Coffee and PCOS

If you know me, you know I looove coffee, love it, and so do many of my clients. But you may be wondering if you can enjoy that delicious cup of Joe in the morning when you have conditions like PCOS, endometriosis and infertility? The short answer is yes! Though, there are a few caveats. 

Benefits of Coffee for PCOS

Coffee may help improve insulin sensitivity! 

Research shows that caffeine can be helpful in keeping your hormones and metabolism in balance. Studies show that caffeine can help improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in habitual drinkers. As you probably know if you have PCOS, you often have more insulin resistance, so this is great right? 

Caffeine may help improve metabolic labs 

People with PCOS are often at higher risk for increased triglyceride, cholesterol, and testosterone levels, and studies have shown that caffeine may help lower these levels. It’s believed this is because of the high level of protective compounds like antioxidants found in coffee. That said, certain types of coffee like boiled coffee can actually increase cholesterol, so you may want to choose paper or cloth filtered coffee if cholesterol is a concern.

Coffee is anti-inflammatory 

Many studies show that there are anti-inflammatory effects of coffee. Moderate intake is associated with everything from longevity to better cognition, so enjoy in moderation! 

Drawbacks of Coffee for PCOS

Coffee may increase cortisol levels and affect sleep

Cortisol is a stress hormone that rises in the morning when you wake up, and increased levels can make PCOS symptoms worse. This is especially true if you have caffeine without food. Caffeine on an empty stomach is a guaranteed way to raise cortisol levels quickly and feel more anxious than energized. This also goes for drinking coffee later in the day. Depending on how you metabolize coffee, it can affect your sleep and also raise cortisol levels, so be mindful of your tolerance and timing. 

Large quantities of coffee may affect fertility

While 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day don’t have any effects on fertility (so, no, you don’t have to go cold turkey), larger quantities of ~500 mg or about 5 cups or more per day are associated with increased time to pregnancy and risk of miscarriage. 

What you put in your coffee matters! 

While there are many health benefits of coffee, what you put in it matters. If you’re having your coffee in the form of a Grande Caramel Macchiato with the added 30 g of sugar and additional saturated fat, it’s not going to carry the same benefit as a cup of black coffee or a soy latte. Be mindful of the package your coffee comes in.  

Tips and Takeaways for Drinking Coffee with PCOS

  1. Try to limit coffee to 4-5 cups per day or 32-40 ounces per day, less if you’re trying to conceive or are pregnant. Most people do well with 2-3 cups per day.
  2. Have it with food! Without it, you’ll end up feeling more stressed and a cup of coffee is never a replacement for meals.
  3. Practice listening to your body and taking notes on how caffeine affects your symptoms specifically. Every body is different and different amounts and times work for different people. 

Need more help with your PCOS diet? Want to tackle symptoms like fatigue, weight gain and hair loss? Book a free nutrition chat here to make a plan for your PCOS.

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