As parents, you are always looking for ways on how to take care of your children’s welfare and that includes ensuring they only eat and drink healthy food. Matcha, the famous Japanese green tea, is known not only for its distinct taste but also for its various health benefits. However, not everything that is good for adults is also good for young children. In the case of matcha, several studies have already shown that consuming it has a positive impact on children. Here are some of them:
- A source of antioxidants.
A gram of matcha contains 1,384 ORAC units. ORAC, or oxygen radical absorption capacity, is the measure of antioxidant potency in food and drinks. Matcha has so much more antioxidants than so-called superfoods like acai berries, which only has 55 ORAC units.
Antioxidants help the body prevent the slow damage of cells caused by free radicals, which is the body’s natural reaction to outward stress and pressure.
- Keeps colds and flu away.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found out that there were far fewer cases of flu infection in Japanese school children who drank one to five cups of matcha every day compared to those who did not.
This antiviral capability can be attributed to catechins, a natural nutrient found in green teas. Matcha also has vitamin C, which has been long known to strengthen the body’s immune system.
- Get better oral health.
Children are at most risk for tooth decay caused by plaque, cavities, and bacteria. Luckily, matcha, as with most green teas, has phytonutrient catechins—specifically EGCG, or epigallocatechin-gallate. These are matcha’s natural antibacterial properties.
Dr. Sulitzer explains that drinking matcha beverages help suppress the growth of bad bacteria that causes bad breath and teeth discoloration while keeping your children’s teeth and gums clean. A word of caution though, green teas also contains tannins, which have been known to stain teeth.
- Gives a boost of caffeine.
Normally, you don’t want to introduce caffeine to your kids at an early age. However, matcha only has minimal levels of caffeine—only about 30 milligrams of caffeine in one cup compared to 70 to 75 milligrams in a cup of coffee.
Also, the kind of caffeine that’s in matcha has L-theanine, regulating the slow release of caffeine into the body for three to six hours. As a result, matcha energizes and calms at the same time, a sensation quite different from that of drinking coffee.
- Improves memory.
Apart from being an energy booster, the L-theanine found in matcha is also a known memory aid, which helps in concentration and retention, making it handy for kids preparing for an intense exam.
Much like chocolate, L-theanine increases feel-good chemicals and directs blood flow to the brain, which leads to an improved mood. Other studies have also indicated that powdered green tea improves brain function and slows mental decline in old people.
- It’s good for the heart.
Plaque starts to build up in the body’s arteries as early as childhood, that’s according to the American Heart Association. Matcha is known to help clear clogged arteries, regulate blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels.
Adding this Japanese green tea to your kid’s diet goes a long way. Regular consumption of matcha lessens the risk of blood clots and other heart-related disorders by as much as 28 percent compared to black tea and non-tea drinkers.
- Prevents childhood obesity.
Children in Western countries are at most risk for childhood obesity. In 2013, 42 million children age five and below were either obese or overweight. That number is expected to balloon to 70 million by the year 2025 if no drastic lifestyle change is going to happen.
Matcha is a staple in the weight-loss industry for quite some time now. It works by increasing the body’s metabolic rate so it can burn more calories. But remember that drinking tea is only one small component in losing weight.
- Protects from UV damage.
Epigallocatechin-gallate or the ECGC that helps keep kid’s mouth healthy is also the same active component in matcha that protects skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. It keeps skin healthy and lessens the risk of problems related to UV damage.