Tea consumption healthy but polluted

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in teas – Current consumption recommendationsThe German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) detects pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) in teas using a recognized method.

In high doses, these alkaloids can acutely lead to liver damage. In animal experiments, certain PAs have proven to be carcinogenic and mutagenic. "According to this, the amounts of PAs found in foods (herbal teas, rooibos tea, black and green tea, and honey) can be harmful to the health of both children and adults if ingested over a long period of time (chronically). There is no acute health risk", according to the current assessment of the BfR.

This also applies to pregnant women and nursing mothers. In studies, PA levels were tested for contamination by the flowers and leaves of the common ragwort (Senecio vulgaris L.) and other PA-containing weeds. These are therefore undesirable in food and animal feed The BfR is therefore calling on the tea-producing companies to reduce the load.

The European Commission and member states are currently discussing limits for certain foods such as tea and herbal tea, food supplements, pollen and pollen products, and certain herbs/spices.

The consumption recommendation of the BfR

"Parents are advised not to offer only herbal teas and teas to their children until PA levels have been minimized by food business operators. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume herbal teas and teas alternately with other beverages until then. This also applies to people who meet their predominant daily fluid needs with herbal tea".

Pollutant load

Pesticide residues are a problem in tea cultivation. Green teas, which are considered to be healthy, are often particularly contaminated. Green teas usually come from China, where more pesticides are sprayed than in other growing areas, such as India.

Residue controls

Foodstuffs that exceed the legally defined maximum levels are not marketable and may not be sold. For the assessment of herbal tea and tea in Germany, the authorities of the federal states responsible for food monitoring have agreed on intervention values that ensure uniform enforcement.

There are no legal maximum levels for pesticides in flavored tea. Only the basic ingredients – i.e. the tea and the lemon or fruit pieces for the aroma – must meet the respective threshold values.

Risks from harmful substances in beverages can best be avoided by drinking a variety of teas and alternating between different types of tea. In addition, in the case of loose teas, you can also ask the sellers whether residue controls have been carried out.

What is green tea?

Green tea consists of non-fermented, dried leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. Whether tea is black or green does not depend on the variety, but on the way it is processed. Fermented means that the leaves are pressed, thereby the cell walls of the leaves break open and cell juice comes out. As soon as it comes into contact with air, fermentation begins. This extracts bitter substances from the leaves and makes them durable. At the same time they change color. Turn dark brown to black. For
green tea the tea leaves are treated with superheated steam before drying, which gives them their olive green color. The infusions are very bright in the cup. Green tea contains more tannins than black tea and therefore tastes more bitter. Well known are the teas from China, Japan and Taiwan.

White tea
It comes from the same plant as green or black tea. However, the buds and leaves are only slightly fermented and thus less processed than the other types of tea. What are fruits-. Herbal teas?Fruits and herbal teas are natural products made from dried parts of the plant. In contrast to "real" tea, they contain no caffeine. Basically, all parts of the plant may be processed.

Some examples:

Leaves: Rooibos bush, lemon balm, peppermint
Fruits: Sea buckthorn, rosehip
Flowers and buds: Elderberry, lime blossom, yarrow, peppermint
Seed: Anise, fennel
Rinds: Cinnamon
Roots: Ginger

Rooibos Tea

Since trade relations with South Africa have been growing with the end of apartheid, it has also been making a career in Europe, rooibos ("red bush"), the national drink there. The tea is made from the flowers and leaves of the South African shrub Aspalathus linearis. The tea bush grows wild on the native soils from time immemorial. It tastes mild. Is also suitable for children.

Boldo leaves

An exotic specialty are the leaves of the Boldo bush from Chile. The plant is also called the chamomile of South America, because it has a similar effect. According to the Economic Association of Herbs and Fruits Tea e.V. the leaves are said to be particularly digestible. They are used more and more. Give already today some herbal tea mixture a spicy note.

The supply:

Tea is offered either mainly loose, but also in tea bags or as a quick-dissolving powder. Organic teas are over 5 percent of the market, but fair trade varieties are also popular. In organic herbal teas, the raw materials are either organically grown or wild-collected.

Very new are teas that can also be infused with cold water. To do this, the tea leaves must first be subjected to heat treatment to kill unwanted bacteria. Aroma enrichment is common. There are no studies on this yet.

