It is surprising that a drink so accessible, tasty and easy to prepare can produce such positive effects on the body and at the same time provide such a comforting sensation.
Green tea is for us it is a recent discovery, a companion of pleasant moments that conquers us sip by sip, but in the East it is one of the fibers that weaves life, intimately linked to men for almost 5,000 years, and a part important to your culture.
The main tea producing countries are China and India, well ahead of Sri Lanka, Kenya, Indonesia, Turkey and Japan. Fewer than ten countries make green tea, with China leading the way.
The Japanese case is curious because it occupies the second place, but it only exports 2%, mainly to the United States, and even imports from other countries to cover its remarkable demand.
Green tea properties
As a non-sugary drink, it is calorie-free and contains no protein, fat or carbohydrates. Its richness is treasured in the form of vitamins, such as A, C and E, some of the B complex, and trace elements such as manganese (1.5 mg per cup), fluorine, zinc and copper, which it contributes in small amounts, since a cup is prepared with only 2 g of dried leaves.
But, above all, in a group of substances with an extraordinary antioxidant capacity that are attracting more and more attention in scientific studies: polyphenols, also present in fruits and vegetables, although in smaller quantities. This happens in particular with a type of polyphenols called catechins, responsible for its protective power.
Catechins are the polyphenols or tannins responsible for the genuine taste and protective power of green tea. One of them, EGCG or epigallocatechin-3-gallate, is shown to be very active.
EGCG is a substance 20 times more antioxidant than vitamin E and 100 times more than vitamin C, proving effective in preventing certain types of cancer and maintaining good cardiovascular health.
A MILD STIMULANT
The caffeine or theine content of a cup of green tea can be half that of black tea, one-third that of a cola drink and one-eighth that of a coffee, but it should still be taken in moderation.
Matcha (Japanese green tea powder) is the presentation with the highest caffeine content (and also antioxidants).
Health benefits of green tea
HEALTH BENEFITS OF GREEN TEA
The latest research indicates that several cups a day have a long-term preventive effect on various diseases.
IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION
Green tea promotes alertness and sharpens your intellectual abilities. This is due to the properties of caffeine, which in tea is accompanied by l-theanine and does not produce the annoying nervousness of an espresso coffee.
And not only does it improve the functioning of the brain, but it also prevents its degeneration and the development of neurological diseases such as Parkinson”s and Alzheimer”s.
IT FAVORS THE COMBUSTION OF FATS
The compounds in green tea stimulate the metabolism (17% more) and favor the conversion of fats into calories. That is why green tea is usually present in commercial products to burn fat and lose weight.
IMPROVES PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE
The effect on metabolism means that the body is able to obtain more energy (4% more) when it needs it, for example, during intense sports activity (performance increases between 11 and 12%).
REDUCES THE RISK OF CERTAIN TYPES OF CANCER
The antioxidant properties of green tea are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer (20-30% less), prostate (48% less), and colorectal (42% less).
PREVENTS CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
Heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in European countries. Green tea prevents it because it acts positively on the main risk factors: total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides.
Green tea in the kitchen
GREEN TEA IN KITCHEN
The tea bush has two varieties: Cammelia sinensis and Cammelia assamica. Its harvest is one of the most important operations in the production process and on which its quality depends to a great extent.
There are three basic types of tea: green, semi-fermented, and black. The difference lies in the way they are processed.
If you want to experiment with green tea leaves as a culinary ingredient, just cook them for 20 minutes and they will be ready to be added to the recipe, but they are nothing special and they are also expensive to use as a vegetable. Even so, the most colorful recipes with green tea are sorbets, fruit salads and syrups, since its bitter taste combines well with sweets and is more familiar to the palate.
PURCHASE AND CONSERVATION
Once purchased, it is essential to store the tea in a dark, cool and dry place, and in a container that closes hermetically (cans are optimal). Otherwise it will lose its aroma and flavor, as well as its medicinal properties.
HOW TO PREPARE GREEN TEA
- The classic way to prepare green tea is to boil the water and let it cool for ten minutes so that the temperature drops to 70-80 ºC.
- The water cannot be from the tap, as chlorine and other elements would affect its taste and properties. The most indicated is the natural mineral poor in sodium and calcium.
- The kettle is heated before pouring the water into it so that the temperature does not drop sharply.
- The dose of tea is one level teaspoon – approximately 2 g – per cup.
- Most varieties should sit for 2 to 3 minutes. During this time we will be able to observe how the leaves unfold and release the beneficial and tasty substances they contain.
- Then it is passed through a filter (better cloth than metallic) and the tea will already be prepared. If you wish, you can add a little whole cane (in large crystals), although it is not necessary.
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