Are you wondering what Matcha tea is and why is everyone going gaga over it? Are you wondering what is so unique about this tea? Stay tuned till the end to find everything about Matcha tea- the trending darling in the world of teas.
Matcha tea is basically a specific variety of Green tea that is prepared slightly differently from the rest of the others. The common factor between Matcha and the other Green teas is that both are leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. So, what makes Matcha more special? It's the shade, the caffeine, the taste, and the fact that it's powdered!
The tea bushes are really shielded for at least 20 days before harvesting and the shade triggers a significant increase in the levels of chlorophyll. After harvesting, the stem and veins are separated from the leaves and they are then ground into fine, bright green powder. And, you get the protagonist of the tea industry- Matcha! The best part about the tea is that the entire tea leaf is consumed. Hence, when you drink Matcha you are ingesting the entire leaf and end up receiving 100% of the nutrients too.
The finest Matcha tea is the one that comes from Japan, where it has been grown for centuries and hence forms a central part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Did you know? 1 cup of Matcha is actually equivalent to 10 cups of brewed Green tea in terms of nutritional content i.e. Matcha contains up to 137 times more antioxidants than an average variety of Green tea. So this tea just perfectly justifies its ever-growing popularity, doesn’t it?
Health benefits of Matcha tea
Packed with antioxidants-
Matcha contains a class of antioxidants called catechins. Antioxidants protect the tissues from damage by counteracting free radicals. Matcha is believed to contain high levels of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG essentially fights inflammation in the body and can also promote cell repair. Matcha green tea also has the highest antioxidant rating (proved by the Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity test). Say hello to the invincible Matcha that contains 13X the antioxidants of pomegranate and 125X the antioxidants of spinach.
Boosts brain function-
Researches show that the 3 components present in Matcha tea i.e. L-theanine, EGCG, and Caffeine can affect the overall mood and attention span. Studies proved that this tea can induce effects on the speed of attention, reaction time, and memory to a certain extent. Another study illustrated that consuming 2-3 grams of Matcha green tea powder daily for 2 months could enhance brain function in older people.
Also, since Matcha tea contains more caffeine than regular Green tea, caffeine consumption has been linked with enhanced brain functions, enhanced memory, and increased attention span. L-theanine is a compound that is found in this tea as well. It can alter the effects of caffeine and can promote alertness.
It can also increase the alpha wave activity in the brain, which can decrease stress levels and promote relaxation. Hence, Matcha is known to improve several aspects of brain function.
Promotes heart health-
We are all aware that cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death today. Numerous in vivo studies show that Green tea and EGCG exert cardiovascular benefits. Several studies show that regular consumption of 5-6 cups of Green tea can have pronounced effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health.
The antioxidants and plant compounds are found in higher amounts in Matcha tea. Hence, drinking it daily will help improve several risk factors including total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol. Green tea catechins have been studied extensively and it was shown that the Green tea catechins decrease lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
It has also been shown to improve blood sugar levels and triglycerides. There has been enough evidence to prove that people who consumed Green tea showed a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular diseases compared to the people who don’t.
Promotes weight loss-
You’ll be surprised to observe that “Green tea extract “is a common ingredient in many weight loss supplements. A study showed that caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) increases the 24-hour energy expenditure and fat oxidation in man. It can also burn fat up to 17% by boosting the metabolic rate of the body.
A 12-week study showed that Green tea ingestion significantly reduced BMI, waist circumference, and body fat mass by activating the body’s thermogenic fat-burning activity. A study showed that taking a supplement that is rich in “Green tea extract” during moderate exercise increased the burning of fat, 24-hour energy expenditure, and metabolism, all of which may aid weight loss. So, it might as well kick start your weight loss journey!
May help prevent cancer-
Matcha is a storehouse of health-promoting compounds including some that have been known to be linked to cancer prevention. As already mentioned, this tea is rich in EGCG, a type of catechin that has been shown to have powerful anti-cancer properties. A study demonstrated that Green tea extract slowed the growth of breast cancer cells in rats by decreasing the carcinogen-induced mammary tumor proliferation.
It also helped to kill off prostate cancer cells. All of this is attributed to the presence of EGCG. A test-tube study showed that EGCG might be effective against skin, lung, and liver cancer due to its property of decreasing tumor size. However, much research is needed to establish these facts and to determine how these results may translate to humans.
Can boost relaxation and alertness-
Matcha tea contains a unique amino acid, L- Theanine. This amino acid is known to increase the number of feel-good chemicals in the brain that in turn leads to improved memory, mood, and concentration levels. It increases the alpha waves, these waves are linked to mental calmness and relaxation and may help fight stress signals.
Caffeine can tend to cause some drowsiness but L-theanine modifies the effects of caffeine thereby increasing alertness without the drowsiness, which often follows caffeine consumption. In short, Matcha tea can encourage brain relaxation, can ease anxiety symptoms, and induce a profound state of mental clarity and alertness. Did you know? L-theanine also gives Matcha its subtly sweet flavor.
Great for skin-
Since antioxidants are found abundantly in Matcha tea, it is great for your skin. The catechins can trap and deactivate free radicals found in the skin, slowing down the signs of aging significantly. This tea can reduce redness (because of its anti-inflammatory properties) and can improve your complexion (by eliminating the dead cells). Apart from these benefits, Matcha tea is also a great detoxifying agent. It helps to purge the body of harmful elements. Chlorophyll is the element that gives Matcha the power to act as a detoxifier.
This Japanese powder is a rich, earthy tea with a sweet, nuttiness, and pleasantly bitter taste. It has a vibrant green color that results from the leaves’ high chlorophyll content. Also, preparing Matcha green tea is no herculean task. There are a ton of recipes that can be made within 5 minutes because this powder can easily be incorporated into a range of different recipes based on your preferred consistency. Whether in your iced morning tea/your smoothie or even as a cookie, this tea is always delicious!
Incorporate this tea effortlessly into your diet to reap the health benefits while also giving your day a burst of extra flavor. Matcha tea gives you an unparalleled range of goodness and when it comes to achieving and maintaining optimum health, this tea is without an equal. No tea can ever match the potency of Matcha. The recent surge in the popularity of this tea speaks volumes about it. Thanks to the visual appeal, purported health benefits, and it’s beautiful, distinct flavor.