Matcha Green Tea Health Benefits
What Is Matcha Green Tea?
You’ve seen those bright green beverages that everyone is now carrying after exiting Starbucks. I’ve seen them plenty times and always wondered what kind of toxic nuclear beverage had they brainwashed us into buying. I bought one in hopes of turning into some kind of superhero after drinking this bright green potion, but alas! I was disappointed. It didn’t give me superpowers, but I did find out something very interesting worth of being shared.
Matcha tea is green tea on steroids. No, it doesn’t actually have steroids but it does give you the ten-fold of benefits that you would get from a single cup of green tea. Matcha is the entire green tea leaf that after a special growing, collection, and drying process. It is then ground to obtain a fine powder of an intense green color.
The reason matcha is more beneficial than the awesome green tea that we all know and love is that matcha gives you the actual leaf, which is where all vitamins, minerals, and properties are concentrated. It’s like drinking the power directly from the source without it being watered down—so much so that one matcha cup is equal to 10 green tea cups in antioxidants and nutritional value.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to give matcha a try:
- Reduces stress
- Stimulates immune system
- Helps with weight loss
- Reduces cholesterol
- Reduces blood sugar
- Unlike coffee, it does not elevate blood pressure
- Helps prevent cognitive deterioration
- Great for detox, ridding your body of heavy metals that cause all kinds of nasty things
Its weight loss effect as well as its inclusion in detox diets have catapulted matcha to fame.
Thermogenesis and Matcha Tea
Thermogenesis is a metabolic process that produces heat by burning calories. Burning calories leads to burning fat, which seems to be the goal of 75% of the population. (This statistic is totally made up).
However, if losing weight is one of your goals, matcha tea can be of help.
According to a study by the University of Geneva, green tea stimulates thermogenesis and fat oxidation, which leads to an increased daily average of burned calories, thus leading to weight loss. And this goes beyond its caffeine content. What I mean is caffeine can stimulate thermogenesis, but apparently, matcha tea increases thermogenesis because of its caffeine content AND because of the green tea extract. In other words, it can prove more beneficial than coffee when it comes to burning calories. So, drink up!
Matcha Tea Effects on the Mind
Matcha is rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid which promotes relaxation and a sense of well-being. It relaxes you without making you feel drowsy, and it gives you energy without exhausting you (I’m looking at you, RedBull!). Even though black and green tea also contain L-Theanine, matcha has five times more the amount.
Another thing that matcha can help you relax about is your mental health. According to a 2005 study, green tea protects your brain against cognitive deterioration. Matcha can also improve your mood, memory, and helps concentration.
Great Coffee Substitute
If you’ve tried to fight your coffee addiction, you know it’s not easy. You’re in for a whole lot of headaches. However, matcha can be your perfect caffeine patch. Although it contains caffeine, matcha's relaxing properties (L-Theanine) counterbalance caffeine's nervous effects. Matcha’s caffeine gets absorbed slowly, instead of hitting you like a bag of bricks, usually in a period of 6 to 8 hours, without increasing sugar, insulin, or cortisol levels, which is more than can be said of coffee. Add to that the fact that it keeps you alert without interfering with your blood pressure. I say that’s a win-win for everyone!
Great Antioxidant Source
We all know that antioxidants are great for our health. They can delay aging and prevent chronic diseases. Different types of antioxidants can help with different things. Catechins, for example, can help in burning fat and in strengthening the immune system, as well as preventing arthritis and helping fight cancer. And matcha is a rich source of catechins!
Matcha green tea is also rich in polyphenols, especially one called EGCG, which has been shown to accelerate metabolism and decrease the growth of cancer cells.
Matcha and Chlorophyll
If you’re wondering what makes matcha tea so green, wonder no more. The reason matcha tea has a nuclear kind of green is that it’s rich in chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll oxygenates the blood and Increases its production, which allows for better oxygen transportation to the cells. This favors heart health and other vital organs.
Chlorophyll Is also an ally if you’re trying to detox since it is effective against the negative effects of radiation as well as getting rid of heavy metals and endocrine disruptors, which can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
Different Grades of Matcha
There are at least two different grades of matcha – ceremonial grade and culinary grade. The difference in grades is due to /taste, not to nutritional value./ Matcha tea powder made from young leaves provides a more subtle, delicate, leafy flavor, whereas mature leaves contain more stem and veins and have a more astringent flavor.
This is the highest quality of green tea powder available. It is made from the youngest tea leaves and has the stem and the veins completely removed. Its taste is subtle and the powder has an extremely fine texture. This grade of tea should not be mixed with anything else. No sweeteners or ingredients of any kind. It should be mixed with water and taken straight.
To prepare, add about one half-teaspoon of ceremonial grade matcha for every 8 ounces of hot water. Whisk thoroughly.
This type is mostly used for cooking and baking. You can still drink this grade of tea, but you’ll notice a slight change in the flavor. This doesn’t mean that culinary grade is lower than ceremonial grade. If just means it was prepared differently and with a different use in mind.
This is the grade of tea that you would use to mix with other ingredients. So if your plan is to make green tea smoothies or brownies or whatever your heart desires, this is the grade you would use.
The taste is a bit more bitter and less sweet, but it still conserves its bright green color. You might want to add a bit of sweetener to this grade of tea.
Mix 1-2 teaspoons of culinary grade matcha green tea powder into 8 ounces of liquid to make a beverage.
For baking or cooking, use 1-2 tablespoons of matcha powder or whatever the recipe calls for.
Matcha Tea Side Effects
Yes, as we’ve seen, matcha tea is awesome, so there’s the risk that you may want to overdo it. Don’t! As great as it is, remember that it does contain caffeine. And caffeine, especially in high amounts can cause undesirable effects, such as insomnia, irritability, headaches, and palpitations, none of which are fun.
Green tea also has the potential of interfering with iron absorption.
If you suffer any kind of cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, or digestive disease, or if you’re taking any medication, it is always best to consult your doctor to see if you can drink matcha and how much of it would be safe.
With that said, matcha tea is mostly safe.
Side effects can range from mild to severe, mostly due to its caffeine content.
Matcha tea has less caffeine than actual coffee. However, high amounts of caffeine, especially in people that are highly sensitive to it, can cause irritability, insomnia, palpitations, and dizziness. A caffeine overdose can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.
More importantly, if you suffer any cardiac disorder, renal disease, or stomach ulcer, you should avoid any and all contact with caffeine including any kind of tea.
Do not drink six hours previous to your bedtime.
Some people may experience stomach aches or constipation.
Depending on its place of origin, green tea may contain insecticides or hazardous chemicals. Make sure your matcha tea is organic to avoid these kinds of issues.
Enjoy a cup of matcha tea today and happy living!
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