Caffeine is a drug that is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants. A drug you say, if that is so, than why do so many of us take this drug.
Almost every young child & teen consumes caffeine everyday. Caffeine is in tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, over-the-counter medicines, and popular energy drinks. Children and teens love soft drinks too (soda), which also contain caffeine, it’s tasty; it comes in different flavors, cola, fruit punch, orange, pineapple, and ginger ale. We drank it at bbq’s, at restaurants, we serve it at birthday parties. Some parents even allow their kids to drink a cold cup, bottle or can of it after they have played outside in the hot sun. Which is very unhealthy, because caffeine is a diuretic, which can cause constant urination, which could possibly lead to dehydration. Children need water after being outside for long periods of time.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, causing an energy boost. Some older teens will drink energy drinks, such as redbull or coffee, so that they can stay up to study for an important test or exam. This is not healthy, especially if a teen has already had a full day of school, work, and after-school activities in which they need to rest afterwards.
In it’s natural form, caffeine tastes very bitter. Which is why most people don’t drink coffee black. It’s camouflaged with lots other things to improve the taste. Like, cream & sugar. In most coffee houses, they offer coffee in many different forms, lattes w/ whip cream, cappuccinos, non-fat or low-fat, w/ soy milk etc. Sounds very tasty, but if you notice most of the camouflages have sugar. Which if consumed regularly causes childhood obesity, tooth decay, and cavities. Many parents believe that it also increases hyperactivity in children. Then why is it that the new trend is to see small children & teens in your local starbucks? If everything served in there is bad for all of us including children. I have to admit that I to will bring my children to starbucks and the bookstore café’s as well, but we usually order some of their healthier choices. Like, the Horizon Organic Milk Box (like a juice box, but milk). I on the other hand have coffee, and lots of it.
Caffeine is usually safe in moderate amounts. Teens should try and limit caffeine consumption to 100mg per day. Drink water or sports drinks such as Gatorade after sports. Young children should have less than 100mg per day; they should also drink water or low-fat soymilk with healthy snacks like fruits and veggies.
The old wise saying goes, “if you teach your children healthy habits while young, they will continue to have healthy habits into adulthood.”