A woman faces unique considerations when it comes to her own health and well-being related to a variety of factors, including but not limited to hormonal fluctuations, breast health, pregnancy, and menopause. Because of these, coffee and caffeine may affect her differently, in ways that might not be initially obvious.
Current research reveals a number of controversial issues related to coffee and caffeine metabolism in women, the effects of which vary based on a person’s sensitivity and genealogy.
Some of the effects of coffee and caffeine consumption include:
• Increased risk of iron deficiency anemia related to reduced availability of iron,
• Increased premenstrual syndrome symptoms,
• Greater degrees of breast pain and fibrocystic breasts,
• Decreased fertility and ability to become pregnant
• Increased risk of osteoporosis.
For mothers-to-be, it is important to be aware that caffeine does cross the placental barrier and also becomes part of breast milk. It can affect both developing fetuses and breastfeeding infants because their livers are not mature enough to detoxify it efficiently. Reducing caffeine intake is highly recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding years.
Coffee and caffeine are also associated with hot flashes, interactions with birth control pills and hormone replacement. They affect digestive health, mineral absorption and increase stress hormones, which has implications throughout the body, including heart health, sleep quality and bone health. Women would do well to observe the effects of coffee and caffeine on their own bodies, thoughts, feelings and experiences when making dietary choices.