Today’s blog entry is written by Yinova Acupuncturist and Clinical Herbalist, Liz Carlson.
Preparing for baby often means making changes in your everyday life- some easier than others. Let’s face it: adding a prenatal vitamin or staying mindful of eating healthy, unsaturated fats are relatively simple tasks compared to letting go of your beloved daily cup (or three) of that rich, dark and ever so addicting…coffee. There is plenty of evidence that drinking coffee can reduce your fertility and heavy coffee consumption can be particularly damaging. This study found that women who drink four 8oz cups of coffee a day reduce their fertility by 26%. At The Yinova Center we ask women who are trying to conceive to reduce their coffee intake but we are only too aware that this can be difficult even for the most disciplined.
Like any drug, caffeine is addictive so when your body shows signs of physical withdrawal such as headaches and irritability, your will power can take a back seat. Our bodies respond best to kindness, so rather than quit cold turkey, it is better for most to ween and here are a few tips how:
- As you cut back, try black tea instead. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California in Oakland found that women who drink tea, even caffeinated black tea, have increased fertility. All tea comes from one plant and it is the processing of the leaves that give us the variety of types. Black tea is simply the matured leaf that is more oxidized and therefore has developed chemical properties that yield higher caffeine content. Although the content is highest amongst all the teas, it is much less than coffee and therefore is a great place to start as you cut back. Add some milk, honey or even some spices and there you have a treat that rivals the creamy and rich characteristics of your old cup of joe.
- Go green. Not only does green tea contain even less caffeine (about 1/3 of the amount) but it also boasts numerous health benefits. Green tea is rich in anti-oxidants, that keep you beautiful inside and out
- Herbal tea is worth a shot. There are some herbal teas that mirror the characteristics of black tea and some even mimic coffee. Barley tea, also known as Kukicha, if steeped long enough, leaves behind a dark and substance that again can be dressed up with all the fix-ins. Have fun with tea. For exciting and exotic choices of all varieties, I love to visit McNulty’s Rare Tea and Coffee on Christopher Street.
- Take a break. Often times we are as in love with the ritual of getting coffee as we are with drinking it. It’s a such a relief to get up from your desk, go outside for some fresh air and waltz on over to your favorite coffee shop. This is not something that you have to give up! Take a break. Go get some tea, some water or nothing at all but continue to give yourself the permission to “take a coffee break” sans coffee. You will find that after the initial withdrawal of caffeine, this is just as satisfying as often it’s not just the caffeine your body was craving but a much needed escape from sitting in front of the computer.
- Get some acupuncture. When you come in for acupuncture, let your practicioner know about any side effects you are feeling from caffeine withdrawal. Acupuncture can help rid of headaches and many bothersome symptoms as well as encourage your body to detox more efficiently.