Matcha green tea and regular tea both come from the same plant. Known as Camellia sinensis, the green tea leaves are similar, however, matcha tea is not grown in the same way as regular varieties of this popular beverage.
Usually, with matcha tea, the bushes are covered up to 30 days before harvest, to reduce the amount of direct sunlight they receive. This process of shaded growing is said to boost the number of phytonutrients found in the final cup of tea including proteins, antioxidants, caffeine, and chlorophyll. The process is partially responsible for the dark green color of matcha leaves when compared to regular green tea leaves, and the higher nutrient content as well.
Because matcha green tea is most commonly brewed from a whole leaf powder, it is a completely different experience to brew a cup than regular varieties of tea. It can also easily be added to smoothies and your favorite baked goods.
Just adding a few heaping teaspoons of the matcha green tea powder provides an instant nutrient boost to anything you desire!
Why drink matcha tea? Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages on Earth.
Here are just 5 of the most notable benefits of matcha tea…
1. Helps Boost Your Immune System
The antioxidant compounds provided by matcha tea are part of the polyphenol family and include catechins, theaflavins, tannins, and flavonoids – plant-based compounds found to boost health.1
These phyto-compounds are known to help stabilize molecules called free radicals in the body that can damage healthy cells. Free radicals have been associated with premature aging and common infections. That being said, by drinking matcha green tea you may notice an improvement in your immunity towards common infections of the cold and flu.2
2. Helps Keep Your Brain Sharp
Traditionally, matcha green tea was used by Japanese monks as a meditation practice to boost brain function while also calming the body. This energizing yet calming effect is due to the content of L-theanine in green tea – the chemical compound known to help keep your brain active, without the jitters of other energy boosters like coffee.3
Matcha green tea has caffeine like coffee. It also contains L-theanine which has been shown in clinical studies to offer synergistic benefits to keep your brain neurons firing.4
It is estimated that just one cup of matcha green tea contains 35 mg of caffeine.
L-theanine boosts your mood too! Just one more reason to brew a cup for a midday pick-me-up. Studies have confirmed that this phytochemical is able to help the brain keep pumping a neurotransmitter called GABA – a brain chemical that can boost focus, creativity, relaxation, and more.5,6
3. Helps Keep Your Heart Healthy
Drinking matcha green tea has been shown in numerous clinical trials to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and help keep “bad” LDL cholesterol at bay (this is the kind of cholesterol that puts you at risk for fatty buildup in your arteries), as well as triglycerides and blood sugar levels.7
4. Helps You Maintain A Healthy Weight
Green tea contains many phytochemicals known to boost your overall health. However, there is one specific compound that has been linked to keeping your waistline slim. It’s known as Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, and numerous studies have shown its ability to help boost metabolic rate, for a better fat burning ability!8,9
One study showed the prolonged effects of green tea consumption over time. Participants who consumed green tea reported a lower percentage of total body fat, smaller waist circumference, and decreased waist-to-hip ratio after drinking only a little under 2 cups per day for over 10 years, compared to non-habitual tea drinkers.10
5. Helps Support a Healthy Prostate
For men over the age of 50, prostate function may start to weaken. However, matcha green tea may help. One study showed that consuming green tea was linked to a reduction of risk factors associated with prostate illness.11
In a clinical review of the data on green tea polyphenol antioxidants and the prostate, results confirmed the protective effects of matcha green tea phytochemicals to support prostate health.12
How to Prepare Matcha Green Tea
Matcha green tea is prepared in a different way than brewing regular types of tea. Here is how to prepare matcha tea, in the Japanese tradition:
- Measure the matcha green tea powder into a heated bowl (chawan), with a bamboo spoon, called a shashaku.
- However, since we don’t all have access to a chawan and shashaku, a heated ceramic bowl and whisk work as well.
- Then heat filtered water to about 158°F, so it is hot enough to brew matcha green tea. Then you can add the tea into the bowl.
- Once you have added the matcha green tea powder into the warm bowl, whip the matcha tea into a frothy mixture with a bamboo whisk, called a chasen.
Your matcha tea can then be adjusted, to reach any of these 3 consistencies:
1. Standard: Mix 1 teaspoon of matcha powder with 2 ounces of hot water.
2. Usucha (thin): For thinner tea, use half a teaspoon of matcha, mixed with about 3-4 ounces of hot water.
3. Koicha (thick): This is the thickest version of matcha green tea, and it is the most commonly used type for Japanese tea ceremonies. To make it, use 2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder mixed with about 1 ounce of hot water. There is no foam with this thickness, so a higher grade of matcha may be required.
A Final Note on Matcha Green Tea
Matcha green tea has been used in traditional tea ceremonies for centuries across areas of Japan, and China. Today, you can use this delicious tea to gain these 5 well-known health benefits – plus so many more that tea can offer. So, always remember to make time for tea!
For more health wisdom from Eastern philosophies, keep reading here:
Chaga Mushroom: Looks Ain’t Everything! (3 Incredible Health Benefits + A Tea Recipe)
How Coffee Affects Your Brain
10 Self-Care Rituals For A Healthier Body And Mind
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