Coffee, Caffeine, Women and Health

As an empowered 70 year old woman, born, raised, and living in North America, I feel I have some valuable things to say about coffee, caffeine, women and health. 

I have had my share of medical experiences that required visits to a doctor and sometimes even hospitalization.  I decided early in my career as a teacher and a researcher, that I wanted to be healthy.  I soon learned that the only way that would be possible was to take charge of my health. 

healthy food snacks

No matter what the issue was, I asked lots of questions and read lots of books.  I have been married for 50 years and have two grown children and three grand children.  Staying healthy and knowing the facts about food was, and still is, very important to me.  The internet has made my research much easier, so I tend to read a lot more.  Thank heavens, I have no signs of dementia and I can afford a computer.  

I should begin by saying that almost 40 years ago, I experienced a near death experience with one of my children.  That seemed to be the beginning of significant stress in my life, and I became very aware of what stress can do to the female human body.

After many weeks in a very large hospital, I was told that I have a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome.  An Indian doctor told me to pay close attention to what I consumed for the rest of my life. 

He suggested no caffeine, no alcohol, no trans fats and other foods that were not good for me.  Chocolate was one of my favorite foods and it has caffeine in it.  I use to have the odd cup of coffee with friends, but coffee was never part of my daily menu.  Alcohol was only opened at holiday times. My mother taught me to include a sugary fatty dessert with every meal. 

What I put in my body wasn’t that difficult over the years because I inherited determination and self control from my father.  I do eat the odd dessert, but I only drink water and I stick closely to the most recent research on health, particularly around food, exercise and stress. 

Coffee Benefits For Women

women drinking coffee

My husband and my two grown children and my grand children are not me.  They all include coffee into their daily routines in spite of what I tell them.  My husband is the first to say that coffee’s health benefits out weigh coffee’s bad points.  As a result, I have researched the pros and cons of coffee in our society extensively, and especially how coffee affects women.

A single cup of coffee contains Riboflavin (vitamin B2), manganese and potassium, and magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3) and much more.  All of these vitamins/minerals are important to a healthy female.  Not only does coffee contain caffeine, but it contains other compounds such as antioxidants and diterpenes.  

Let me share a little information about these 3 important compounds found in coffee.

Caffeine

caffeineCaffeine stimulates the central nervous system.  We are all unique so how much stimulation depends on each person’s “makeup”. 

There are approximately 80 -100 mg of caffeine in an average size cup of coffee. 

There is so much research out there today on what caffeine does to the human body, that it is difficult to understand the findings.  One study seems to contradict another.  There is one article on this site you can check out called “Caffeine – Know Your Limit”.

I have concluded that people are so different in terms of their food, stress, exercise, genetics and other factors they might indulge in such as alcohol and smoking, that we must research as much as possible and then live by generalities.  

Here are some generalities about caffeine …

  1.  There is a lot of caffeine in coffee.
  2. Not even a little taste of coffee is good for some people while no matter how much coffee another person drinks, nothing happens.
  3. Caffeine acts as a diuretic for some people.
  4. Our world is very dependent on the coffee industry so lots of so called “experts” will say that coffee is good for you.  It might very well be true, but I believe that their are many factors to take into account before you can believe that it might keep cancer away.

I found it very interesting when I read somewhere that …”The actual caffeine content of the same coffee drink can vary from day to day, from cafe to cafe, and even within the same coffee shop.  Roasting, grinding, and brewing time, affect the caffeine levels.”

how-antioxidants-works

Antioxidants is another compound found in coffee.   They are molecules that stop oxidation of the “bad” molecules entering your body. 

I might not drink coffee but I do take an antioxidant capsule every morning.  This was recommended by my nutritionist years ago.  Two antioxidants in coffee are chlorogenic acid and melanoidins and they both deactivate unwanted oxidants, at least I am counting on them to do their job.  I believe that what you add to your coffee and how your coffee was brewed makes a difference in whether or not it is good for your health.

Diterpenes are a substance that has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.  That’s what they tell me anyway and I have learned I don’t want bacteria, viruses, and fungus in my life. 

Coffee beans have diterpenes in their oil.  Sounds good to me.  Maybe some day I will drink a couple of cups of espresso coffee per day.  I read somewhere that the caffeine level in espresso coffee is lower than in the drip coffee.  I also read somewhere that less than 4 cups of coffee per day is great for your health, but more than that can be bad news.  Coffee filters can affect the level of diterpenes in your coffee as well.

3.  Diterpenes (substance having antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and expectorant properties)

Researchers have studied the effects of coffee on women’s health, because women tend to be more sensitive to caffeine than men, and women take longer to detoxify caffeine out of their systems.  I came across some information that might suggest that women should stay away from coffee altogether.

Effects Of Coffee On Women’s Health

drinking french press coffee

1.  Women of childbearing age experience at least some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as breast swelling and tenderness, bloating and weight gain, and abdominal cramps and headaches with more than usual nervous irritability.  I concur with those findings because I experienced them all at one time or another before the age of 40 and I wasn’t drinking coffee but I did sneak the odd chocolate bar.  Maybe if you are still under 40 and are experiencing any of those PMS symptoms, try eliminating caffeine from your diet.

2.  The Centers for Disease Control claim that nearly ten million women are using infertility services to increase their chances of becoming pregnant.  They tell women not to use caffeine because their studies show that caffeine has adverse affects on a women’s fertility.  They go on to say that women who consume caffeine during pregnancy have smaller babies.  That would be enough for me to give caffeine up for ever.  Maybe if you drink coffee while pregnant, you might have caffeine in your breast milk.

3.  I also came across studies that show that women in the post childbearing years can reduce their hot flashes, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, and osteoporosis, by eliminating caffeine from their diet.

As I said earlier, there are always two sides to every story.  Researchers appear to have proven that caffeine will stave off dementia as women get older.  The benefits seem to intensify with age.  I am looking forward to another 30 years of being able to search the internet for all kinds of ways to keep me alive longer.  I might just have to start drinking 4 cups of coffee a day.

I would like to end my personal account of the last 70 years with some general statements the “so called” authorities have said about coffee, caffeine, women, and health.  I wish you all the best of luck in your own personal journey. 

Make sure you get your information on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle from reputable healthcare practitioners, such as dietitians, nutritionists, and doctors.

And Don’t Forget!

women and coffee

  • Coffee Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter
  • Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat
  • Caffeine Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance
  • There Are Essential Nutrients in Coffee
  • Coffee May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes
  • Coffee May Protect You From Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
  • Caffeine May Lower The Risk of Parkinson’s
  • Coffee Appears to Have Protective Effects on The Liver
  • Coffee Can Fight Depression and Make You Happier
  • Coffee Drinkers Have a Lower Risk of Some Types of Cancer

References:

Website Name:  coffee&health
Article Name:  Compounds in Coffee
Url:  http://coffeeandhealth.org/all-about-coffee/compounds-in-coffee/

Website Name: REUTERS
Article Name:  Coffee linked with lower depression rate in women
Url:  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-coffee-depression-idUSTRE78Q3GK20110927
Date:  Sept. 27, 2011

Website Name: SCIENCELINE The Shortest Distance Between You and Science
Article Name:  Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health
Url:  http://scienceline.org/2008/06/ask-stern-coffee/
Date:  June 9, 2008

Website Name:  coffee&health from the institute for scientific information on coffee
Article Name:  ROUNDTABLE REPORT The Good Things in Life: coffee as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle
Url:  http://coffeeandhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Roundtable-report_Coffee-as-part-of-a-healthy-diet.pdf
Date:  November 2016

dave
 

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