Should you give matcha tea to kids? This question comes up a lot on our blog and the answer is; it depends!
Primarily, it is dependent on the age of the kid in question.
So, before we list the benefits of giving your (older) child matcha tea, here are some reasons to exercise caution;
- Matcha Tea Is Not A Suitable Drink For Babies– please don’t give matcha or green tea to babies under one year. It contains caffeine and is not suitable. It may also be unsafe for other reasons (see below).
- Matcha Tea Contains Caffeine – matcha tea contains caffeine. Whilst this is not as strong as coffee is, you usually would not consider giving coffee to a younger child!
Side effects of too much caffeine may include insomnia, hyperactivity, nausea and a short attention span.
Use some commonsense and limit the amount of matcha tea you offer to a small child. A few sips may be okay, an entire cup is not. Remember, it is a highly concentrated version of green tea!
- Matcha Tea May Be Toxic In High Doses – in large enough doses, green tea – and this includes matcha tea – can be harmful to the liver. For a small child, it is sensible to conclude that this could even apply at lower doses. To be on the safe side, we would urge caution against matcha tea for very young children.
As we have mentioned, age is a factor in deciding whether to give your child matcha tea, but also their individual reaction to it should be considered.
When you introduce an (older) kid to matcha, remember not only is it an acquired taste for the palette, but it takes a while for the body to tolerate it as well. Especially if your child is unused to drinks such as tea or coffee!
We would always advise a low dosage of green or matcha tea, for any kid. And to start very small!
So, what are the health benefits of giving small amounts of matcha tea to older children?
- Matcha Tea Wards Off Flu and Colds – Kids are incredibly prone to both cold and the flu – worse still, as ‘super spreaders’ they will kindly share their germs with the rest of the family!
To try and prevent illnesses this winter, a small amount of matcha tea can assist the fight against the flu.
The active ingredient in the battle against the sniffles is found within its antioxidants – namely the catechins.
Flu and cold aren’t the only two things that matcha tea and green tea guard against, the catechins also deliver protection against other viruses and nasties – which is good to know!
Just remember that matcha tea is super concentrated and as such should not be consumed in as high quantities as regular green tea. For a child, even an older one, less is best and the dosage should be limited to one cup a day.
- Matcha Tea Can Help Protect Against Childhood Obesity – Obesity is on the rise across all age groups in America, but the trends within children are the most troubling. This is because obese children usually go on to become obese adults.
Nationally, high school obesity levels are at 14.8% (2017) which was for grades nine to twelve. Overweight kids counted for 15.6%. In some states, the stats are much higher.
So, in this context, organic matcha green tea could help older high school kids to burn fat and improve their metabolism.
Obese children are more likely to suffer from high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as many other health risks, such as diabetes. A small amount of matcha tea could render this risk less likely.
However, matcha tea is not a miracle cure for obesity and will only help as part of a balanced diet and exercise regimen!
- Matcha Tea Can Help Fight Tooth Decay – Anything that can help prevent tooth decay is welcomed by both parents and dentists. It has been proven that kids who consume matcha have a lower instance of dental problems, than ones who do not.
The EGCG found within the tea can guard against bacteria which causes cavities. It may also help freshen the breath and even combat ailments such as sore throats!
- Matcha Tea Could Help Your Kid At Exam Time – Matcha tea contains L-Theanine, which may help improve your kid’s ability to study. A known aide to the memory, this compound assists with sharpened concentration – something which can be very helpful to teenagers!
Matcha tea actually increases the blood flowing to the brain and can give your kid a boost with their studies – useful to know, especially around exam time!
In small doses, matcha tea can make an excellent supplement to an already healthy diet for older kids and young people. We advise always checking with your doctor before making any major changes to your kid’s diet.