Whether you have been trying to conceive for years or are just now considering preconception care, then you probably want to do everything you can to conceive quickly and maximize the health of your fetus. Your morning cup of coffee can be exceptionally difficult to give up, however. Of all the vices people have, coffee is often considered one of the more benign. So is it really necessary to give it up if you are trying to conceive?
The coffee/fertility studies appear to be mixed. One study done in 2003 showed women who consumed less than 300 mg of caffeine a day (appx 2-3 cups of coffee) a day did not experience reduced fertility. Another study showed that women who drank 300 mg or more a day did take somewhat longer to conceive. Yet another study of over 1000 women in CT found the risk of not conceiving to go up with each additional cup of coffee, where even one cup reduced a woman’s ability to conceive.
The results are mixed for men as well. One study showed that sperm count, motility and abnormalities increased with the number of cups of coffee drank in a day – while another Brazilian study showed increased motility for mild to heavy coffee drinkers.
Is it the coffee? Is it the caffeine? Is it the tannic acid in coffee and black tea? Is it really hurting or is it sometimes helping? Here’s a thought. It is quite likely not the coffee but the chemicals that the coffee is swimming in, that may have a detrimental impact on fertility. Decaffeinated coffee has even more chemicals and you should only drink organic decaf (if you can find it) whether you are trying to conceive or not. One study showed that drinking three cups of decaf a day was increased a woman’s risk of spontaneous abortion.
You have a couple of options if you want to give up the chemicals but not the brew. In addition to buying coffee that isn’t loaded with chemicals, try to make your coffee without paper filters as they are also loaded with chemicals. Three ways to drink a healthier brew according to coffeereview.com are:
1. Buy a traditional coffee, grown as coffee was grown from its inception, before agricultural chemicals were invented. All Yemen, almost all Ethiopia, and most Sumatra Mandheling coffees are grown in such a state of innocence, and all are among the world’s finest.
2. Buy a certified organic coffee. Certified organic coffees are coffees whose growing conditions and processing have been thoroughly monitored by independent agencies and found to be free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals. The monitoring agencies visit the farm and verify that no chemicals have been used on the farm for several years, and then follow every step of the processing, preparing, transporting, storage, and roasting. Such careful monitoring is of course expensive, which is one reason certified organic coffees cost more than similar uncertified coffees. Many such certified organic coffees are the product of socially and environmentally progressive cooperatives.
3. Buy a coffee labeled “sustainable.” At this writing sustainable is a rather loose term meaning that, in the view of the importer or roaster, designated farmers are doing everything within reason to avoid the use of agricultural chemicals and to pursue enlightened environmental and socially progressive practices in the growing and processing of their coffees.
Another possible healthier option is to drink green tea for your caffeine fix. A study done by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, California showed that women who drank at least 1/2 cup of green tea containing caffeine a day had twice the conception rates. This is an often quoted study but the results are inconclusive with the results possibly linked to the fact that green tea drinkers sometimes live a healthier lifestyle. We will probably never see a large study completed on the possible correlation between fertility and tea consumption because tea cannot be patented so there are no huge profits to be made from such a study.
What we do know however is that our reproductive system does not exist in a vacuum. The systems of our bodies are all connected and affect one another. Just because our reproductive system can be pinpointed in an anatomy book does not mean that other diseases, disorders or conditions will not have a contributing effect on infertility.
The benefits of drinking green tea are well publicized and is almost integral to any wellness program. Perhaps switching out your traditional coffee for something that can reduce cancer, arthritis, infection, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, food poisoning, diabetes and stress hormones and can improve your cholesterol levels, immune function, metabolism and mental alertness could also give your fertility a boost by association.
Do not hinge your hopes of conceiving on switching from coffee to organic coffee or tea. It can’t hurt and it will probably improve your state of mind and overall wellness which certainly cannot hurt. As a woman in my late 30s, I can guarantee you that if the day comes that I am going to try for another one, I will absolutely substitute green tea for coffee at least three months before I start to try and hopefully it is a habit I can keep up for life.
Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/ahmedrabea/274197870/