Healthy Living

Why Does Food Make Me Cough: All The Reasons

It’s normal to cough if you have a cold. However, you should not be coughing every time you eat. There are some health conditions associated with difficulty swallowing, these symptoms should be spoken to a doctor. 

But, this is not the only reason. In fact, if you find yourself coughing often at dinner time, it is time to reevaluate your diet. You may have just discovered that you have an intolerance. 

It could be many things though, I won’t speculate, instead, I will walk you through this journey and give you the lowdown on what it is that may be making you cough and when you should see a doctor! 

Why Does Food Make Me Cough: All The Reasons

The Reason You May Be Coughing After Eating

There are all too many reasons why you might find yourself coughing after eating. It could happen with every meal, or it might be once in a blue moon. 

Of course, there is the obvious possible reason, which would be a food allergy. This is usually easy to discover, as a food allergy will typically have you only coughing after you eat a certain food. 

If you cough when you only eat nuts or dairy, then it’s likely an allergy or intolerance. 

However, it could also be other health conditions, acid reflux, which I, myself, get all too often. Asthma, and dysphagia. 

Acid reflux happens when your stomach lining doesn’t do its normal job, and some of the acid from your stomach comes up your esophagus. You will know it is this because your throat will also be burning! 

Asthma can be random for some sufferers, and you might just go into a coughing fit because of a bit of pastry, or fine powder on your food. 

Dysphagia is difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia is also often found in patients who have stomach ulcers. If you find eating makes you cough, or even sick, dysphagia is the likely cause, you should visit your doctor about this as soon as possible! 

Coughing Mucus After Eating

Why Does Food Make Me Cough: All The Reasons

If you’re coughing up mucus, this could be an allergy that is triggering phlegm. Dairy allergies are often typical of doing this in those with an intolerance. 

As a result of your allergy or intolerance, your body up the phlegm production, which will likely make you cough. 

Coughing Mucus After Eating Spicy Food

However, if you only cough up mucus after eating spicy things, then it is likely acid reflux. Capsaicin naturally loosens your mucus which will usually make you cough, however, paired up with the painful acid, your throat will get too irritated. 

Can Dairy Intolerance Cause A Cough?

Dairy intolerances can 100% cause a cough, dairy is known for increasing phlegm in those who are intolerant or allergic. Excess mucus will make you cough, and it drips down your throat (post-nasal drip), as it irritates the lining of your throat. 

Why Do I Cough After I Eat Dairy?

If you find yourself coughing after eating dairy, you should cut down on the dairy, as it likely means you are intolerant. If it happens only rarely, it might not be the dairy, though. 

Why Do I Have To Clear My Throat After Eating Dairy?

Needing to clear your throat is typical of post-nasal drip sufferers. This is when mucus drips from your sinuses down the back of your throat, irritating your throat, which can happen as a reaction to eating dairy. 

Just the same as getting a cough after eating dairy, it means you have an allergy or intolerance. So, it’s best to cut back. 

Why Does Salty Food Make Me Cough?

Salt is known for drying things out. If you are eating too much salt, you may be drying out your mouth and throat which could lead to a cough. However, it may also be irritating the lining of your throat as well. 

Note that too much salt is bad for you anyway, so watch your intake. 

Why Does Sugary Food Make Me Cough?


While it is not likely you are allergic to sugar, having too much sugar can cause allergy-like symptoms. It will irritate the throat and trigger a coughing reflex if you ingest too much. 

Sugar is also a dry substance, so it will dehydrate you as well… leading to coughing. 

What Are The Common Causes Of Coughing After Eating?

The most common causes of a cough are allergies, acid reflux, asthma, and trouble swallowing. This does not mean that any of these are the case for you, though. Your diet alone could be an issue. 

If you eat a lot of foods with a high salt or sugar content, you could be triggering a cough reflex in your own body simply due to the foods you eat. High fat, sugar, and salt foods will have an effect on your whole body if they take up a large part of your diet. 

These effects can lead to symptoms such as coughing, excess mucus production, and so on. 

What Causes Coughing After A Meal?

Many things can cause a cough after a meal, from allergies to acid reflux. However, if this is the first time it has happened, look at your diet, and consider if you’ve eaten anything new. Also, do not always jump to the conclusion that it’s the food. 

There is always a chance that you’re just coming down with the common cold if it is a one-off! 

Coughing After Drinking Liquids

If you get a cough after drinking, look at the drink. Some alcoholic beverages can trigger acid reflux: wines high in tannins, beers, and so on. 

However, you may have just swallowed a drop the wrong way. It could also be dysphagia. 

However, if you find yourself coughing after eating or drinking cold things, you may have just shocked your system! 

Dietary Changes To Prevent Coughing After Eating


If you get a cough one-off, it should not be of concern, however, if it is recurring you should start considering changing your diet. Look over what you eat and see if anything appears to be triggering it. 

If it continues, a trip to the doctor is warranted! 

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I am the owner of Vegevega, and I am passionate about everything wellness and veganism. I have been in the wellness and veganism space for over 4 years now. It's my purpose to provide helpful guides to all my readers.

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