Most of us are aware of all of the positive health benefits to drinking green tea, but do these transfer over to babies as well? Green tea has been shown to reduce the spread of free radicals, which can help prevent the spread of cancer, and also to help maintain proper weight levels.
As parents we want our children to have the best start in life, and if we hear in the news about the positive effects of a new herb or food then we immediately wonder if it’s something that our baby should be getting as well. But a lot of what is good for us as adults doesn’t apply to your baby, because they’re still so new they only require the basics.
Adults are a lot more complicated when it comes to what we need, and what we’re subjected to. We eat a lot more junk and our body’s go through a lot more than a typical baby, so it’s not as if babies have a great deal to combat. Plus, if you’re breastfeeding, that’s all they really need in order to stay healthy and happy.
Can I Give My Baby Green Tea? Answer: Not Recommended
Even though green tea may be good for adults, it’s not something that your baby inherently needs, and therefore should be avoided. The jury is still out as far as just how healthy green tea is, and even if it is as healthy as everyone claims, it still has major drawbacks that make it something babies shouldn’t have.
Green tea has caffeine in it, even if you get the decaffeinated kind. Babies shouldn’t be given caffeine, even small amounts, because it is known to artificially increase the heart rate. This is one negative side effect that will counteract any possible benefits your baby might get from green tea.
Health Benefits of Green Tea in Adults
Research has shown that green tea contains a good amount of antioxidants because it isn’t heavily processed like other types of teas, even herbal teas. The tea leaves are basically left untouched, and allowed to wither and then they get steamed, which is very minimal processing compared to other varieties. Many of the studies have been conducted in the east, within many Asian nations where people drink green tea as a regular part of life, and have for many years.
Compounding the problem of determining the effect of green tea is the fact that many of these same countries have healthier diets and eat smaller portions which would make them less susceptible to things like heart disease and cancer. So it is still relatively unknown to what effect green tea helps the body and helps ward off major health problems.
Can or Should?
Of course you can give your baby green tea, but the real question is should you. Does your baby even need it, or is this something that is just recommended for adult health and well-being. Are free radicals something that you should be concerned about with your baby, and enough so that you should give them green tea on a regular basis?
It contains a lot of antioxidants, but babies shouldn’t need a lot of these because they will get everything they need from breast milk and fortified formula. Most babies aren’t at great risk of developing cancer, so these findings about green tea inhibiting cancer or helping with things like prostate cancer aren’t really relevant to an newborn or infant.
Also, there isn’t a lot of real world application and testing that’s been done, and a lot of the findings about green tea are related to lab rats and mice. There’s just not enough evidence done for adults, let alone children or babies, to suggest that it’s a good idea to supplement your baby’s fluid intake with green tea.
Stick to the plan of breast milk for as long as possible, and then a high-quality formula after that, moving into solids when they’re ready, but also keeping in mind that you want to be giving them healthy, nourishing foods so they have the best start in life and won’t have to worry about heart disease and cancer because they’ll keep these good habits even when they grow up.