What are the health benefits of Matcha Green Tea

matcha powder and matcha tea with whisk, sitting on table in ceremonial bowl

Matcha powder has become extremely popular over the last few years with local cafes now specialising in matcha lattes even supermarkets like Coles are getting in on the act. Our instagram feeds are full of matcha lattes and matcha food recipes but what actually is Matcha and why is everyone obsessed with it? 

Matcha has a long history within Japanese tea ceremonies. A matcha tea ceremony is focused on mindfulness, respect and the present. The host known as a machiai will conduct the ceremony for their guests in silence and mindfulness. The guest must leave their personal times outside and are expected to participate in the mindfulness and silence of the ceremony. 

With the increasing interest in mindfulness and meditation it’s no wonder that Matcha has become the new sought after drink.

What is Matcha tea?

matcha powder laid out on a table with matcha measurement spoon and matcha whisk

Matcha powder comes from the same plant as green and black tea, the Camellia Sinensis plant which can be found in Japan and in particular the southern part of the country. However, matcha powder is processed slightly differently to give the green and black tea. This give matcha powder a unique bright green colour which gives it a unique bright green colour and nutritional properties.

During production of matcha, the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis are covered for 20-30 days before the harvest to prevent sunlight getting at them. This boosts the level of chlorophyll production which gives matcha its unique properties. The leaves are then dried out and milled into a powder which you can use to make your matcha lattes and matcha tea.

What are the health benefits of Matcha?

heart with health fruit in it, bowl with healthy strawberries and raspberries in it against a green background

High in Antioxidants:

Like most teas matcha contains high levels of antioxidants called Catechins in fact one study found that matcha could be up to 137 times higher than regular green tea. In particular matcha contains a high level of the catechin, EGCG which is known for helping the body fight off viruses and disease. 

Get your caffeine hit without the jitters:

When you are drinking your matcha latte or tea, you are consuming a more concentrated version of the tea leaf compared to green tea. Studies have found that Matcha has 3.5 times more caffeine than green tea.

But don’t worry about not being able to sit still because you’ve consumed too much caffeine. Matcha also contains L-Theanine which calms the stimulating effect of caffeine on your system

Matcha improves focus and your brain function:

Caffeine has been shown to boost your brain function, memory, reaction times and focus. Caffeine comes with restlessness, anxiety and sometimes trouble sleeping. Even worse, is the caffeine crash that you can experience after consuming one to many coffees during the work day. 

What’s special about matcha is the L-Theanine it contains. The L-Theanine and Caffeine work together to boost your brain function and focus but balance it out to keep your mood and heart rate calm meaning you can focus for longer and avoid the caffeine crash. 

Can help with weight loss:

Green tea and in particular matcha have a high concentration of caffeine. Caffeine has been linked to an increase in metabolism which helps with weight loss.

But there’s another reason why green tea and matcha tea are so good for weight loss. The catechin, EGCG which green tea and matcha are known for boosts metabolism and fat burning. Studies have shown that consuming green tea catechins with caffeine can lower BMI and body weight.

However, there are limited studies which show an significant weight loss so make sure to mix your match consumption in with some exercise to aid with weight loss  

How do you prepare a Matcha Latte? 

matcha latte with latte artwork sitting on cafe table 

The most important question is how do you prepare matcha to make sure you get all the health benefit above?

One of the more popular ways to enjoy matcha is as a matcha latte. Matcha lattes are easy to prepare and give you a good health boost in one cup. 

To prepare a matcha latte:

1. Add 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder to a small wide bowl,

2. Then power a ¼ of a cup of boiling water and whisk until it is frothy.

3. Once you’re happy with your matcha you can add it into a cup of hot milk.

4. Adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a nice finishing taste. 

Another option is to enjoy it as a matcha tea. Simply whisk your matcha powder with boiling water until frothy and then add as much additional boiling water to make it into a enjoyable tea.

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