The “wake up jolt” that helps you “kick the bucket”

If, like me, the coffee pot is the first thing you reach for in the morning, you probably have not given a thought about what your drink is doing to your health. However, there is growing evidence that coffee can be seriously bad for your well being, particularly if you are trying for a baby or have a history of strokes.

When you are trying to conceive, it seems that everyone else in the world has a child except for you. Your doctor may have advised eating a healthy diet, cutting down or cutting out on alcohol and taking regular exercise. However, how many of them tell you to stop drinking coffee?

Coffee acts as a stimulant on the body, increasing adrenaline, raising heart rates and increasing blood pressure. All these are symptoms of stress, which is very harmful to women with fertility problems. A recent study found that drinking even a small cup of coffee a day reduces a women’s fertility by over 50%. Moreover, for those women susceptible to miscarrying, drinking two to three cups of coffee a day can double the risk of the unthinkable happening. So, if you looking to get pregnant, ditch the coffee and replace it with water or herbal teas.

Not only women who are at risk when it comes to drinking coffee. A recent study by university researchers in the Netherlands found that coffee was responsible for 10% of burst brain aneurysms that lead to people suffering a stroke. If you have a history of strokes or high blood pressure in the family, the advice always tends to include less alcohol, less smoking, ideally quit both, get regular exercise and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Under healthier lifestyle cut down or cut out your coffee intake.

Even for people who fall outside these areas, too much coffee is not good for your body. The natural stimulant in coffee means it is harder to fall asleep, which, if you are a student studying for exams is not a bad thing, but for the rest of the population can lead to long-term sleep problems. So next time the waiter offers you a coffee at the end of your meal, ask yourself if you want a good night’s sleep or not. If you do, consider that dreaded switch to de-caffeinated or try a nice cup of tea.

Coffee can also have a dehydrating effect on the body. It is a diuretic, meaning it absorbs water and moisture from your body leaving you with dry skin, and equally dry throat and can even lead to constipation. The worst thing you can do is reach for another cup of coffee. Experts recommend following each cup of coffee with at least one glass of water to replenish the water lost by your caffeine fix.

Other risks from drinking too much coffee include:

— Stomach pains: Coffee is acidic so, when drunk on an empty stomach, it can attack the stomach’s lining, leading to discomfort. You need to be especially careful about drinking coffee if you suffer from gastritis or ulcers as coffee can exacerbate these conditions. If you do need a coffee fix, avoid drinking on an empty stomach or take your coffee white. Milk and cream both coat the stomach wall, allowing the coffee to work its magic without its stomach cramp -like side effects.

— Higher cholesterol: A study by the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas found a potential link between coffee and high cholesterol. They discovered that some of the molecules found in coffee beans raise the level of some lipoproteins in the body, which in turn can lead to increased cholesterol.

As with most things, coffee drunk in moderation is good for you unless you have some pre existing medical condition. However, if you have one of the underlying conditions, then coffee is not only bad for your health; it could prove to be lethal. So, if you are still wide awake at three in the morning, or are desperate to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet, seriously think about cutting down your coffee intake or cutting out completely. Whichever one you do, your body will thank you for it.

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