Is drinking coffee every day harmful to your lungs?

I drank 3-4 cups of coffee a day for many years. Recently, I have a dry cough, is it because I drink a lot of caffeine? (Duong, 45 years old)


Drinking coffee in the morning helps the lungs possibly because caffeine contains polyphenols that have good anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

A 2020 Korean study posted on PubMed found that caffeine has similar effects to bronchodilators to help make breathing easier, temporarily improving lung function for 2-4 hours after consumption. Researchers analyzed the beverage frequency of more than 3,140 people with asthma and 158,900 people without a history of asthma. The results showed that coffee consumption reduced the frequency of asthma recurrence, with a more positive effect in the male group.

However, coffee is not a cure. Improper use of drinks causes harm to the respiratory system. Coughing occurs because caffeine dries the mouth. Some people with allergies may experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and hives after use.

Drinking a cup of coffee in the morning is beneficial for the lungs. But if you consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine (about 4 cups) a day it can cause side effects such as restlessness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and dehydration. Caffeine easily increases respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure.

Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should consult their doctor before using coffee. This drink makes the heart beat faster, so people with heart disease should limit its use.

Coffee also causes dry mouth, partly because the caffeine content causes mild dehydration and reduces salivation. Drinks that stay in the mouth for a long time cause bad breath.

If you need to have lung function tests, avoid drinking coffee at least 4 hours before. Because caffeine temporarily improves lung function, it may distort the results.

Should I drink hot or cold coffee?
Drinking hot coffee warms the throat, while drinking cold coffee is good for refreshing but can easily damage the respiratory mucosa, causing coughing.

Master, Doctor Dang Thanh Do, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi, said many people like to drink cold coffee, especially in the summer because they are thirsty. However, ice can easily cause the respiratory mucosa to shrink or swell or become congested, creating opportunities for viruses and bacteria to attack.

Hot brewed coffee has higher levels of antioxidants, which help prevent or slow down cell damage compared to cold coffee. Hot drinks warm the throat and increase blood circulation.

Doctor Do cited American research showing that the average ideal coffee drinking temperature is 60 degrees Celsius, which can be higher or lower than 8.3 degrees Celsius. The temperature level ensures the deliciousness of the drink.

Drinking hot coffee is better than drinking cold coffee. Photo: Freepik

Healthy adults should not drink more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, equivalent to 4 cups of filter coffee. Teens should not consume more than 100 mg of caffeine per day. Consuming a lot of caffeine can cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased palpitations, leading to difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, and short breathing.

Nutritionist Tran Pham Thuy Hoa, Department of Nutrition, said that to make the most of the benefits of coffee, when brewing, you should limit sugar, condensed milk or cream. Mixing with too much sugar, condensed milk or cream will stimulate insulin cells in the pancreas. High levels of glucose (sugar) and fat increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.

The best time to drink coffee is mid to late morning. At this time, the hormone cortisol in the body is low, caffeine will increase cortisol levels, helping to stay alert and focused. People wake up around 6:30 a.m., the ideal time to drink is from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

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