Children are curious by nature and often want to do the same things as the adults around them, from trying on their mothers’ and fathers’ clothes to tasting the food and drinks they drink. For example, there are drinks that adults are clear that we cannot give to the little ones, such as alcohol or a strong coffee, but there are others that make us doubt a lot, such as some teas and infusions. This is the case of green tea, a very popular drink throughout the world and with great health benefits.
Composition of green tea
First, in order to understand whether or not this hot and healthy drink for adults is really suitable for the little ones, it is necessary to know what it contains. These are the main components of green tea :
- Alkaloids: these are caffeine or theine and theobromine. Caffeine and theine are exactly the same substance, they are just called differently depending on whether they are in coffee or tea or other similar plants.
- Catechin polyphenols: epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin gallate. The polyphenol called pigalocatequina galata, is the most antioxidant and is the one that gives this property to green tea.
- Amino acids: such as theanine, valine, aspargine, arginine, glycine, lysine, leucine and histidine.
- pectins .
- Acids: such as ascorbic or vitamin C, nicotic or vitamin B, caffeic, malic, chlorogenic, phenylacetic, gallic, oxalic, cinnamic, salicylic, lauric and linoleic.
- Minerals: sulfur, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper and potassium.
- Flavonoids: rutin and quercetin.
- Carvacrol, geraniol, thymol .
Can children drink green tea?
Now that we have seen that this type of tea contains caffeine or theine, we can already think that for this reason children should NOT drink green tea. Although there are various medical opinions on the matter, the one that has more weight in the scientific community is that it is not a suitable drink for children because it is too exciting, altering the heart rate and causing other effects that are too strong for a child’s body. Children are more sensitive than adults to this highly stimulating alkaloid substance.
Among the side effects of green tea in children, or any other drink that contains theine or caffeine, are the following:
- Punctual hyperactivity.
- Headaches and migraines.
Of course, these effects will depend on the amount of green tea and the age of the child, and may be more or less serious.
Thus, it is for this reason that none of the beverages that contain caffeine, whether they are teas, coffees or soft drinks, are recommended for children. For example, in the case of hot beverages that contain theine or caffeine, this is the order from less quantity to more quantity of this component and, therefore, in order from least effect to greatest effect in this sense, taking 1 cup as a measure .
- Red tea : less than 1 mg.
- White tea : 1 mg.
- Green tea: between 8 and 16 mg, depending on the type of green tea.
- Oolong or blue tea: between 10 and 55 mg, depending on the type of blue tea it is.
- Black tea: from 25 to 100 mg, depending on which black tea we drink.
- Coffee: between 60 and 200 mg, depending on the type of coffee .
At what age can children drink tea?
Knowing that this drink is not recommended for children, it is normal to wonder at what age can you drink green tea, to be clear about when we can start giving tea to our children. The truth is that the age at which you can start drinking it can depend on the type of tea (if it has less or more caffeine), the amount and frequency, and the general health of the child.
However, as a guide, it is considered that it is not recommended that children under 10 years of age drink green tea or other types of tea, so it is from the age of 10 when you can start drinking tea in a moderate way, in small amounts and infrequently. However, the most advisable thing is that the adult responsible for the child discusses it with the pediatrician or doctor in advance in order to have a clearer and more appropriate response to the child’s health in particular.
The best infusions for children
If you dare to look for other alternatives of hot natural drinks for your children, because you have seen that green tea and other teas are not the best option to give to the little ones or to give it often to those who are already beginning to be something more older (pre-adolescents and adolescents), then take note of which infusions children can drink :
As it only contains dried fruits, berries, and in some cases a base of rose hips and hibiscus, they are suitable for children. It can be taken hot to warm up and relax or in summer, very cold and as part of a snack.
Rooibos for children
The infusion of rooibos or red bush is one of the most famous today and does not contain any caffeine, but it is rich in vitamin C or ascorbic acid, flavonoids, potassium, calcium and other healthy elements. It is totally suitable for the little ones and is even recommended for pregnant and lactating women.
Chamomile for children
It is one of the most beneficial infusions for children, as it has relaxing effects, relieves digestive problems and helps regulate temperature and even lower fever. If mint is added, it is usually liked more for its fresh flavor, since it is not recommended to add sugar to improve the flavor in the case of giving the infusion to children, and it helps to enhance the digestive, calming effects and improve respiratory problems.