Green Tea Helps Children Ward Away Flu

Research published in the October edition of the Journal of Nutrition demonstrates drinking green tea helps children keep from catching the flu.

Dr. Patrick B. Massey, M.S., M.D., Ph.D writes this week that the flu vaccine fails to protect us 30 to 40 percent of the time (sometimes more).

“However, a recent medical study indicates that simply drinking a cup of green tea every day may prevent influenza infection, especially for school-age children,” says Dr. Massey, medical director for complementary and alternative medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network.

Japanese researchers surveyed 2,663 pupils attending elementary schools near Kikugawa City, a tea-growing area. Children, ages 6 to 13 years, who drink tea daily were 40 percent less likely to get the flu. Those who drank up to five cups a day were the least likely to become ill.

“Those who drank the most green tea (about one cup per day) also had significantly fewer sick days from school. The results were so conclusive that the researchers concluded that the regular consumption of green tea is protective against influenza infections during the influenza season,” says Dr. Massey.

There are a number of studies demonstrating the benefits of drinking tea as a preventive measure against influenza in adults. Now it can be strongly suggested this may also be the case with school-age children. Although green tea contains caffeine, none of the children in this study reported side effects commonly associated with too much caffeine.

Protecting yourself against influenza is much more than simply getting vaccinated, he says.  And drinking a daily cup of green tea is just what the doctor ordered.

Source: and and the Journal of Nutrition, Oct 2011;141(10):1862-70. PMID:21832025, by Park M, Yamada H, Matsushita K, Kaji s, Goto T, Okada Y, Kosuge K, Kitagawa T. Department of Drug Evaluation and Informatics, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka; Department of Pharmacy, Kikugawa General Hospital, Kikugawa, Japan.