Everyone loves green tea – and there are several reasons for this. It is considered a healthy stimulant, is said to keep the skin young, help it lose weight and even protect it from cancer. This is not the only reason why some health-conscious foodies drink it by the litre. There are now numerous studies that deal with the health effects of green tea.
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We asked the tea expert Henning Schmidt from the Hamburger Teespeicher (Hamburg tea store) what the benefits of drinking green tea really are and how to prepare it properly.
In this article:
- How green tea works
- Caffeine kick through tea?
- Is green tea a fat burner?
- To buy tea: Bag or loose?
- This is the best tea for beginners
- How to prepare green tea properly
Effect: These ingredients make green tea so healthy
Besides numerous vitamins and minerals, green tea contains an effective mix of secondary plant substances. Especially catechins, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG ), are held responsible for his health power. They have an antioxidant effect – that is, they can protect the body cells from the influence of free radicals. This slows down the aging process of the skin.
Each cup of green tea acts like a little detox treatment in between. © Kaponia Aliaksei / Shutterstock.com
Green tea is also said to activate the body’s self-cleaning powers (magic word: detox!), to have anti-inflammatory, blood pressure-lowering and cholesterol-regulating effects. Allegedly it can prevent cardiovascular diseases and even Alzheimer’s disease.
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This is because the secondary plant substances apparently minimize deposits in the vessels and reduce protein deposits in the brain. Some studies also suggest that green tea could protect against cancer. So far, there is no conclusive evidence for many of the effects. So green tea is not a miracle cure, but: “In Japan, where a lot of green tea is drunk, there are fewer cases of cancer than here,” says tea expert Schmidt.
“To what extent this is due to tea consumption needs to be researched more intensively. What is certain, however, is that we are dealing with an absolutely healthy thirst quencher that you can drink every day.
For those who don’t like coffee, green tea is a good alternative because it also contains plenty of caffeine. But the “hello waking effect” is different, because the caffeine in green tea is released only gradually. The wake-up effect is therefore somewhat delayed and is therefore less intensive than that of coffee, but lasts a little longer.
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Green tea thus promotes concentration, does not make you as nervous and nervous as coffee and is generally considered to be easier on the stomach thanks to its many tanning agents.
Green tea lets you work longer and more concentrated. © Cookie Studio / Shutterstock.com
Fatburner: Green tea helps you lose weight
It is not new that tea helps you lose weight, after all, unsweetened tea contains no calories. But there are tea varieties – like green tea – that are particularly good for losing weight. A study by the Potsdam-based German Institute for Nutritional Research says that you absorb less fat from food through the intestines because of the epigallocatechin gallate contained in green tea. In addition, it stimulates fat burning and the healthy bitter substances inhibit ravenous appetite.
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Last but not least, green tea also increases the basal metabolic rate by stimulating heat production (thermogenesis) in the body – this also causes the fat cells to melt.
Buy green tea: Bag or loose?
Teataster Henning Schmidt strongly advises against bagged tea and artificially flavoured varieties: “Green bagged tea is like red wine from a Tetrapak,” he says. “Even the more expensive supermarket varieties are usually not good. The teas are bitter, and you have no way of knowing where the tea came from or what was processed in it.”
Save the money for bagged tea and invest in loose goods. © Shaiith / Shutterstock.com
So if you are looking for quality, it is best to buy in a tea shop and get advice there. “For a good green tea you should spend at least 5 to 7 euros per 100 grams, for Matcha between 15 and 20 euros for 20 to 30 grams,” says Schmidt. A good green tea does not taste bitter, you recognize the leaf and its origin is clearly communicated.
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Green tea varieties: The best tea for beginners
Green tea comes in countless varieties. The most famous are Sencha, Bancha, Gyokuro and Matcha. For green tea beginners, Schmidt recommends Japanese Sencha or Chinese Lung Ching (“dragon well tea”). “You won’t go wrong with this. A Chinese green jasmine tea is also perfect, beautifully light and flowery.”
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Is organic tea better than conventionally grown green tea?
Organic tea is generally better and contains less pesticides. However, Henning Schmidt warns against panic-mongering. “The media likes to stir up the issue of pesticide contamination in conventional green tea. The pollution is not as bad as is often claimed. The limit values are very strict, even the verdict ‘heavily polluted’ therefore you have to see things in perspective and don’t need to worry if you drink conventional green tea.
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The expert adds: “Nevertheless, especially with Matcha, where the whole tea leaf is consumed as powder, I would always prefer organic tea. If only because the working conditions in the growing areas are better.
How to prepare green tea properly
With green tea, the correct preparation is the be-all and end-all, otherwise unfortunately the taste. The most important rule in preparation: the temperature must be right: The water must not be boiling hot, otherwise the tea becomes bitter and loses nutrients. The optimum temperature is 60 to 80 °C.
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To do this, let boiling water cool down for 15 minutes. “Or mix one third cold water with two thirds boiling water,” reveals Schmidt. “This also makes about 80°C and goes faster.”
Don’t pour green tea too hot! © Shaiith / Shutterstock.com
Use less tea for an infusion than for black tea. The brewing time then depends on the type of tea: “Chinese green tea may brew for 90 seconds to 2 minutes in the first infusion, Japanese green tea for 60 seconds,” explains Schmidt. “In the second infusion the infusion time is halved. The second of usually three possible infusions is considered by connoisseurs to be the most aromatic and best.
Our conclusion: the consumption of green tea has various positive health effects, can actually help you lose weight and acts like a daily mini-detox cure. But please do not save on the price – a good green tea is worth its money.