Green tea – a miracle cure?

Green  tea is  undoubtedly stimulating. But it is also said to have health-promoting effects. It is said to  prevent osteoporosis  and reduce the risk of cancer. But what about its miraculous power? According to legend, the Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung preferred to drink hot water. One day the wind blew some leaves into his bubbling water, the water turned slightly green. He tasted – the drink invigorated and refreshed the ruler. The story is around 5,000 years old and today green tea is an integral part of Asian drinking culture. But how healthy is the drink actually?

Extraction of green tea

Like its brother, black tea, green tea is also made from the plant with the botanical name camellia sinensis. However, it is not fermented, so it does not go through a fermentation process in which the leaf and cell sap are altered by atmospheric oxygen. Strong steam heating during production prevents the tea from turning copper-red.

After this treatment, the tea is lightly rolled and then immediately dried, the leaves are merely blanched. The natural leaf pigment is largely retained.

Preparation of green tea

Green tea should always be fresh and preferably purchased in a sealed, airtight package. The oxygen in the air ages the tea faster and it loses its aroma. It is best stored in glass containers and never next to  coffee  or spices. Green tea is best prepared in a porcelain or glass pot that has been rinsed out briefly with cold water beforehand.

The tea should not be scalded with boiling water, otherwise tannins will dissolve and vitamins will be destroyed. A water temperature of approx. 70 to 80 °C is ideal, very high-quality Japanese green teas are sometimes only brewed with a water temperature of 60 °C.

It is best to bring the water to a boil and wait a few minutes for it to cool down. Then add the tea and let it brew for 1 to 2 minutes, mild, high-quality types up to 4 minutes. Some prefer the second infusion, which is less caffeine and tastes milder – use the same drained leaves and reduce the amount of water by about 1/3.

effects of green tea

The health effects of tea have been known for a long time: the tannins soothe the  stomach and intestines, green tea prevents tooth decay  thanks to its antibacterial effect  ,  and it also regulates  blood pressure.

In addition to vitamins A, B, B 12, C and minerals such as  potassium , calcium and  fluoride  , green tea contains around 130 important ingredients, including the very important  flavonoids . These are responsible for the coloring of plants and protect the plant from harmful environmental influences.

Flavonoide beeinflussen eine Vielzahl von Stoffwechselprozessen im menschlichen Körper positiv, unter anderem die Entstehung von die Krebs, Immunmechanismen und Entzündungsprozesse. Sie wirken antimikrobiell und blutgerinnungshemmend. Flavonoide sind Antioxidantien, das heißt sie können reaktive Sauerstoffverbindungen im Körper abfangen. Diese sind mitverantwortlich für die Entstehung von Krebs. Flavonoide sollen außerdem das Risiko für Herz-Kreislauf-Erkrankungen senken sowie das Immunsystem stärken.

Schützt grüner Tee vor Krebs?

Taiwanesische Wissenschaftler haben unter anderem herausgefunden, dass sich der hohe Fluoridgehalt des Grünen Tees positiv auf die Knochendichte auswirkt und damit Osteoporose vorbeugt; zahlreiche Einzelstudien kommen zu dem Ergebnis, dass Grüner Tee vor Krebs schützen kann. Eine Erlanger Übersichtsstudie konnte diese Wirkungen beim Vergleich der zahlreichen weltweiten Publikationen allerdings nicht oder nur eingeschränkt bestätigen; manche Studien widersprechen sich sogar.

The possible effect seems to depend not only on the type of cancer, but also on consumption behavior, age and gender, and other individual factors. A positive influence appears to exist in cancer of the liver,  pancreas , lung and prostate; in women with a corresponding hereditary predisposition, it presumably reduces the risk of  developing breast  cancer.

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