Leave it to the Brits to investigate tea and its beneficial effects on children. Apparently, not too many years ago, over 50% of kids drank tea daily. It was definitely part of their culture. Over the years however, tea has fallen out of favor while sodas have captured the attention of children everywhere. The number of children drinking tea in England these days is actually too low to measure. With soda consumption on the rise, so too is the occurrence of obesity in these tender consumers.
The statistics in the U.S are equally disturbing. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in the year 2010. I believe high sugar beverages play a significant role in this health crisis.
What’s really fascinating, however, is that the primary reason given for restricting kids’ tea consumption is concern about caffeine. Now that’s very interesting to me. Many sodas have caffeine as well as countless other ingredients that are potentially harmful, especially when artificial ingredients are added. At its best, soda has NO nutritional value. Tea on the other hand, has been shown to have active ingredients including pholyphenols/catechins, that have been shown to have tremendous health benefits.
Fortunately, a well respected British nutritionist, Dr. Carrie Ruxton, has investigated the caffeine and kid connection and produced some very interesting news. Drum roll please . . . the caffeine found in tea actually has benefits for kids.
Dr. Ruxton is a member of the Tea Advisory Panel. Her latest tea research appeared in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition. A review of research found a number of trials showing that children score more highly on tests which measure their mental agility, attention, dexterity and memory after consuming a small amount of caffeine. Ruxton’s conclusions include there is no evidence of problems with caffeine in tea when consumption was limited to two cups of tea per day for preschoolers; two to three cups for school-aged children.
Can you imagine what might happen if kids with ADHD were taken off their prescription medications followed by trials using green tea instead? Why must we live in a culture more comfortable giving children powerful drugs rather than natural products that have stood the test of time for over 5000 years?
When we compare the amount of caffeine in “energy drinks” that teens around the globe are drinking in alarming numbers, the amount of caffeine in tea is negligible. Why are we still pointing the finger at tea when it comes to concerns about caffeine and the health of our children? What’s wrong with this picture, people?
My suggestion is to introduce your little ones to tea using 3 to 4 ounce cups. These child-sized vessels will delight children and encourage them to develop a taste for the subtle delight of green tea. Catch them before their palates get used to – and begin to demand – the highly sweetened beverages that our media bombards them with. Children will become life long tea drinkers – a gift of health that will be with them throughout their lives. The psychological comfort of a warm beverage will become a friend they can welcome and turn to whenever they need to.
What a great idea, Michelle. There is a tea club at the county high school. If teens think it is cool, little ones aren’t too far behind.
Kids do not like tea, and this is not at all good for them they might not get good sleep and they cannot find it tasty.
This is such a refreshing article! My husband and I have been getting more and more into tea over the last few years, and over the last few months I have been introducing our five year old to it as well. He has about 4 ounces of my organic white peony nearly every day with a small drop of raw honey. He loves it, and I think it may have contributed to the fact that he had not had a single illness all school year. Normally we have at least one ear infection.
Thanks for the post, in a new follower!
Good for you! I only wish I had started my daughter with tea at an early age, but unfortunately I didn’t learn about tea until I was an older adult myself. As a adult today, my daughter has come to enjoy tea and shares my delight in having tea as part of her daily routine. The profound health benefits of white tea were recognized by a terrific microbiologist at Pace University in NY, Dr Milton Schiffenbauer who I met and interviewed a few years back for T Ching.
I think Milton would agree that the absence of infection for your son could very well be related to his consumption of white tea:)