Is Green Tea Good for Kids? True or False?
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Japanese green tea has been providing a variety of health benefits to the Japanese, and it is one of the reasons why the Japanese people live longer and are healthier compared to the rest of the world.
If you have children, it’s best to minimize their consumption of Japanese green tea. But that does not mean that they should not drink it.
Here are some of the benefits green tea can have on your children’s health:
Tooth decay is one of the most common health problems that affect children. Drinking Japanese green tea can help reduce the risk of cavities in children, and it can also help with bad breath. Research shows that the phytonutrient catechins found in Japanese green tea can protect your child’s teeth and gums against the bacteria that causes cavities. The sulfur contained in green tea prevents bad breath. However, it is important to keep consumption low. One cup per day is enough (1 mug cup of 8 oz, or 236 ml). Too much green tea can result in discoloration of the teeth. So make sure green tea is drunk in moderation.
Read my other article on why Japanese green tea is good for teeth.
Prevent the Flu in Children
Japanese green tea is rich in catechins. These catechins have antiviral properties that can fight both the flu and the common cold in children.
Research that was published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2011 showed that children who drank green tea on a daily basis had fewer cases of flu infections as compared to those who didn’t. The research was conducted on a group of elementary school children in Japan.
Catechins prevent the influenza virus from attaching itself to cells in the body. They also prevent the multiplication of the virus in the body. This clearly shows that drinking Japanese green tea can help prevent or fight the flu in children. But drinking too much doesn’t add additional protection.
It is Good for the Heart
Most people think that heart complications only affect adults. What they forget is that plaque buildup in the arteries begins in childhood and worsens in adulthood. So taking the necessary steps to prevent the buildup of plaque and improve the health of your child’s heart will go a long way in preventing heart diseases and complications when they grow up. Research carried out and published in ‘Obesity’ showed that there was a significant decrease in blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels in children who drank Japanese green tea on a regular basis.
Fights Childhood Obesity
Obesity is one of the most common health problems that affects many children in developed countries today. Research done by the World Health Organization in 2013 showed that 42 million children aged between 0-5 years in the world were either obese or overweight. The study emphasized that this number is expected to rise to over 70 million by 2025. Japanese green tea increases the metabolism rate in children and helps the body burn more calories. This enhances weight loss and can prevent obesity in children.
Japanese green tea contains L-Theanine, which is an active ingredient that helps reduce stress while also improving concentration and memory. Green tea also contains polyphenols, a chemical compound that widens the blood vessels in the body and enhances blood flow to the brain. This means your child will have a nourished and healthy brain. It is, however, essential to point out that Japanese green tea can worsen hyperactivity in children who suffer from it, so make sure your kid is safe to drink it.
It’s Good for Your Child’s Skin and Hair
If you want your child to have beautiful skin and thick, strong hair, you should consider giving him or her Japanese green tea on a regular basis. Apart from having antioxidant properties that will help fight the formation of dandruff, green tea contains EGCG, a compound that can help make the hair thicker, stronger, and healthier. Additionally, green tea contains polyphenols, which help stimulate hair growth. This means that if you want to improve your child’s skin and hair health, make sure green tea is included in his or her diet.
Boosts Immune System
Apart from preventing influenza, Japanese green tea also boosts the immune system in children. Green tea is rich in antioxidants that prevent childhood-related diseases. It prevents skin rush by keeping the skin healthy, enhances the formation of strong and healthy bones, and above all, enables the kids to grow healthy. In other words, giving your child Japanese green tea every morning in moderation will enable them to grow healthy, and it might prevent frequent doctor’s visits.
Caffeine Tolerance for Kids
Japanese green tea, especially low-caffeine tea from the Japanese Green Tea Company, has low doses of caffeine in it and is generally safe for kids to drink as long as they follow the general guidelines for the amount.
It is commonly recommended that kids 4-6 years old have a maximum intake of 45 mg of caffeine a day, which is about a single weak cup of green tea (1 mug cup of 8 oz or 236 ml).
After 10–12 years old, it does not hurt to let them have a cup or even more (1 mug cup of 8 oz or 236 ml).
You should, however, always monitor how your kids react to any caffeinated drinks. Research has shown that drinking too much caffeine can make some nervous disorders worse. Caffeine is also a diuretic that causes the body to eliminate water, which can lead to dehydration if consumed in excess. It was also once thought that caffeine hurt growth, but scientific research was never able to conclude this statement.
If your kid experiences irritability, hyperactivity, insomnia, or an inability to concentrate after drinking Japanese green tea, it is an indication that your child has either consumed too much caffeine or has a caffeine sensitivity, and you should stop giving it to him or her.
Make sure you introduce Japanese green tea slowly to your kid’s diet. Watch how they react to it and gradually up the dosage. It’s best to start with a mild brew and see how your kid reacts to it.
Read my other article about everything you need to know about caffeine.
In conclusion, Japanese green tea is beneficial to children and should be a part of any balanced diet. Just make sure you let your kids consume it in moderation.
Buy Tea with Less Caffeine (Good for kids)
There are teas with less caffeine that are recommended for kids. Hojicha is one of them.
This article is written by Kei Nishida and was first published in Woman's Daily Magazine (January 2017).
This post about Is Green Tea Good for Kids was first published in 2021. We added the audio of this blog in 2022 just for you.