Photo courtesy of: Sarah Best Health
We have found a new obsession and apparently tons of other people have as well. This week we stumbled upon some info about our new favorite drink…Matcha Green Tea! Not only is it delicious, it’s packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and is super easy to prepare at home. Read up below and find out all the deets about matcha, we bet you’ll be obsessed soon too.
If you’re all about your local coffee shop, you’ve probably noticed a new menu item in recent months. It seems like matcha lattes, matcha desserts and matcha smoothies are everywhere these days, and their vibrant green hue is being documented all over Instagram.
So, what makes this specific form of green tea so special? Let’s take a closer look.
WHAT IT IS
Hailing from Japan, matcha is a powder made of stoneground green tea leaves. Because of the way it’s ground, drinking it provides the same benefits you would get from actually eating a green tea leaf. “Matcha gives you more of an antioxidant boost than other types of green tea,” Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, told The Huffington Post. “Most green tea leaves are steeped in water. With matcha, you’re actually drinking the whole powdered leaf. It’s strong, so you really only need 1/2 teaspoon per serving.”
According to a study published in the Journal of Chromatography A, matcha tea has three times more epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, as regular green tea. EGCG is a catechin, or a phytochemical compound that acts as an antioxidant to fight cancer, viruses and heart disease. Matcha is also said to be great for an energy boost. David Mandelbaum and Jessica Lloyd, the couple who started the matcha company PANATEA, say that with only 34 milligrams of caffeine and high levels of amino acids like L-theanine, drinking a serving of matcha gave them a feeling of “calm alertness” and kept their energy levels up for three to six hours without the jitters and crashes that came with drinking coffee.
HOW TO PREPARE IT AT HOME
Matcha lattes to go may be an easy way to get your fix, but the tea can also be prepared at home with the right tools. Matcha kits typically come with a bowl, bamboo whisk, scoop and container of matcha powder. Although instructions vary depending on the kit, typically a small scoop of matcha powder is added to hot (but not boiling) water and whisked until it’s frothy and has a creamy taste.
ABOUT THOSE LATTES…
If your matcha source is your local coffee spot, be warned: Your lattes probably don’t have the same benefits. “Studies show when you have milk with tea, you absorb less of the beneficial catechins,” Julie Upton, RD, told HuffPost. Another thing to watch out for is sugar. Not only is Starbucks’ “lightly sweetened matcha green tea with steamed milk” a little high in the calorie department (350), it has a whopping 40 grams of sugar in it — as much as a can of soda!
IS IT REALLY THAT MUCH BETTER THAN REGULAR GREEN TEA?
Matcha hasn’t been studied extensively, but Elisa Zied, RDN, thinks the difference isn’t huge. “Studies suggest green tea intake may protect your heart, skin and bones,” she said. “I can’t say matcha tea will exert any extra benefits over other teas based on science, but incorporating moderate amounts of any type of green tea in the context of a healthy diet can be a good way for many to stay hydrated and may even confer some health benefits.”
We’ll let you decide how large of a role you want matcha to play in your life. All we know is that it’s going to play a large part in ours and we suggest you do the same!
As if you needed more reasons to start sipping, here are 12 more health benefits you get from green tea in general!
- Regularly drinking green tea may slow the aging process, both on the inside and on the outside, due to the abundance of antioxidants and their free-radical-scavenging and anti-inflammatory properties.
- The antioxidants in green tea protect the skin against sun damage.
- Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad.
- Green tea cleanses the blood thanks to its high chlorophyll content (again, just look at that greeeen). Chlorophyll is a powerful detoxifier, helping to eliminate heavy metals and other toxic substances from the body.
- Green tea boosts both metabolic rate and fat burning. One study found that exercising immediately after drinking matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise.
- Green tea also helps regulates blood sugar, preventing insulin spikes and the resulting fat storage.
- Green tea protects against cancer. There are many reasons for this, but the one that has interested scientists the most is an antioxidant called EGCG which is substantially higher in matcha green tea than in any other substance we consume, and is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen.
- Green tea can help normalise blood pressure and can also help keep the lining of blood vessels relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure.
- Green tea may also protect against the formation of clots, which are a leading cause of heart attacks.
- Green tea protects against gum disease and tooth decay due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Regularly drinking green tea lowers Alzheimer’s risk due to its protective effect on brain cells.
- Green tea can enhance mood and concentration and protect against depression. This is thanks to L-Theanine, an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. Matcha first arrived in Japan, over 1,000 years ago, to aid Buddhist monks in their meditation practice, as it helped them remain alert yet calm. And like meditation, L-Theanine increases alpha wave activity in the brain, which promotes feelings of relaxation and well-being.