Is Green Tea Safe for Kids? – Age, Benefits & Side Effects of Green Tea in Kids

Green tea is a popular and globally consumed tea with proven health benefits. Then the question, ‘Is Green Tea Safe for Kids?’. Parents sometimes allow their kids to consume this tea believing it will offer them the same benefits adults get. Many forget to consider if this tea can be harmful to their kids.

Green tea just like many other consumables must be enjoyed in moderation. Its caffeine content can be unhealthy for children nonetheless, there are safe ways and safe amounts of this tea that children can take and enjoy.


What Is Green Tea?

Green tea which is made from the leaves of a special plan called Camellia Sinensis, has different contents that make up its composition, and they include 20% protein and enzymes, 4% amino acids, and about 7% carbohydrates. It also contains fiber and polyphenols of about 26% and 30% respectively.

Its nutritional benefits are due to its catechins composition. Green tea has the highest amount of dietary catechins. This tea is also very rich in antioxidants compared to other teas.


Green Tea Age Limit: At What Age Can a Child Drink Tea?

Children under the age of twelve should not be offered green tea. The age limit placed here is to protect your child’s health. Green tea contains a considerable amount of caffeine which is dangerous for your child’s health and can aggravate a range of health issues.

Children older than 12 should take a controlled size daily or weekly depending on their age.

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Can a 3-Year- Old Drink Green Tea?

No, a 3-year old should not drink green tea! As a parent, you should avoid given your kid green tea when they are much younger at the age of 3 year old.

It’s normal and quite common for toddlers to crave this tea simply because they see their caregivers drinking it. However, this is not enough reason to allow your 3-year-old to drink green tea.

Regardless of the caffeine content present and how small the tea was consumed, it’s likely to have a bad effect on your toddler’s health. So at this age and until 12, green tea should be out of your child’s diet and out of their reach.


Can a 9-Year-Old Drink Green Tea?

While it’s best to wait till after 12 before consuming green tea, your 9-year-old, 10-year-old, or 11-year-old can try this out since it offers benefits and is highly nutritional.

Although, it is necessary to watch your child’s reaction after drinking this tea. Remember, green tea contains caffeine and other components which may affect your child’s health.

For instance, your child may start suffering from hyperactivity, insomnia, and sleeping problems because their body is reacting to the caffeine. If you notice this, stop them from consuming this tea or reduce the quantity.


Can a 12-Year-Old Drink Green Tea?

12-year-olds can take controlled amounts of green tea. Guardians should look out for how the child’s body responds to the content of the tea. It may have been established that this tea is beneficial but if there are harmful effects like sleep disruption and allergies, this tea should be avoided.

Sleep is very vital to a child’s growth and development. Moreover, green tea is not one of the medically recommended teas for pre-teenagers. So, consumption should be monitored and amounts consumed should be controlled.


Can a 15-Year- Old Drink Green Tea?

15-year-olds can drink green tea so long as they do not get any allergies or health effects from Its consumption. Although, regular intake may not be encouraged especially if the teenager is looking to add healthy weight.

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Benefits of Green Tea for Kids

There are various benefits that comes with drinking green tea for kids. These benefits are the same for adults and children.

1. Rich in Antioxidant

Antioxidants are properties that protect cells and tissues from the action of free radicals. The activities of these free radicals have been linked with cancer. The presence of antioxidants helps in ensuring the cells are protected from harm by free radicals. So, green tea helps in preventing cancer.

2. Gives a Fresh Breath

Bad breath or mouth odor is a problem experienced by many people. This often takes a toll on a person’s confidence. Bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in the mouth. The catechins composition of green tea kills these bacteria thereby reducing the microbial load and hence giving a fresh breath. It also helps in preventing cavity problems.

3. Weight Loss

Green tea does not magically get rid of your calories. In fact, it increases the metabolism which could make you eat more. However, it helps with fat reduction by burning fat cells.

4. Reduces the Risk of a Neurodegenerative Disease

Neurodegenerative diseases are diseases that are associated with aging and cognitive decline. Studies and surveys have shown that people who drink green tea consistently have a lower risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. While those who did not drink green tea were at a higher risk of developing the disease.

5. Green Tea Increases Your Lifespan

It’s still unclear why people who drink green tea outlive those who do not drink green tea. Some theories claim the antioxidant content of green tea is responsible for this by the action of protecting the cells from free existing radicals. While science tries to get to the root of this lived age gap, you can join the Japanese people in making this tea an integral part of your diet and routine.

Globally, Japanese men and women live longer than their counterparts in other countries.

6. Prevents Flu and Common Colds

People who live in really cold regions may want to encourage their children to consume more of this. A study conducted in 2011 showed that children who drank green tea regularly had reduced chances of coming down with flu and common colds compared to children who did not drink green tea.

This happens because green tea is rich in catechins whose antiviral properties prevent the influenza virus, responsible for the flu, from attaching to the cells. It also prevents replication and multiplication of the virus after attachment to a receptor site.

7. Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

Children can have heart diseases just like adults and green tea consumption helps in preventing the occurrence of heart disease. Children who consumed green tea daily were reported to have low cholesterol levels and blood pressure.


Side Effects of Green Tea For a Child

Green tea, though beneficial, also has a lot of side effects for kids. Some of these side-effects to watch out for include:

1. Hyperactivity

Green tea is meant to keep the body energized and active. The caffeine content in green tea is partly responsible for this function. Children’s bodies are very sensitive to caffeine and so when the acceptable caffeine levels are exceeded, the child may be hyperactive and find it difficult to stay calm or concentrate.

2. Headaches and Sleep Problems

Adult consumers of green tea suffer from headaches and sleep problems like insomnia which is caused by caffeine. Children consumers are not spared either. Some children develop mild to severe headaches after consistently drinking green tea. In addition, they find it difficult to sleep at night.

3. Vomiting, Diarrhea, Heartburn, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Green tea helps with digestion and sometimes this is taken a little too far. Children may end up suffering from digestion problems like heartburn due to acidity, vomiting, and diarrhea. This Is very difficult to deal with especially if the child had been suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. The consumption of green tea worsens this problem.

4. Anemia

This may be a little unexpected but the consumption of green tea predisposes a child to develop anemia. The content of green tea inhibits the body’s ability to absorb iron from food. When this occurs, an iron deficiency will arise which could manifest as generalized tiredness and headaches and when it goes untreated could cause more problems.

5. Weakened Bones

Green tea makes the bones of growing children weak as the mineral needed for bone formation and strengthening is passed off as urine upon consumption of the tea.

6. Formation of Kidney Stones

Green tea contains a high amount of oxalic acid which can be dangerous in high concentrations and lead to the formation of kidney stones.

7. High Blood Pressure

The caffeine content in green tea is a little on the high side considering how the acceptable caffeine levels for children are low. High consumption of caffeine means that flavonoids are being absorbed into the blood in high amounts and this results in an increase in blood pressure.

8. Development of an Allergy

Some children are allergic to the contents of green tea. The effects of these allergic reactions can range from really mild to severe. Parents need to avoid giving kids green tea completely or offer it in controlled amounts. And attention should be paid to how the child’s body reacts to green tea consumption.

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Conclusion on: Is Green Tea Safe for Kids?

Green tea is of high nutritional value with a good number of health benefits for children. It is however not very child friendly as it contains caffeine which is not good or recommended for children. Parents should avoid giving children under 12 years of age this tea and for children over 12, it can be consumed minimally or in carefully measured quantities if it has no adverse effects on the body.