The right preparation

Many tea drinkers appreciate the patina that results when the teapot or cup is rinsed only with clear water. The taste is said to be enhanced. Rinse, however, should be at the latest when changing varieties, otherwise the flavors mix. The preparation of green tea and herbal tea differs mainly in the temperature of the water.

Preparation of green tea

Dose sparingly, 3-4 teaspoons per liter is enough.

Boil water
green tea can be brewed with slightly cooled (65 to 75 degrees Celsius) or boiling water, depending on preference.

Steep tea
A stimulating, tasty tea brews for no more than three and a half minutes. Longer drawn tea calms, but the taste suffers from the bitter tannins

Preparation of herbal and fruit teas

The dosage
For one to two cups, one to two teaspoons are usually enough or. one to two tea bags. On the packaging are usually also notes on the correct amount. Generally, the more tea, the more intense the flavor. But: the individual taste decides. At least as important as the quality of the herb-. Fruit teas themselves is the quality of the water. Stale water or water that has been boiled too long gives the infusion a bland taste. Best: use fresh, preferably low-calcium water. Bring the water to a bubbling boil. Infuse immediately.

Steep tea
Herbal or fruit tea should infuse between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on the variety. It is best to steep the tea in a preheated pot and stir it several times in between. Freshly prepared it tastes best. Rosehip tea is left to steep until the desired intensity is obtained.

Hot water dispensers are unsuitable

For herbal teas – whether loose or as tea bags – it is imperative that they are poured over with bubbling, boiling water and the specified steeping time should be observed.

In rare cases, herbal tea blends may contain germs, such as salmonella, which are killed by sufficient heating. If prepared incorrectly, they can become a health risk, especially for children.

In its assessment of hot water dispensers for herbal tea infusions, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) therefore advises against infusing herbal tea with water from hot water dispensers at a temperature of 80-85°C.

Similarly, infused herbal tea should not be left to stand for several hours. Boiling water kills germs, but spores present in the tea do not. They can germinate in warm water.

Is tea healthy?

Absolutely in the trend are fruit teas with spices, fennel with anise and and turmeric, mandarin or, ginger. Flavored green tea, for example with vanilla, lemon or ginger, is also a popular purchase. The wellness wins-. Lifestyle aspect of tea more and more important. Tea also plays an important role in Contribution to hydration and offers a lot for the health.

Green tea and health

Is green tea a liquid robber?

According to the latest and numerous study results, black and green tea are no longer called liquid robbers. In the liquid balance can black-. green tea like any other beverage to be counted. Tea drinkers appreciate the stimulating. Calming effect of the infusion. The caffeine contained in tea is in bound form and is released only slowly. So it can not hit the stomach, has a slower but longer effect. In addition, tea directly invigorates the brain. the central nervous system. In addition, tea contains the soothing tannin – the more the longer the infusion brews.

Tannins, however, hinder the absorption of iron, which is present in food. A cup of tea can reduce iron absorption by up to 50%, therefore it is not recommended to drink green tea with main meals. Here bring fruits. Herbal teas variety.

Tea contains a lot of fluoride with 3-5 cups of tea you cover the recommended daily amount. Fluoride strengthens bones. Is necessary in the prevention of caries. In addition, tea is rich in potassium and contains vitamins B1 and B2.

Green and white tea is said to have a health-promoting effect due to its polyphenol content. Polyphenols are among the antioxidants. They make free radicals harmless. Strengthen the immune system.

Fruit and herbal tea and health

Effects – an overview

Effect Peppermint Against flatulence, cramps and nausea, soothes, against colds Chamomile Sleeping potion, soothing, antibacterial effect Hibiscus Appetite stimulant, against colds, mild laxative Nettle Draining, diuretic, tonic Fennel Against flatulence, cramps, nausea and abdominal pain, anti-inflammatory

(Varies according to AID and nutritional theory and practice)

Rooibos tea is considered particularly healthy, because it contains a lot of vitamin C, as well as valuable minerals and trace elements. It is caffeine-. Tannin-free.

Image sources:

Panthermedia: Tea cup, tea cups and teapot Wirtschaftsvereinigung Krauter- und Fruchtetee e.V. (tea glasses) German Tea Association (green tea, chamomile harvest)

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The Free State of Bavaria provides independent, science-based information on consumer protection on this website. Individual case-related legal information. Unfortunately, we cannot offer personal counseling. We are also not allowed to warn companies that behave in an anti-competitive way ourselves. If you still have questions about your specific case, please contact the contact points listed under Service.

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