Yes, the controversial question of when is it ok for a child to drink coffee. You know how it is; you are sitting at the table enjoying your morning coffee when a little head pokes up and asks you if they can have some. Now either you smile and offer a small sip before going on about your day, or you decline politely and tell them when they are older, they can have some.
Then the day comes when the question is, how old do I have to be to drink coffee? This is an excellent question with many answers. First off, you have to judge how comfortable you feel with giving your child coffee. Then you need to look over the facts and the potential health damages. There are so many different opinions on the matter that over here at Mighty Great Fitness, we wanted to give you some facts and tips about coffee drinking in general, so you can decide when you feel comfortable introducing coffee to your child.
First things first, we all know that coffee contains caffeine unless you drink noncaffeinated coffee. Caffeine is used for a lot of things like trying to stay awake and helping us focus. This can’t be bad things, right? Yes, they can. When you have to put any supplement in your body to stay awake or focus, it usually means there is an underlying problem that your body lacks, like a vitamin deficiency. As a parent, you are great at watching out for your children and their everyday needs. As an adult, you probably don’t spend enough time ensuring that you get your daily needs, such as proper amounts of sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise.
Here are the upsides of coffee drinking:
Coffee boosts your physical performance.
- A cup of black coffee about an hour before a workout can boost your performance and improve it by 12%. Caffeine increases adrenaline levels in your blood, and Adrenaline is your body’s “fight or flight” hormone which helps you prepare for physical exertion.
Coffee may help you lose weight.
- Coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps the human body use insulin, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce your craving for sugary treats and snacks.
Coffee helps you burn fat.
- Caffeine helps fat cells break down body fat and use it as fuel for training.
Coffee helps you focus and stay alert.
- Moderate caffeine intake, 1-6 cups a day, helps you focus and improves your mental alertness.
Coffee lowers the risk of death, cancers, strokes, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Studies have shown that coffee drinkers’ overall risk of premature death is 25% lower than those who don’t drink coffee. This is also associated with the risk of a stroke.
- Other studies have shown that coffee can decrease the risk of prostate cancer in men by 20%. It also shows that women are less likely to get endometrial cancer. It can also help with reducing the risk of skin cancer.
- Studies show a 25% decrease in the risk of Parkinson’s disease have shown that coffee causes activity in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s.
Coffee protects your body.
- Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants that help fight off illnesses.
- Caffeine decreases your insulin sensitivity and impairs glucose tolerance which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- High caffeine levels in your blood reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease and dementia
Lastly, coffee helps to brighten your mood and fight depression which lowers the risk of suicide.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and boosts the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, which elevate your mood. Two cups of coffee a day prevents the risk of suicide by 50 %.
Here are the downsides of drinking coffee:
Coffee can kill you.
- Yes, if you drink 80-100 cups in a short session, it can kill you. This dose is lethal and will amount to 10-13 grams of caffeine within your body. This is also true if you drink that much water. The good side of this is that you will be sick, and your body will start to reject the coffee once it gets to a dangerous point.
Coffee can cause insomnia and restlessness.
- Since coffee has caffeine, which causes you to be awake and focused, it can also stop you from sleeping. The recommended maximum amount of caffeine a person should have a day is 400 milligrams (about 4 cups).
Caffeine affects pregnant women differently.
- Caffeine might be ok for you, but the caffeine will also reach the susceptible fetus when you drink it. The recommendation is to either cut out caffeine during pregnancy or limit it to one cup.
Here are the facts on kids drinking coffee:
Coffee may increase bedwetting.
- A survey reported that caffeine consumption of 5–7-year-old kids might increase bedwetting.
Caffeine can lead to health problems.
- Too much caffeine can lead to insomnia, jitteriness, upset stomach, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and increased heart rate. For children only need a small amount for this to happen.
- Adding in creams and sugars can lead to childhood obesity and cavities.
Caffeine can affect growth.
- Childhood is the most crucial time for bone strengthening, affecting them for the rest of their lives. Too much caffeine can interfere with calcium absorption, which negatively affects proper growth.
Coffee is addictive.
- Any kind of caffeine is addicting, and the withdrawal symptoms are real.
All and all, there are pros and cons to drinking coffee, no matter what age you are. However, children do not reap the benefits that adults do, so the later you start, the better. This is the case with anything that has caffeine in it, such as soda and energy drinks. Our recommendation would be to begin towards the end of adolescence when growth and development are slowing down.
Stay safe and healthy
Author/Weight Loss Coach