It’s not shocking or breaking news that there are benefits to sipping a hot cup of herbal tea on a regular basis. Shops, sites, and celebrities have not been quiet about the power of teas–green teas especially. And for the last few years, the worship of tea has only gotten stronger with the recent gushing over Matcha green tea.
What is Matcha green tea?
Matcha green tea is considered a very high quality, brightly colored green tea. It gets its bright color during the growing process. Before harvesting the tea, it is covered, resulting in a more vibrant green. After being picked it is ground and sealed (Tea expert, Sebastian Beckwith).
It is pronounced MA-cha and is not news to Japanese culture. It has been a part of their tradition for thousands of years and remains a highly respected drink in Japan. Matcha green tea comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis. This shrub plant is native to China and actually produces various types of tea leaves. The tea’s outcome depends on where the shrub is grown and details of the bushes processing (One Green Planet).
Matcha green tea is unlike the green tea we’re accustomed to in a few ways:
- It is far less processed. The leaves are shaded during growing, which keeps a lot of the nutrients in the leaves.
- It’s a powder. The difference in appearance between Matcha and regular green tea is quite obvious. Regular green tea comes in the form of greenish-brown dried leaves, whereas Matcha is a shockingly green ground powder.
- It requires only warm water. Matcha doesn’t need boiling water like other teas. There are no ‘wasted’ leaves in this way, giving you more nutrients in the end (One Green Planet).
Benefits of Matcha Green Tea?
Because Matcha tea began as a ceremonial tea, the benefits can be a bit more sentimental than other drinks. Its special history gives it an inherent benefit of granting a feeling of coziness and self-reflection, that is if the drinker is mindful enough to acknowledge the tea’s proud history.
Need we say more? Well, if you haven’t already heard; antioxidants are those special little contents in the things we eat and drink, that work against the damage that UV radiation can do, prevent many deadly diseases, and may even help our skin to look a few years younger. They are what helps some foods earn the title of superfoods. And these super substances are found in five times bigger doses in Matcha green tea than in any other food.
Super packed with Catechins and EGCg
Okay, so just a little more on antioxidants. Matcha Green Tea is lucky enough to house Catechins—considered the best of the antioxidants. They have the highest potency and are said to be the most beneficial, too. Over half of Matcha green tea’s antioxidants are of the category epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg). This is an antioxidant famous for its cancer-fighting abilities. And Matcha green tea has been discovered to have 100 times more of these super-cancer-fighting antioxidants than any tea for sale out there.
A smart sort of calm
If you are already a drinker of Matcha green tea, you may have already felt, noticed, and perhaps raved about the special sort of calm you’ve achieved after sipping this tasty green cup of tea. Matcha green tea contains the amino acid L-Theanine. This amino acid encourages the brain to produce alpha waves. These waves help ease us into relaxation. But unlike other relaxing things we ingest, these don’t leave us drowsy. This is precisely why Japanese Zen Buddhists and Chinese Daoists drank their tea of the Matcha variety. They could calm their minds while still maintain enough focus to meditate and stay alert.
Good moods, Good memories
L-Theanine is a good friend to have around. The amino acid also helps the brain to produce dopamine and serotonin. These are chemicals that are responsible for our mood, memory, and concentration. The production of them helps to enhance our experience of all. So if final exams have you stressed, Matcha green tea will not only lift your spirits, it may help you to get the grade you hope for!
Energy and Endurance with no strings attached
It’s no wonder that Samurais used this green power tea before battle. Matcha Green Tea gives a unique energy boost. It has caffeine, naturally, but the energy comes from the special pairings of its other contents. Expect around six hours of endurance from a serving of Matcha Green Tea. L-Theanine ensures that the tea doesn’t give you those pesky, nervous side-effects that so often accompany other energy supplements.
Some Matcha fans couldn’t care less about its super benefits. Some drink the tea purely for its taste. It can be boiled and enjoyed in its purest form, simply the Matcha powder; or in a variety (and the list is growing) of modern mixes, lattes, and gourmet concoctions. The drink’s taste in its traditional form has been compared to spinach, grass, or even umami.
Matcha Green Tea is rumored, with studies suggesting the rumors are true, that it can increase metabolism and even assist the body in burning more fat. And not just a little bit more, Matcha green tea can supposedly help the body to burn fat at a rate five times that of normal. That’s quite the diet drink. And best of all, it doesn’t come with the adverse, and sometimes very dangerous, side effects that tend to tag along with diet options.
Matcha Green tea has very high levels of chlorophyll. The chlorophyll helps to make Matcha green tea stand out both visually and nutritionally. It gives Matcha green tea a stunning green color and also the ability to work as a detox. It cleanses the body by removing, naturally of course, unwanted metals and even toxins.
If you’re just looking for a bit of a healthy edge to your regular life, you’ll definitely get that (at the very least) from this inspiring little drink. It has been said and shown that Matcha green tea can encourage an overall healthy existence thanks to its antibiotic characteristics. Even more, it has potassium, Iron, Calcium, Vitamins A and C, to further aid your overall health. There is even hope in that some studies have claimed that Matcha could have power against HIV’s brutal damage of T-cells in the human body.
Mysterious Cholesterol Control
Even through scientists can’t really say why, there is some evidence to show that loyal drinkers of Matcha Green Tea also have beneficially lower LDL cholesterol levels while simultaneously having higher levels of the good type of cholesterol (HDL). It has been shown that male Matcha green tea drinkers may even lower their chances of getting heart disease than those who don’t sip on this tasty green potion.
Now that you’ve heard the long list (and there’s more!) of benefits, are you considering yourself in on the Matcha craze or at least open-minded enough to try? Here are a few recipes collected, shared, and recommended by Cosmopolitan magazine to get you started. Use these if you’re not quite ready to drink Matcha green tea straight; if you’re turned off by the grassiness; or if you’d just prefer a new twist on an old tradition.
Cosmopolitan recommends a tasty Matcha smoothie by Love and Lemons. Ingredients required are: bananas, almond milk, vanilla, a drop of honey, and of course Matcha. This smoothie is packed with flavor, despite its humble and healthy recipe list.
Green Tea Ice Cream
Yes, you read correctly. You can get the amazing benefits of Matcha in ice cream. There’s no excuse now. Karen’s Kitchen Stories. You’ll need an ice cream maker and these ingredients:
- Matcha powder
- Whole milk
- heavy cream, divided
And now you have more than enough to get you started on your Matcha journey, should you choose to travel it. Be sure to, as always, consult your physician before making any large-scale changes to your diet or exercise.
- Dr. Weil, Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea – An Interview with Tea Expert Sebastian Beckwith, online.
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories, Green Tea Ice Cream, 2014, online.
- Love and Lemons, Matcha Vanilla Smoothies, (online)
- One Green Planet, Matcha Green Tea: A Superfood to Supercharge You!, 2014, online.
- Stark, Elizabeth, Cosmopolitan, 11 Deliciously Addictive Matcha Green Tea Recipes, 2014, online.
- Image Source: wikipedia.org