Most of us know about the health benefits of drinking green tea but in recent years, this has been somewhat overshadowed by the growing popularity of Matcha, a type of green tea that has been popular in the Far East for a long time (and for good reason!).
If you’re not yet familiar with Matcha, you’re probably wondering how it differs from ‘normal’ green tea, and whether it has superior health benefits?
Here’s what you need to know about Matcha tea!
Where Matcha Comes From
Matcha green tea is made from leaves picked from the Camella sinensis plant, which is also where traditional green tea comes from.
The main difference between them is in the growing and production processes.
With Matcha, the leaves of the plant are shaded from the sun in the weeks leading up to harvesting so that their chlorophyll levels can go up and this is what gives Matcha tea its vivid green colour. It also helps to retain the key health benefits of Matcha tea.
The stems and veins are then removed from the leaves, which are then stone ground into a very fine powder. In fact, “Matcha” literally means “powdered tea”.
It’s Full of Antioxidants
Matcha tea is packed full of antioxidants … much more than most other foods or drinks!
In particular, it contains organic compounds called catechins. These are the most powerful antioxidants. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) is known for having the potential to fight cancer and can also improve heart health and reduce inflammation. And it just happens to be a lot more abundant in Matcha green tea than even traditional green tea – 137 times more, to be precise!
It’s So Healthy
As if being full of antioxidants isn’t enough, the catechins also have antibiotic effects. Plus, drinking a bowl of Matcha green tea gives you a good dose of vital vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and potassium.
Matcha has strong detoxification properties and can even help the body to get rid of heavy metals and chemical toxins.
It Protects Your Heart
The antioxidants in Matcha green tea have the ability to improve heart health. This includes reducing LDL cholesterol , which can be a major factor in developing heart disease.
It Gives You More Energy
Green tea provides a caffeine hit but Matcha green tea goes a step further and offers an energy boost that can last for hours.
It can also counteract the negative effects that you normally get from caffeine such as feeling jittery and high blood pressure. It’s basically a much more natural way to feel more energetic without any of the downsides associated with a more traditional caffeine rush.
It Can Improve Your Memory
The amino acid, L-Theanine, is found in Matcha green tea and this encourages the production of dopamine and serotonin. Both of these chemicals help to improve your memory and concentration, and can also be great for boosting your mood too. Studies have suggested that it can even potentially protect against Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
It Burns Fat
Matcha green tea can speed up your metabolism and encourage your body to burn fat up to four times faster.
How Much to Drink
Matcha green tea definitely has some great benefits for health but there is a limit on how much you should look to drink per day.
It’s generally recommended not to drink more than 1-2 cups per day. This is largely because you also consume the leaves (unlike with traditional green tea) and this can mean that you’re exposed to things like lead and flouride through the soil they were grown in.
Due to the amount of caffeine, it can also be a bad idea to drink Matcha green tea on an empty stomach. This can make you more likely to get associated side effects such as headaches, insomnia, indigestion and diarrhoea.