Matcha has been in the health headlines for some time now, but is it really as good for you as it’s hyped up to be?
And are all types of matcha the same quality, or are some better than others? Get the facts and find out why so many people can’t live without their daily dose of matcha.
Matcha translates to ‘powdered tea‘. Although it’s relatively new to the Western world, it has been an integral part of the Japanese tea ceremony since the 1500s. The same plant that is used for green tea, the Camellia sinensis, is used to make matcha tea, however the process is quite different.
While the tea leaves are still growing, the plants are shaded to increase the chlorophyll and maintain the amino acid content. The best leaves are then hand-picked, steamed, speed cooled, then oven-dried to retain their nutritional content. The leaves are de-stemmed and de-veined, before being stone ground into a powder.
When you drink matcha, you are not only drinking this carefully grown tea, but you are also drinking the entire leaf, as opposed to green tea, where you steep some of the nutrients into the tea, but end up throwing most of the good stuff away with the leaves. So it’s basically like green tea on steroids!
1. Matcha helps your brain stay healthy
Consuming green tea every day helps improve cognitive function, which means your brain is healthier as a result. It has also been shown to improve attention, reaction time and memory.
Matcha contains caffeine as well as L-theanine; the caffeine improves brain function, the L- theanine promotes alertness and helps prevent the energy level crash after consuming caffeine.
L-theanine also increases relaxation and decreases stress. So you get the energy, focus and calm… without any jitters!
2. Matcha prevents cell damage
Matcha is rich in catechins, which are natural antioxidants. They stabilise free radicals, which are the ‘bad guys’ in the cell world that damage cells and cause chronic disease. And matcha contains 137 times more of these ‘good guy’ catechins than ordinary green tea. A great addition to your defence against chronic disease!
3. Matcha protects your liver
Your liver is an essential part of full-body wellness – it plays an integral part in flushing out toxins from your body as well as processing nutrients.
Research has shown that matcha helps prevent damage to your liver and kidneys. In fact, some studies have shown that the risk of liver disease is reduced in people who drink green tea.
4. Matcha supports your heart health
Matcha has been linked to healthy cholesterol levels. Green tea can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ one).
The antioxidants in matcha, specifically one called ‘EGCG’, can help keep your arteries healthy. All of this means that matcha can help reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack!
5. Matcha can help you lose weight
Drinking matcha regularly can increase your body’s calorie burning power by 33%, and increase your energy expenditure. Green tea is well known as a weight loss supplement and has been proven to reduce body weight and maintain weight loss. And the plus is that the chlorophyll content in matcha helps you detox at the same time!
6. Matcha is an enemy of cancer
Matcha is very high in the antioxidant EGCG, which is an excellent aid in the fight against cancer. It has been shown to kill off cancer cells as well as prevent their growth. A fantastic tool in your arsenal against cancer.
Matcha is very high in the antioxidant EGCG, which is an excellent aid in the fight against cancer.
7. Matcha is easy to get and simple to prepare
Matcha is much easier to find in SA than it was a few years ago.
But not all matchas are created equal! To find a really good quality matcha, you need to source one that has a vibrant, green colour, a fresh, grassy aroma, a delicate, nutty flavour and a good froth, called a ‘crema’, when you whisk it.
How to prepare the perfect cup of matcha
To prepare the perfect cup, simply add half a level teaspoon of matcha to hot (not boiling) water and whisk. The best part is you only need one cup a day to get the benefits! (But once you get hooked, you might not be able to stop at just one!)
Just Matcha has done the legwork and sourced the highest quality matcha tea. You can find it online at www.justmatcha.co.za and follow them on Instagram for other clever ways to get your daily matcha dose at justmatcha.