Status: 29.11.2023, 14:32 PM
By: Cefina Gomez
Wait and see? There is nothing wrong with this motto. After all, the hot drink is considered healthy. But it's all in the mix.
Frankfurt – In winter everyday life, it is considered a faithful companion for many people, in the flu season there is no way around it - we are talking about tea. If you want to do something good for yourself, you should bring variety to the cup. According to experts, drinking the same type of tea every day does not have a particularly positive effect on health – quite the opposite.
Too much of a good thing: the same type of tea in a continuous loop? Better not, experts advise
It's not just bacteria, viruses or germs that can make you sick. The supposedly harmless cup of tea can also be hazardous to health if consumed in excess. According to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), individual types of tea contain elevated levels of the plant ingredient pyrrolizidine alkaloids. This is a natural substance that is produced by plants for their own protection. According to the consumer advice centre, it enters food rather by chance, as the plants that produce the substance are harvested as weeds.
However, if consumed in high doses over a long period of time, the substance can damage the liver. Animal experiments have also shown that the substance can change the genetic material in the cells and thus promote the development of cancer cells. Large amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids can be harmful to everyone, but according to experts, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women are particularly at risk. Current measurements have shown that the substance can be found more abundantly, especially in rooibos tea and herbal tea varieties.
Since December 2020, there have been legally defined maximum levels for the plant ingredient pyrrolizidine alkaloids in certain teas, herbs and food supplements in the European Union. Accordingly, the value in herbal teas must not exceed 200 micrograms per kilogram, 400 micrograms per kilogram applies to rooibos, anise, lemon balm, chamomile, thyme, peppermint, lemon verbena and 150 for flavored tea. The requirements have been in effect since July 1, 2022.
Source: ConsumerCentral Office
However, other residues can also get into the tea bag through the use of pesticides on the tea plantation or through residues in the soil. In 2019, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety proved that just under 10 percent of the residues in black and green tea are above the maximum value set by law.
Minimise the risk of harmful plant substances in tea – it's all in the mixture
In order to reduce the risk of irreversible damage to health when consuming tea, the BfR recommends varying the varieties, especially for people who cover the majority of their fluid requirements with tea. Especially with herbal teas, variety is recommended. In addition, different manufacturers are also advised.
Why you shouldn't make your tea selection too monotonous. © Sebastian Willnow/dpa
By using ready-made tea infusions or enjoying organic products, the unwanted absorption of residues can be avoided. However, the correct preparation is not insignificant, so you should always pay attention to the instructions.
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These teas invite you to change things up and get you through the cold winter days
At the first flu symptoms, experts advise supporting the immune system with tea. If you have trouble sleeping, it is a good idea to rely on calming medicinal herbs such as chamomile or ashwagandha.
Green tea and black tea contain the substance fluorine, which not only strengthens tooth enamel, but also contributes to wrinkle reduction and cancer prevention. However, these teas are not recommended before going to bed – they contain the stimulant caffeine.
Especially in winter, experts recommend mate. The tea from South America not only helps the immune system, but also promotes fat loss through its invigorating effect. Therefore, it is also considered a healthier alternative to coffee. (cg)