5 Awesome Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea
Posted by Lisa on August 7, 2015 / 16 Comments
The health benefits of matcha green tea are wide ranging. Here are 5 awesome health benefits that’ll have you adding matcha to everything.
Matcha green tea is taking the world by storm. If you scroll though any foodie’s Instagram feed you’ll see vibrant, electric green recipes, with matcha playing the starring role. And drinking matcha simply as tea? Oh, that’s so limiting! Matcha can be added, sprinkled and blended into almost any recipe under the sun.
Acai and pitaya are well loved in the wellness community, but matcha seems to be the new lovebug – and for good reason.
Now, in full disclosure, I may have been a little slow to the matcha party. I only discovered it a couple of months ago, after drinking a matcha green tea latte with the trademark barrista swirl on top. But since then, I’ve quickly fallen in love with this Japanese green tea and developed cravings for the slightly bitter, somewhat umami, grassy flavor – which, in all honestly, I didn’t think would happen.
What is matcha?
Quite simply, it’s a fine powder made from grinding whole green tea leaves. Unlike other green tea that’s manufactured into tea bags, then steeped in water – with matcha you’re drinking the entire leaf, in powdered form.
Matcha is also unique in how it’s harvested (mostly in Japan). The leaves are shaded from the sun several weeks before harvest to slow down growth, increase chlorophyll levels and boost the production of amino acids, like L-Theanine. That unique flavor you taste in matcha? That’s the amino acids you’re tasting (which is good!).
What are the health benefits of matcha?
It’s an anti-aging, antioxidant powerhouse
There are exponentially more antioxidants in matcha than other “superfoods.” It has 6 times more antioxidants than goji berries, 17 times more antioxidants than blueberries and 60 times more antioxidants than spinach. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help to prevent aging, chronic disease and infection – and in this regard, matcha is unsurpassed.
It can help with weight loss
Studies have found that the concentration of ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate) in matcha is 137 times greater than that in a standard cup of green tea. Why is this important? Research has shown that ECGC in high doses may help increase calorie burn and alter levels of “hunger hormones,” helping to reduce appetite.
It can improve your concentration and energy
Many drink coffee for the jolt of caffeine. But what if you could have a similar boost without the jitters or post-caffeine drowsiness? Matcha is rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes a state of relaxation and increased memory, while preventing the nasty side effects of caffeine. A boost in clarity without the jitters? Win win.
It’s a powerful detoxifier
You may know that green foods are natural detoxifiers in the body. This is purportedly due to the chlorophyll, which purge the body of harmful elements, chemicals and heavy metals. Because matcha is shade grown it has significantly more chlorophyll than other green teas.
It prevents heart disease
A 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that the catechins in green tea significantly lowered total serum cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Over time, reduced LDL-levels helps to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Bonus: Two of my Favorite Matcha Recipes
I’ve got several more matcha recipes coming your way, but if you’re looking for a little recipe inspiration, here you go! I use this particular matcha in my recipes, which is a culinary matcha and not ceremonial grade matcha. If you’re using matcha in recipes (rather than drinking straight up), I recommend choosing a culinary grade matcha. You get more bang for your buck. Enjoy!
These health benefits made me a convert – how about you? Are you a matcha lover? What’s your favorite matcha recipe? Share in the comments below!
PS – This is the brand of matcha I use.