee When You’re Sick:

The Pros

“Coffee is high in antioxidants, which help to fight inflammation and bolster the immune system,” Reaver says. “A cup or two of coffee per day while you are sick can help to encourage your immune system while it's battling illness.” A study done by psychologists at the University of Bristol also found that the caffeine in coffee reduces the general grogginess associated with colds. Participants with colds reported after drinking coffee, that it increased their alertness and performance at the same level as it did the healthy group.

The Cons

Although coffee has its benefits, it can be kind of a buzzkill to your recovery if you’re not careful, though. Reaver continues to explain that although coffee has its benefits, you should stop drinking it six to eight hours before you go to bed. Rest is critical when recovering from an illness and the caffeine in coffee can negatively impact your ability to get the sleep you need, explains Reaver. Be sure if you’re drinking coffee that you’re also taking down lots of water, too, so you don’t run the risk of dehydration – another critical part to your recovery.

The Verdict

So, the verdict is yes, you can drink coffee even when you’re feeling under the weather. To help restore your system, pair your morning cup of java with a big glass of water and an over the counter cold and flu medication like Theraflu Multi-Symptom Severe Cold as needed for powerful relief. At night, switch to tea and a nighttime formulation such as Theraflu PowerPods Severe Cold Nighttime to help relieve your symptoms while you rest.