Green tea is said to have real superpowers – from detox miracles to fat burners. What’s really about the hype? A tea expert tells us
Everyone loves green tea – and there are several good reasons for this: It is considered a healthy stimulant, is supposed to keep the skin young, help with weight loss and even protect against cancer.
There are now numerous studies that deal with the health effects of green tea. We asked the tea expert Henning Schmidt from the what benefits drinking green tea really has and how you can prepare it properly.
Which ingredients make green tea so healthy?
In addition to numerous vitamins and minerals, green tea mainly contains an effective mix of secondary plant substances. In particular, catechins, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), are held responsible for its 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.
Green tea should also activate the body’s self-cleaning powers (keyword: detox), have an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as lower blood pressure and regulate the cholesterol level. It is said to be able to prevent cardiovascular diseases and even Alzheimer’s. 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 might even protect against cancer. Solid evidence for many of the effects is still lacking.
So green tea is not a miracle cure, but: “In Japan, where a lot of green tea is drunk, there are fewer cancer cases than here,” says tea expert Schmidt. “The extent to which 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.”
The caffeine in green tea wakes you up more gently than coffee
If you don’t like coffee, green tea is a good alternative, because it also contains plenty of caffeine. The “hello-wake-up effect” is different, because the caffeine in green tea is only released gradually. The stimulant effect is therefore somewhat delayed and is therefore less intense than that of coffee, but lasts a little longer.
Green tea thus promotes concentration, does not make you as nervous and jittery as coffee and, thanks to its many tannins, is generally considered to be gentler on the stomach.
Does green tea help you lose weight?
The fact that tea helps you lose weight is nothing new, after all, unsweetened tea does not contain any calories. But there are types of tea – such as green tea – that are particularly good for losing weight.
A study by the Institute for Nutritional Research in Potsdam says that because of the epigallocatechin gallate contained in green tea, less fat is absorbed from food through the intestines. In addition, it stimulates fat burning and the healthy bitter substances inhibit cravings. Last but not least, green tea also increases your basal metabolic rate by stimulating the generation of heat (thermogenesis) in the body – this also causes the fat cells to melt.
Buying green tea: bags or loose?
Strongly advises against bag tea and artificially flavored varieties: “Green bag tea, it’s like red wine from a tetrapak,” he says. “Even the more expensive supermarket types are usually not good. The teas are bitter and you have no chance to see where the tea comes from and what is used in it.”
If you are looking for quality, it is best to buy in the 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 can recognize the leaf and its origin is clearly communicated.
Green tea varieties: This is the best tea for beginners
There are countless varieties of green tea. The best known are Sencha, Bancha, Gyokuro and Matcha. Schmidt recommends Japanese Sencha or Chinese Lung Ching (“dragon fountain tea”) for green tea beginners. “You can’t go wrong with that. A Chinese, green jasmine tea is also perfect, nice and light and flowery.”
Is organic tea better than conventionally grown tea?
Organic tea is usually better and contains fewer pesticides. Henning Schmidt warns, however, against scare tactics. “The media like to exaggerate the subject of pesticide pollution in conventional green tea. The pollution is not as bad as it is often claimed. The limit values are very strict, so even the judgment ‘heavily polluted’ has to be seen in relation and need not be to worry about when drinking conventional green tea. “
The expert adds: “Nevertheless, especially with Matcha, where the entire tea leaf is consumed as a powder, I would always prefer organic tea. If only because the working conditions in the growing areas are better.”
How do I properly prepare green tea?
When it comes to green tea, the right preparation is essential, otherwise the taste will suffer. The most important rule during preparation: The temperature has to be right: The water must not be boiling hot, otherwise the tea will be bitter and lose nutrients. 60 to 80 degrees Celsius are ideal. For this you have to let boiling water cool down for 15 minutes. “Or mix a third of cold water with two-thirds of boiling water,” reveals Schmidt. “That also results in about 80 ° C and goes faster.”
Use less tea for an infusion than for black tea. The brewing time then depends on the type of tea: “Chinese green tea can brew 90 seconds to 2 minutes in the first infusion, Japanese green tea 60 seconds,” explains Schmidt. “In the second infusion, the steeping time is halved”. The second of the three possible infusions is considered by connoisseurs to be the most aromatic and the best.
The consumption of green tea works like a daily mini detox and is good for your health. But please don’t save on the price when buying – a good green tea is worth the money.