Matcha is a vibrant green powder with a smooth, somewhat sweet grassy taste. It is continuously gaining popularity for both its delightful flavor, and its plethora of wonderful health benefits.
So what exactly is matcha? In short, matcha is finely powdered green tea leaves. It is carefully grown, harvested, and processed in Japan or China, and in its countries of origin it has a history as a ceremonial tea.
When you drink matcha, you are ingesting the whole tea leaf, which has been dried and ground into a powder. This is more beneficial than traditionally prepared green tea, which involves brewing the dried leaves and then throwing them away.
And not only does it taste good, but it offers many amazing health benefits. Once you find out some of the ways it can support your health, you will most certainly want to incorporate this highly nutritious superfood into your diet.
Extremely Rich in Antioxidants
One of the best benefits of matcha is that it’s extremely high in antioxidants, including catechin polyphenols and vitamins E and C. In fact, the antioxidant content in matcha surpasses that found in foods such as blueberries, goji berries, pomegranates, and dark chocolate.
Supports & Strengthens the Immune System
The proper cultivation of matcha requires that the tea bushes be kept in the shade before harvesting. This practice boosts the nutrient profile of the leaves, as it stimulates the production of amino acids and increases chlorophyll levels.1 Chlorophyll not only gives matcha its rich green color, but it also contains nutrients that can help support and enhance immune function.
In addition, since it is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, matcha can play a role in supporting and strengthening the immune system.
Matcha contains the catechin polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate, more commonly referred to as EGCG. The most abundant catechin found in green tea, it is a potent antioxidant compound that may offer many health benefits, including protection against cancer and heart disease.2
According to some research studies, EGCG has been shown to potentially increase metabolic rate and fat oxidation.3, 4
The potent antioxidants and chlorophyll found in matcha can help support the body’s ability to detoxify. In addition, they can aid in protecting against oxidative stress.
Promotes Relaxation & Alertness
Unlike the jittery or hyper buzz that is associated with coffee, the caffeine in matcha is well known to produce an ‘alert-calm’. This ‘alert-calm’ could be attributed to matcha’s L-theanine content, an amino acid found primarily in green & black tea.
L-theanine helps promote relaxation and calmness while reducing anxiety and stress. It works by elevating the levels of certain neurotransmitters which aid in regulating emotions, mood, concentration, sleep, appetite, energy, and more.5
Can Help Fight Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and Type 2 Diabetes
Matcha has a wide array of antioxidant compounds and bears a number of beneficial properties that may be able to help prevent or combat diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Some benefits of matcha that can combat these disease states include its ability to reduce bad cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, help lower high blood pressure, and enhance the body’s resistance to many toxins.6
How to Incorporate Matcha into Your Diet
There are many ways to incorporate matcha into your diet. Perhaps most popular way to consume it is to drink it. Check out our recipe for Matcha (Green Tea) Latte.
Matcha can also be added to baked goods, ice cream, smoothies, and even be used as a popcorn topping. In fact, there are many cookbooks out there that are dedicated solely to matcha.
High quality matcha is generally very expensive. For a much less costly and very good quality matcha, have a look at some of the options offered on Amazon.com.
However, before you buy a packet of this amazing green powder, make sure that it is 100% pure matcha. There are a lot of powdered matcha mixes out there which contain additional sugars, flavorings, and other additives.