Yin and Yang of Tea

It All Starts With Camellia Sinensis

An ancient health brew, tea is a decoction of the Camellia sinensis leaves. If you’re wondering what decoctions or hot water infusions of herbs or any plant material such as flowers, fruits, roots or twigs are, then the term is “herbal tea”. This article will focus on the true Camellia sinensis teas.

Here’s a quick look at the types of tea and their caffeine content.

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The Wonders of Tea

Lay your hands on health magazine today, you’d most probably end up reading an article about the health benefits of tea. People around the globe have embraced this beverage since paramount research backs up its impressive health benefits.

Polyphenols are the powerhouse in tea that contribute to taste and health. Taste of the drink through tannins and health through a class of flavonoid called catechins (EGCG, Epigallocatechin gallate-3) that counteracts reactions which cause cell damage and subsequent disease.

Tea improves blood pressure and blood vessels functioning thereby reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Green tea is beneficial for weight loss through increased energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and reduced calorie intake (substituting tea with soft drinks). Research highlights bone building benefits as well, by improving the formation of new bone as well as by decreasing the degradation of existing bone. Catechins and theanine in tea boost immune function.

For ages, tea has earned a spot for cognitive benefits like mental clarity and concentration. Tea was used by early monks to aid in their meditation practice as it prevented them from falling asleep. These benefits are attributed to tea components – caffeine and theanine.

Are You Reading The Tea Leaves Right?

Although tea may offer a wide array of benefits none of us has thought whether it’s the same for children. Recent Indian-based studies highlighted that caffeine consumption has been constantly growing in India especially among children and adolescents. In fact, the researchers pointed out a probability of higher caffeine intake in urban Indian adolescents compared to the worldwide data!

Interestingly, tea/coffee contributed to more than 50% of the caffeine intake while cola beverages, chocolates, and energy drinks contributed to the remaining. The most common reasons for consumption were to keep more alert and to combat drowsiness. If you have been allowing your kids to drink tea or coffee to kick-start their day, then you might want to stop this right away.

Proper sleep is quintessential during childhood and adolescence since it is a period of rapid growth and brain development. But get this – the vicious cycle of caffeine – used to disrupt sleep – leads to fatigue – caffeine is used again to counteract the fatigue. This perpetuates poor sleep patterns and heightened caffeine consumption.

Some animal research suggests that caffeine can potentiate drug addiction. Studies show moderate to high doses of caffeine (approx. 100 – 400 mg) results in increased incidence of nervousness, jitteriness, fidgetiness, and less incidence of sluggishness in children and adolescents.

In a nutshell, effects of caffeine on children and adolescents are different from those seen in adults. Excessive caffeine intake has an adverse impact on health in terms of optimal sleep, overall growth and development, and the risk for engaging in risky behaviours.

SWIRLY SANDWICHES BY GANESH TELI, CULINARY DIRECTOR, MONKEYBOX

Here is a simple recipe which can been prepared by your little one easily. While you indulge in some nice picnic brunch and enjoy a wonderful day in the open try out this brunch recipe that you can create together with your little one.

(This recipe is made considering basic kitchen equipment and outdoor grill for cooking is available for kids during picnic brunch)

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf white bread, unsliced
  • 60g butter, softened
  • Green and blue sprinkles

Method

  • Slice the crusts off the bread and cut the loaf lengthways into four equal slices.
  • Flatten each slice with a rolling pin.
  • Spread with butter and cover with sprinkles.
  • Roll up the bread lengthways; you might need to spread a bit more butter on the end of the roll-up to get the sprinkle-side to stick.
  • Slice each roll into five shells

Deworming: Worm-free Children, Healthy Children

Worm infection in school children is more common than you think, as a matter of fact, they typically have the highest burden of worm infection than other age-group. Infection is caused by soil-transmitted helminths. The main types of parasitic worms that infect humans are:

1  ‘Ascaris’ the assassin (Roundworm)

2   ‘Trichuris’ the terrorist (Whipworm)

3  Noxious ‘Necator’ (Hookworm)

 

How do the worms wriggle their way into the body?

These parasitic worms make their way into our bodies as eggs, which are passed in the stools/faeces of infected people. Once in the gut (intestine), the eggs hatch to grow into adult worms where they produce thousands of eggs each day. In areas that lack adequate sanitation, these eggs contaminate the soil and in turn infect humans. This can happen in several ways:

5Contaminated vegetables and fruits that are not carefully  cooked, washed or peeled

7 Contaminated water sources and vessels washed with this water

6Ingestion of eggs by children who play in the contaminated soil and then put their hands in their mouths without washing them

Speaking of soil, hookworm eggs hatch in the soil, the mature larvae can actively penetrate the skin. Therefore, hookworm infection is primarily by walking barefoot on the contaminated soil. There is no direct person-to-person transmission, or infection from fresh faeces because eggs passed in faeces need about 3 weeks to mature in the soil before they become infective.

 Let’s dig deep and look at how these worms affect the body……

Worm infection has an adverse impact on the child’s nutritional status in multiple ways. Take a look –

  • Worms feed on host tissues, including blood leading to a loss of iron and protein.
  • Moreover, hookworms cause chronic blood loss in the gut that can result in anaemia.
  • Not only do worms increase malabsorption of nutrients but roundworms specifically compete for vitamin A in the gut.
  • Some worms cause loss of appetite and, therefore, a reduction of nutritional intake and physical fitness.
  • Few parasitic worms can even cause diarrhoea and dysentery.

On the whole, worm infections can result in anaemia, malnourishment, impaired mental (cognitive) and physical development (growth). Thus it can pose a serious threat to children’s health, education (like reduced school attendance and performance) and productivity.

Also, take a look at the symptoms of worm infection in kids.

 symptoms-of-worm-infestation-in-kids_poster

Quick tips on how to prevent & control worm infection…

Children need to be educated to wash hands with soap especially before and after using the toilet and eating; keep nails short and clean; wear shoes/slippers; drink clean water; keep their surroundings clean and not defecate in the open. Bear in mind that fruits and vegetables need to be washed well, in clean water and to always keep food covered.

It is very important in to make sure your child is dewormed regularly. Do contact your child’s paediatrician or physician for the same.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and/or diet.