Matcha Tea a powdered version of green tea is getting a lot of buzz and boasts some serious health benefits. There’s no question that green tea offers numerous benefits, but matcha takes it up to a whole new level.
This powdered green tea on which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies are built upon boasts some serious health benefits like no other food or drink can. From antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins to minerals, matcha is truly the king of green teas.
What is matcha?
Simply put, matcha is a fine powder made from whole ground tea leaves with a distinctive bright green colour. But unlike traditional green tea, the process of growing, harvesting and preparing the tea leaves to create this tea is much more labour intensive. Roughly 6 weeks before harvest, the tea plants are covered with black vinyl sheets. This is done to boost the plants’ chlorophyll and amino acid levels which gives matcha its intense umami rich flavour. The leaves are hand picked, steamed briefly to stop the fermentation process, then laid out to air dry and aged in cold storage to further deepen its flavour profile. Finally the dried leaves are finely milled into a delicate powder.
The result? You end up consuming the entire leaf! In comparison to other green teas such as sencha or hojicha, you’re only drinking the dissolvable elements that the leaves infuse into the water. In a nutshell, matcha offers all the health benefits of green tea and then some! In fact, a cup of matcha has three times the antioxidants of traditional green tea.
What are the health benefits of matcha?
Hundreds of studies have been carried out on matcha and its components and over time have unearthed a variety of health benefits. Check out below some of the best benefits of drinking this super tea!
Packed with Antioxidants
Matchan is packed with catechins which are a class of plant compounds that act as natural antioxidants. What do antioxidants do exactly? They help stabilize free radicals that can damage cells and cause a number of chronic diseases.So when you add matcha powder to hot water to make tea, the tea contains all the nutrients from the entire leaf. This means that matcha will have more catechins and antioxidants than traditional green tea leaves that are steeped in water.
In fact, studies have shown that the number of certain catechins in matcha is at least three times higher than most green tea. By adding matcha to your diet can significantly increase your antioxidant intake which can help the body protect itself against cell damage and lower your risk of chronic diseases.
Supports your Liver
The liver is vital to leading a healthy life and plays a central role in flushing out toxins, metabolising drugs, and even processing nutrients. A number of studies have found that matcha may help protect the health of your liver. This study gave diabetic rats matcha for 16 weeks and found that it helped prevent damage to both the kidneys and liver. Another study gave 80 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease either a placebo or 500 milligrams of green tea extract daily for 3 months. At the end of the period, the results of the study showed that green tea extract significantly reduced liver enzyme levels which are often markers of liver damage.
May Improve Cognitive Performance
There’s a plethora of research studiest that indicate that several components found in matcha may help enhance cognitive function.
One study carried out in 23 people looked at how they performed on a series of tasks designed to measure their cognitive performance. A few participants either consumed matcha tea or a bar containing four grams of matcha, while a control group consumed a placebo tea or bar. The researchers were amazed to find that that matcha caused clear improvements in attention, reaction time, and memory compared to that of the placebo group.
However, it’s important to note that matcha contains a higher concentrated amount of caffeine than green tea. Multiple studies have linked caffeine consumption to improvements in cognitive performance.
Matcha also contains a compound called L-theanine, which alters the effects of caffeine, promoting alertness and helping avoid the crash in energy levels that can often follow caffeine consumption.
Could Promote Weight Loss
If you take a look at any weight loss supplement and it’s highly likely that you’ll see a green tea extract listed in the ingredients. Green tea is known for its ability to enhance weight loss, at least slightly. S tudies show that it may help speed up metabolism to increase energy expenditure and
boost fat burning. You should note however, that this effect is mino and it’s by no means a miracle remedy for shedding those extra kilos!
How can I unlock these health benefits?
You can benefit from all the goodness of matcha by either drinking it daily as a hot tea or trendy latte. In fact, there’s no shortage of creative uses for this green miracle powder. You can add it to pancakes, cookies, blend it into smoothies and even use it as topping for popcorn! The sky’s the limit with what you can do with matcha powder. Traditionally, matcha is prepared with hot water and a bamboo whisk known as a chasen. This whisk is used to froth up the mixture and create a beautifully smooth and creamy texture. Whether you choose to go back to the ancient ways of drinking this emerald coloured tea or fuse it into a modern concoction is completely up to you!
However, we do recommend sticking to high grade matcha for the best flavour and health benefits. Here are some of our favourite Japanese tea providers sourcing the best matcha tea grown in Uji, Japan.
Sazen – A Kyoto based tea house that takes pride in providing the creme de la creme of Japanese teas to the world.
Ippodo Tea – Located in the heart of Tokyo, Ippodo Tea has been providing the highest quality Japanese green tea for over three centuries. You could say they know a thing or two about tea!
Hibiki-An – Surrounded by the rolling hills of Uji where the Japanese tradition of green tea cultivation began over a millenia ago, Hibiki-An sources their tea straight from the tea plantations of Uji. No middleman, just you and a team of passionate tea cultivators and connoisseurs.