Should I let my toddler drink tea? Dr Christian Jessen spills it… ☕

The Channel 4 star reveals whether or not it’s safe for young children to drink tea - and his answer may surprise you

Dr Christian: Should children drink tea?

by Kayleigh Dray |

There has been a LOT of debate around the subject, but should toddlers be allowed to drink tea?

Dietitian Chris Cashin, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, previously warned that young children shouldn’t drink tea because it can interfere with the absorption of iron.

is it okay for toddlers to drink tea
©rex

“Tea contains compounds, called polyphenols, which bind with iron, making it harder for our bodies to absorb it,” she explained to the Daily Mail.

“Iron deficiency causes symptoms such as tiredness and lethargy, and can make it harder to concentrate.”

For small children, this may mean they reach developmental milestones late, as iron is vital for brain development.

Other health experts have claimed that the caffeine levels in tea can cause hyperactivity in children, as well as a calcium deficiency.

Dentists, meanwhile, are against tea for toddlers because it contains tannin, which can stain teeth.

However, as plenty of mums have pointed out, tea was given to young children all the time before the '90s - and fizzy drinks contain far more caffeine and sugar than the humble cuppa ever did.

So what does Dr Christian Jessen have to say about it?

Dr Christian: Should children drink tea?
Dr Christian: Should children drink tea? ©Closer Magazine / Rex Features

Well, his answer is very reassuring.

Speaking exclusively to Closer Online, the Embarrassing Bodies star said, “There are pros and cons to toddlers drinking tea.

“Tea does contain high levels of flavonoids which are good for heart health. It is hydrating, NOT dehydrating as people mistakenly think.

“The small amount of caffeine in weak tea can boost sports performance in schoolchildren. But tea can reduce the amount of iron absorbed from food, especially if it's drunk with meals, and it could result in staining of the teeth if they aren't careful brushers.”

what age is it okay for kids to drink tea
©Rex

He finished, “So my view overall? If your toddler likes tea, then a small cup or two of weak tea per day will do them no harm at all.

“It’s certainly better than many of the high sugar juices that so many toddlers drink.”

This article first appear on Closer online on 23 March 2016.

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