From the 3rd century B. C. tea is an integral part of the life of the people of China. Tea traditions gradually spread to Japan, India, the Middle East and Europe. Since 1618, scientists have compared this drink with a full meal - its nutritional properties and effects on the body are so significant.
Is green tea really healthy, what is hidden behind the production of tea leaves and is it possible to drink a hot fragrant drink daily, read further in the article.
What you need to know about green tea
Green tea is a drink based on the tea leaf, which practically does not undergo fermentation.
Fermentation (oxidation) - biochemical processing of products under the influence of enzymes that are concentrated inside the raw material itself. This process can also be started with the help of microorganisms.
The leaves for making both green and black tea are obtained from the same bush, only the method of subsequent processing differs. They are harvested from Thea sinensis, which translates as "Chinese tea". It is a shrub that is grown in China, Japan and Darjeeling. The plant is recognizable by its miniature leaves, which exude a delicate delicate aroma and have an excellent taste.
Green tea is pre-fixed with steam. Its temperature reaches 170-180°C. For some varieties, after exposure to temperatures, a two-day oxidation starts. Fermentation is stopped artificially by heating in a pot or additional exposure to steam. Traditionally, pots are used by China, and steam is used by Japan. At the output, tea leaves are obtained, which are oxidized by 3-12%.
Interestingly, green tea originated and became popular in China. Thanks to the Middle Kingdom, the product has spread throughout Asia: Japan, the Middle East and Korea. More Western countries came to the drink much later. There, green tea was able to take equal positions with black tea only by the end of the 20th century.
How the drink came about
At first glance, it may seem that brewing leaves is not the most rational idea that one can come up with. Indeed, according to one of the legends, the basis for the creation of tea is not an inquisitive mind, but a simple accident.
The Chinese emperor Shen Nong went in search of healing herbs. Like all Eastern sages and rulers, he shared the ideas of health, natural gifts and the healing power of the earth. A small cauldron filled with warm liquid hung on Shen-nunu's tripod. A few leaves from a tea bush accidentally fell into this cauldron. They colored the liquid in a golden hue and filled the air with a delicate spicy aroma. The Emperor ventured to try the drink and has since given up any liquids other than green tea.
Features of the production of the product
Tea leaves are collected in the warmest and most picturesque places in the world: India, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Africa. There are several ways to harvest the "harvest": machine and manual. Companies that produce premium quality tea use the second method. Workers manually collect only the top two leaves and the kidney: it is in this part of the plant that the special aroma, taste and benefits are concentrated. This collection method is called two leaves and one bud. Everything below the bud and the first two leaves is used by companies that focus on quantity over quality.
After picking, the tea leaves are dried. This takes place in specialized "tea gardens". Moisture is completely removed from them and they become like fallen autumn leaves. Next, the dried base for tea is sent to a huge drum, which gives it the necessary shape. Most often, manufacturers use the shape of a spiral or a regular straight line.
Only at the end of these three stages - gathering, withering and rolling - tea leaves are fermented. In the process of oxidation, the division into green / black / white and other varieties occurs.
Remember: green tea is not intentionally fermented. This process occurs naturally within the raw material itself at some stages of production, but the degree of oxidation of the finished product is minimal.
In Japan, handfuls of dried leaves are sent to steam drums, and in China they are placed on huge hot pans for 30 seconds. The enzymatic cell juice of the raw material is deactivated and fixed in the tea leaf. What does it mean? Inside the plant, the process of oxidation does not start, so the tea retains its natural color and rich nutritional composition.
The final stage is drying. The sheets are dried and sorted at the same time. The product must match in color, structure, shape and size. In the course of sorting, tea dust, screenings and broken pieces are sifted out.
Useful properties of the drink
Green tea is a stronger antioxidant compared to black. It contains the following components:
- polyphenols, including catechins;
- ascorbic acid ;
- minerals ( manganese, chromium, selenium, zinc );
- photochemical compounds.
All of these substances help reduce the risk of developing heart and vascular disease, prevent tooth decay, the formation of kidney stones and cancer cells.
The American Heart Association conducted a five-year study of nearly 2,000 people with a history of acute myocardial infarction. It was found that drinking several cups of green tea a day reduces the risk of death after a second heart attack by 44%. Green tea extract stimulates fat oxidation through caffeine and polyphenols. The result is an acceleration of metabolism by 4% without additional stress on the heart.
Representatives of Hong Kong University proved that catechins from green tea are absorbed by the lens, retina and other parts of the organs of vision. Catechins additionally protect the eyes and reduce oxidative stress in 20 hours. The drink can increase visual acuity and prevent the development of glaucoma.
The Israel Institute of Technology conducted its own study and found that the main antioxidant in tea, EGCG, fights Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. In addition, it was found that tea has an antimicrobial effect and inhibits the development of infectious inflammation.
Cheerfulness and energy
Green tea really invigorates much better than coffee. Why? The composition of this drink is more complex and, in addition to caffeine, contains tannins. Such a complex has a milder effect on the human body than "heavy" caffeine. The effect of the combination of substances appears gradually. The shock dose of caffeine is distributed to many body systems, unlike coffee. Coffee hits the human nervous system, but this powerful hit quickly loses its effect. Tea, on the contrary, envelops gently, but for a long time.
