Let’s catch up for a coffee? Coffee after your training run or ride? Coffee, Cafe Latte, Espresso, cappuccino these are all terms that have become common with everyday living. For some women their coffee schedule might look like this: cappuccino to wake up to, espresso to keep you awake and cafe latte to end the day. However, we forget that caffeine is actually a drug – it may be legal but the effects on our body are widespread. Yes, women this could be affecting you in more ways than you think.
There are numerous ways which caffeine affects women’s body:
- Large amounts of caffeine can affect a woman’s hormones and indirectly lead to breast discomfort such as sore breasts just before menstruation.
- Caffeine is most commonly associated with breast cysts, however, this extends to women who are prone to ovarian cysts as well. Women with PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis and Fibrocystic breasts- caffeine is a guaranteed way to make more cysts. For everyone else with hormonal sensitivity, it might not cause cysts, but it will disrupt your system.
- Large amounts of caffeine boosts your production of stress hormones such as cortisol. The implication of high cortisol levels over a prolonged time can also cause lack of sex drive and, in women, periods can become irregular, less frequent or stop altogether (amenorrhoea).
- Coffee depletes magnesium and B vitamins. When our body lacks these two vitamins we, women experience a vast array of PMS symptoms (Depression, sore breasts, bloating, headaches, menstrual cramps, mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, angry, insomnia, the list goes on). What makes this depletion even worse is if you are on hormonal contraception (The pill, The Mirena, The patch, The injection or The Implanon) these products already deplete the body of all B vitamins and magnesium, so at the end of the day women are completely nutrient deficient in these vitamins and therefore are experiencing side effects that effect daily functioning.
- The acidity of coffee causes an imbalance in your gut flora and makes it harder for you to absorb the goodness of even the healthiest of diets.
So how do you reduce your coffee intake? Firstly, establish:
- Do you love the taste of your coffee?
- Do you drink it to wake up or stay awake?
If you love the taste of your coffee limit the amount to one cup of coffee a day – with no sugar and savour each and every sip. We still need to enjoy the small pleasures in life. Use your coffee break as your “time out” for the day where you enjoy the moment, smell the roses, take a break before returning to the madness of life. Oh p.s. the one cup of coffee doesn’t mean the biggest cup you can find! It means your normal everyday standard size.
If you drinking coffee because you simply cannot wake up or you are battling to stay awake. Then you need to look at your diet – are you eating enough? Are you eating enough good nutritious food, are you working too hard and not getting enough sleep? Or are you in over drive just battling to survive and are you heading for adrenal fatigue? If this is the reason for drinking coffee then this is the best time to STOP, take it easy and re-look at your life before your life stops you.