For years we have heard about the amazing health benefits of drinking green tea regularly — from weight loss to fighting off free radical damage. For many of you, matcha green tea is probably a new type of tea, but this lush emerald green tea has been consumed by meditating Buddhist monks for centuries — largely due to its ability to provide calm, focused energy for up to 6 hours!
Matcha’s super powers don’t stop there – loaded with antioxidants, some call matcha the elixir of youth. Antioxidants are the superheroes of the anti-aging world as they help the body defend against free radical damage. Read on to learn all about the amazing health benefits of my personal favorite tea, matcha!
Tea Benefits: Key terms and active compounds
- Antioxidant: Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen and or reactive nitrogen species. Oxidative damage to the body, cells and tissues may contribute to premature aging and diseases like cancer and heart disease.
- Phytochemicals: Phytochemicals are a broad category of naturally occurring plant compounds that are thought to play a role in decreasing the risk of cancer and heart disease and may boost the immune system.
- Flavonoids: Flavonoids are a type of phytochemical found in tea that are effective antioxidants.
- Flavonols: Flavonols are a subgroup of flavonoids found in tea and many fruits and vegetables that are antioxidants and are thought to contribute to some of the potential health benefits in these plant foods. They include rutin, quercetin and kaempferol.
- Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG): EGCG is the principal catechin or phenol in green and black tea. EGCG is a strong antioxidant and has been shown to reduce formation of lung, esophageal and skin tumors in animal models of human cancer. Black tea contains much lower concentrations of EGCG than green tea.
- Theanine: Theanine is an amino acid commonly found in tea that can cross the blood-brain barrier, therefore has psychoactive properties. It may reduce mental and physical stress, and may produce feelings of relaxation by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine, and alpha wave activity.
Matcha Benefits – A Superfood With Superpowers
For those who aren’t familiar with this super tea, welcome to the amazing world of matcha.
So, what is matcha green tea powder? Matcha green tea is pretty much regular green tea… on steroids. Matcha is a preparation of green tea leaves that have been dried and stone ground into a fine powder — which means when you drink matcha you are actually eating the whole green tea leaf, instead of just the steeped tea leaves in water.
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Matcha comes in a variety of different grades, ranging from the lowest grade used for cooking, baking, and smoothies, up to ceremonial grade which has the highest level of amino acids. You can usually tell the quality of a matcha by how green it is – the deeper/brighter the green, the higher the quality. Lower quality or oxidized matcha has a distinctive hay-like smell and a dull brownish-green color.
Matcha Health Benefits Include:
- Energy and mental alertness
- Antioxidant support
- Weightloss (12, 13, 14)
- Heart health + Cholesterol-lowering
Mood and anxiety
- L-theanine is a potent amino acid that’s primarily found in teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant. L-theanine acts as a relaxing agent or anxiolytic without sedative effects or any of the negative side effects of Xanax.
- L-theanine works somewhat similarly to Xanax by interacting with brain receptors and increasing dopamine, GABA, and glycinelevels in various areas of the brain (19, 20, 21)
- Improve insulin sensitivity (22, 23)
- Brain health:
Skin health + Anti-aging:
- When applied topically (onto the skin itself), green tea polyphenols have been shown to provide protection against damages caused by UVA and UVB exposure in the sun, which inhibits cancer development and slows aging of the skin. (24)
Although matcha is caffeinated, you won’t experience the same type of energy crash or jitters that you get when you drink coffee or energy drinks. This is due to a powerful compound contained in matcha called L-theanine that changes the way caffeine is used in the body.
The magic happens when the amino acid L-theanine in matcha binds with caffeine to slow its breakdown in the bloodstream producing a sustainable, non-jittery energy without the crash. This double benefit of L-theanine naturally promotes relaxation while simultaneously improving concentration.
1gm of matcha contains around 20-35 mg of caffeine, compared to 70-200mg of caffeine in a medium cup of coffee. I personally use roughly 2g of matcha/cup (I like a big cup in the morning), for a total of around 40-70 mg of stabilized caffeine per cup.
How To Make Matcha
Using matcha daily is easy — you can make a cup of matcha hot, iced, or even add a tsp of matcha to your morning smoothie!
- Water Temperature: 180 F degrees
- Steep Time: 3 min
- Suggested Serving Size: 1/4 tsp per 6-8oz of water
- Additional tip: use a bamboo whisk in a matcha bowl to whisk your cup to perfection
- Simply take 1/4 tsp of organic matcha and add to a shallow bowl.
- Pour 1/3 cup nearly boiling water over the matcha and whisk until frothy and no clumps appear.
- Top the rest of the cup up with hot water and that’s it!
- OPTIONAL: You can also add some manuka honey and coconut cream, or milk of your choice for extra flavor and sweetness.
Here’s a handy video to show you a more traditional way of making a hot cup of matcha:
So if you’re looking start adding matcha to your daily routine to reap it’s amazing health benefits you can purchase some HERE!
Happy whisking 🙂
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