That is why after coffee there is a tangible boost of energy, and a cup of green tea quietly does its job.
The effect is possible only if natural green tea is consumed in traditional concentration.
Iced green tea can not only quench your thirst in the summer, but also protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. The composition of the drink contains an abundance of antioxidants that will take care of the level of moisture and sun protection. This effect can only be achieved with proper tea brewing. The liquid temperature should be 80°C. You can accurately measure the temperature using a special thermometer or a smart kettle by setting the necessary parameters.
Impact on the psycho-emotional state
Green tea is able to regulate the concentration of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. This drink helps relieve anxiety and additionally protects the brain from possible stress. L-theanine, present in green tea, improves mood and helps the muscle system to relax.
Important: lowering cortisol levels with green tea is possible only in the absence of serious diseases of the nervous system.
Acceleration of metabolism
Green tea helps to speed up metabolism and additionally saturates the body with catechins - useful antioxidants. The combination of physical activity and green tea significantly reduces body fat, leading to harmonious weight loss and improved well-being. It is important to drink a drink without sugar and additional sweeteners, otherwise the effect of losing weight is reduced to zero.
Is there a daily allowance of green tea
There are no clear guidelines regarding the dosage of green tea. For example, scientists from Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh) conducted an experiment. Participants were asked to drink four cups of green tea daily for two weeks. The subjects were healthy students and researchers aged 19 to 37 years. The result is a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, a decrease in the concentration of cholesterol, minimization of body fat and total body weight.
The American College of Gastroenterology guidelines state that you should not drink more than 720 ml of green tea per day. Otherwise, deterioration of the liver and the development of organ diseases are possible.
The state partially regulates this issue and prohibits the production of medicines in which the concentration of catechins exceeds 500 mg. But such tablets and dietary supplements are still on the market, so the question remains open.
So what to do? If you have no health problems, then drink as much green tea as your heart desires. Learn to understand your own body and stop immediately after saturation. If you have specific diseases, then consult your doctor. He will be able to choose the optimal dose of your favorite drink in each individual case.
Which is better: loose leaf tea or tea bags?
Recognizing leaf tea in a cup is not difficult, but the powder in the bag can be anything. Tea bags most often consist of a mixture of several plant varieties from different plantations. One sachet can contain up to five different ingredients. The average layman will not be able to distinguish the contents of the bag, but the tea professional will easily point out all the varieties that have been crushed.
Why sell a blend of tea instead of a single variety? A combination of several varieties will definitely give a stable result - a recognizable taste and bright aroma. It is these characteristics that are important for a branded product. Moreover, tea leaves from different plantations may vary in quality. To make up for the differences, companies began to combine several ingredients. The formula of such tea is unstable and can change in different directions even daily. But the average consumer will not feel the difference at all - the taste and color will remain the same.
Not all manufacturers go to plantations to fully control the production process. One tea bag contains approximately 2 g of raw materials. One gram is high-quality tea, but instead of the second, they can put garbage. It depends on the region of tea growing, quality control, collection method, as well as the composition of the tea leaf itself.
A company that values its reputation will not use low-quality filler, but even flawless leaders have force majeure. In leaf tea, it is much easier to track down the same garbage; in packaged it is impossible to do this.
Loose tea and tea bags can be made from identical raw materials. One sheet is crushed into pieces of the required size, then they are automatically separated and packed into different containers. Small particles give off taste and aroma faster and more intensively after contact with hot liquid. Why?
Juice comes out from the cut leaf. The finer the sheet is cut, the greater the area of oxidation and, accordingly, the strength. A tea bag drink will always be more intense than loose leaf tea.
Interestingly, the concentration of raw materials in the sachet is based on one standard 200 ml cup.
Many people like to go to tea shops to smell the teas and make decisions based on the scent. But does it make sense? No, none. The smell that comes from the collection does not belong to tea leaves, but to flavorings.
Manufacturers generally do not add artificial colors or fragrance enhancers. For this, natural ingredients are used, for example, hibiscus. It simultaneously enhances the aroma of the drink and colors it in a bright red hue.
Natural ingredients such as essential oils and artificial ingredients such as special food sprays are used as flavors. They are used only if the natural flavor does not cope with its task.
The specifics of the drink
Leaf tea makes the drink lighter, and bagged tea makes it strong and intense. Tea bags contain a high concentration of tannins. These are tannins that help the liquid absorb the taste faster, and then turn it into bitterness.
Important: do not neglect the brewing rules that are indicated on the package. Only by resorting to the help of the instructions can you get the perfect balance of taste, aroma and structure.
The advantage of loose leaf tea is that its taste does not change after brewing. Packaged in just a few minutes, it starts to taste bitter, but this will not happen with a sheet. Loose tea is perfect for a calm and leisurely pastime, and bagged tea is perfect for a quick start to the morning or a break at work.
Important: an oily film indicates the quality of water, not tea. The film is formed only in an excessively hard liquid and does not depend in any way on the variety / quality of the tea leaf.
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