About the Benefits of Green Tea for Children

If you're drinking more green tea to improve your health, you might want to consider brewing a cup for your child as well. Green tea is rich in catechins, disease-fighting nutrients that may protect you from heart disease and certain types of cancer, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. For your children, these catechins may help fight off cavities and the flu and keep them heart-healthy. Consult with your child's pediatrician before adding green tea to her diet.

A small cup of green tea beside a teapot. Credit: View Stock/View Stock/Getty Images

Healthier Mouth

Children are at an increased risk of tooth decay, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Drinking green tea may reduce your child's risk of cavities and improve bad breath, according to a 2012 study published in "Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Product." The phytonutrient catechins in green tea, specifically epigallocatechin-gallate, protect your child's mouth against cavity-causing bacteria, while the sulfur components work on bad breath. While this is promising information about green tea and dental health, more research is necessary before formal claims and recommendations can be made.

Fight the Flu

The catechins in green tea have antiviral properties that may protect your child from the flu. A 2011 study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" investigated the relationship between green tea consumption and flu infection in a group of elementary school children in Japan. The researchers observed fewer cases of flu infection in children who drank one to five cups of green tea a day. Drinking more than five cups a day did not offer any additional protection.

Good for the Heart

The buildup of plaque in the arteries begins during childhood, according to the American Heart Association. Taking steps to improve your children's heart health now may help prevent the progression to heart disease as they reach adulthood. Adding green tea to your child's diet may help improve heart health. A 2008 study published in "Obesity" found a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol levels in a group of obese Japanese children given a catechin-rich drink.

Safety Concerns

A cup of green tea contains 100 milligrams of caffeine. Because it is a source of caffeine, you may be concerned about giving green tea to your child. However, caffeine is commonly found in a number of foods your child may already be consuming, including chocolate, and may be safe in small amounts, such as one cup a day.

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