So what's all this buzz about Matcha Green Tea?
I've heard of matcha before, but I've never taken the time to research or try it for myself. The other day while in practice, another yogi brought up all of the wonderful benefits of matcha tea, including, but not limited to, reducing inflammation (this really sparked my interest, as my muscles are beyond sore, and I am sure they are inflamed to some extent).
While strolling through the super market, lo and behold, there in the isle, flavored matcha mango tea. It was fate (as mango is also my favorite fruit) so I snatched the last persuasive canister, excited by this twist of great circumstance.
News Health states, matcha literally means “powdered tea.” With matcha, you’re drinking the actual leaves, which have been finely powdered and made into a solution, traditionally by mixing about a teaspoon of matcha powder with a third cup of hot water.
Unlike traditional green tea, matcha preparation involves covering the tea plants with shade cloths before they’re harvested. This triggers the growth of leaves with better flavor and texture, which are hand selected, steamed briefly to stop fermentation, then dried and aged in cold storage, which deepens the flavor. The dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder.
Because you’re consuming whole leaves in matcha, you may get three times as much caffeine than a cup of steeped tea, about the amount in a cup of brewed coffee . Matcha aficionados say that compared to the caffeine buzz from coffee, matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance it contains called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness.
I dug a bit deeper into my quest of knowledge on this mysterious "miracle tea", leading me to Matcha Source, which had some great insight:
What are the Health Benefits of Matcha Tea?
One serving of matcha tea is the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea
- When you drink matcha you ingest the entire leaf and receive 100% of the nutrients of the leaf
- Matcha powdered green tea has 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea.
- One cup of matcha = 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea in terms of nutritional content
Amongst its many health benefits, matcha…
- Is packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg
- Boosts metabolism and burns calories
- Detoxifies effectively and naturally
- Calms the mind and relaxes the body
- Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
- Enhances mood and aids in concentration
- Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
- Prevents disease
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
What are green tea catechins, and why are they so important in anti-cancer diets?
Matcha tea contains a unique, potent class of antioxidant known as catechins, which aren’t found in other foods. In particular, the catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) provides potent cancer-fighting properties.
Most importantly, EGCg and other catechins counteract the effects of free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. Since over 60% of the catechins in matcha are actually EGCg, a daily matcha regimen can help restore and preserve the body’s integral well-being and balance
How does matcha give me energy without the jitters?
One of the most unexpected health benefits of matcha tea, is that drinkers experience a boost of energy throughout the day. In one study, researchers had thought that this was from the caffeine in matcha, but they found that it was actually the combination of matcha’s natural properties. Another recent study found that matcha even improved physical endurance by 24%.
As you can tell, there are many great benefits claimed over this tea. For the past couple of days I have had a cup each morning before starting my ashtanga workout. I agree that it does seem to give me more energy. I have replaced it with my normal black tea or coffee, blissfully I have had no "jitters" as a result. As for the inflammation or other health effects I have yet to see a difference, but I am hopeful!
Despite the off putting look, like that of stagnant pond water, it really is quite delicious! I'd recommend this drink to anyone :)