Most tea can be found either in tea bag or loose leaf form. Occasionally, it can also be fermented and sold as a tea brick. However, many people don’t know that tea can also be sold as a powder, which is traditionally whisked and served with a bit of froth. This is true for Matcha, a Japanese green tea. There are many health benefits of Matcha tea.
What Is Matcha Tea?
Matcha is produced using pure Gyokuro leaves, a variety of Camellia Sinensis that is shaded beneath special mats for 3 weeks before plucking.
The shading forces the plants to produce a higher chlorophyll content, thus increasing its nutritional value and giving the leaves a rich green color.
In fact, steeped Matcha contains nearly 10 times the polyphenols and antioxidants of regular teas, 2 times the antioxidants of a glass of red wine, approximately 9 times the beta-carotene of spinach, and 4 times that of carrots.
Matcha Tea Benefits
Here are just a few reasons you should make the switch from tea bags to tea powder.
1. Fights Cancer
Matcha is said to have 100x more epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) than other teas (1). EGCG Is the most effective cancer Chemopreventive Polyphenol in green tea (2).
Studies show that it’s effective against breast, ovarian, prostate and lung cancer as well as many other varieties of the disease (3).
2. Boosts Metabolism
Matcha is often used as pre-workout supplement to increase energy and focus in the gym. It works by making the workout less taxing on the mind and body (4). In fact, it’s often used to flavor pre and post-workout smoothies.
Studies have also shown drinking matcha before a workout increases fat loss (5). It’s estimated that matcha can help you lose 25% more weight.
3. Supplies Energy
Unlike coffee, matcha slowly releases caffeine over several hours as opposed to all at once, so you feel energized all day (6).
This is because it contains L-theanine, which can also improve focus. Other tea varieties contain this amino acids is significantly lower quantities.
A recent study found that : “. . . taken throughout the day [green tea] significantly benefit speed of perception and more consistent levels of simple task performance. L-theanine appears to antagonize the stimulatory effects of caffeine by decreasing seratonin levels that have been artificially elevated by caffeine.” (7)
4. Supports Skin Health
Matcha polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties that may help prevent the development and growth of skin tumors (8).
It’s also said to have a positive effect in protecting the skin against UV damage and premature aging (9).
5. Fights Stress
L-theanine, mentioned above, is also responsible for increasing alpha brain wave activity, which promotes relaxation (10).
A study published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy found that :
“increased alpha activity in the brain induced by L-theanine has been associated with increased creativity, increased performance under stress, and improved learning and concentration as well as decreased anxiety.” (11).
6. Improves Memory function
A study provided by the Nation Institute of Health (12) concluded that:
“Our findings provide first evidence for the putative beneficial effect of green tea on cognitive functioning, in particular, on working memory processing at the neural system level by suggesting changes in short-term plasticity of parieto-frontal brain connections.”
7. Boosts Immune Function
The EGCG that matcha contains causes a higher production of regulatory T cells, the immune system’s first line of defense (13).
“Epigenetic regulation can be potentially exploited in generating suppressive regulatory T cells for therapeutic purposes, and is of significant clinical importance for the suppression of autoimmune diseases,” reports Science Daily.
8. Lowers Cholesterol
Research shows that green teas, like matcha, lower total cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol in both animals and people.
This contributes towards preventing coronary heart disease (14).
Other studies found that green tea consumption also has an acute beneficial effect on endothelial function, ensuring that that blood vessels relax and contract in an optimal function for proper blood flow (15).
9. Controls Diabetes
Matcha tea has been used traditionally to control blood sugar levels.
Animal studies suggest that green tea may help prevent the development of type 1 diabetes and slow the progression once it has developed (16).
Matcha may also help regulate glucose in the body of patients suffering form the disease.
How To Prepare Matcha Tea
If you’ve never had matcha, start with a 1/4 teaspoon of the tea powder and gradually work towards 1/2 teaspoon and eventually 1 teaspoon.
- 1 medium-sized bowl
- a measuring spoon
- a fine-mesh tea filter or strainer
- a Matcha whisk
- Matcha powder
- Boil 1 cup of water to about 180°F.
- Fill you bowl with water to leave for a few minutes.
- Empty the water
- Spoon the Matcha into your strainer and sift to prevent clumps.
- Add about 1/4-1/2 tablesppon of hot water to your powder and whisk to form an evenly diluted paste.
- Add 2-3 ounces of the hot water to your bowl and whisk fast using an “N” or “W” form, being careful not to touch the bottom of the bowl.
- Once you tea is covered in bubbles, lift your whisk to the surface and gently move around to break any big bubbles.
You can also sweeten your tea by diluting 1/2 tablespoon of honey in your hot water before the frothing process.