The Benefits of Drinking Matcha Tea
Matcha is a type of powdered Green tea which is very high in antioxidants and provides multiple benefits for your brain and your body. Before we dig deeper into Matcha tea, I think it's prudent to just get a short snippet of the origins of tea drinking.
Records indicate that tea drinking started in China and dates back more than four centuries ago. Today, tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. There are several types of tea including Black tea, Green tea, Oolong tea and Pu-erh. They are all derived from the same plant, Camelia sinensis, but they have different components and are prepared differently leading to their varying benefits. Although Black tea is the most widely consumed tea, it is also the most processed tea and its healthful antioxidant properties are much lower. Increasingly, Green tea is now gaining popularity because of its powerful antioxidant properties, which may help to protect the body against numerous concerns.
Why is green tea so good for you?
As I mentioned earlier, the different components and processing sets them apart from each other. After the leaves are plucked, they begin to oxidise and ferment which imparts a distinctive colour and flavour. Green, Black and Oolong refer to the different methods used to process the plucked leaves. As far as Green tea is concerned, the leaves are steamed, roasted or pan–fried almost immediately, ensuring the fermentation is kept to an absolute minimum. As a result, most Green teas tend to be of light green colour. If the Green tea you are currently drinking is not light green in colour, then the chances are that you are getting inferior oxidised tea with less health benefits.
Fresh tea leaves are unusually rich in antioxidants called polyphenols which may constitute nearly 30% of the dry leaf weight. Polyphenols exist as a series of chemicals called catechins. Epigallocatechin (EGCG) happens to be the most powerful catechin found in tea. It is nearly 100 times more potent in its antioxidant properties than vitamins C & E. One cup of Green tea is more potent in its antioxidant properties than a serving of strawberries, broccoli, or carrots.
What are the benefits of Green tea?
- Evidence suggests that Green tea has a potent activity against harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Various compounds in Green tea have been shown to inhibit histamine, a major chemical in allergic reactions.
- Green Tea contains compounds which have been shown to enhance the rate of fat metabolism and enhance energy expenditure making it a useful adjunct for any weight loss regime.
- May help support the immune system.
- Green Tea supports healthy digestion.
There are many Green teas on the market, however there is one that stands well above all the other Green teas called Matcha Green Tea which is presented in a stone-ground powder form. Matcha powder is completely unfermented with the highest levels of antioxidants and it is also nutritionally rich.
What is the best type of green tea?
Despite the rich history behind Chinese tea making, the best Green tea is actually from Japan. Made from the finest, youngest leaves of the first harvesting days in Japan, this Green tea secures a special place in the Japanese Tea Ceremony called Chado. This unique form of Green tea was thought to have been introduced into Japan by a monk returning from China and is referred to as Matcha tea.
Matcha tea, a powdered Green tea, comes from the same plant as Black tea, but remains unfermented. Matcha tea leaves are then ground into a fine green powder keeping its nutritional and antioxidant properties intact, potent and very active. Matcha tea is essentially a very concentrated form of Green tea. The way it is grown and consumed means that it is packed full of vitamins and minerals. Matcha tea bushes are grown under shade which dramatically increases their chlorophyll content. I have written about the merits of chlorophyll in a separate article.
Until recently, virtually all Matcha teas have been consumed within Japan, where it’s particularly popular among students who are studying for exams. In Japan, Matcha powder is as common a flavour as chocolate or strawberry. In supermarkets, Matcha powder is available as a topping or flavour for everything from ice cream to cakes and chocolate bars. Matcha tea is now gaining popularity in the UK, too, and it can be found in cafes, health food shops and smoothie bars.
There are many Matcha teas on the market to choose from. Just like Green tea, all Matcha teas are not created equally and the one that I recommend is PerfectTed Matcha Powder and I am going to outline why this is one of the best Matcha teas on the market:
- PerfectTed organic Matcha Powder is obtained from the renowned Ujiregion in Japan, where some of the country’s highest quality tea leaves are grown. Due to its idyllic climate, freshwater rivers and fertile soils, this region produces the highest quality Matcha tea.
- PerfectTed organic Matcha undergoes strict testing to ensure that it does not contain any toxic levels of metals found in other Matcha teas grown near industrial development.
- The tea leaves are grown under shaded cover to produce lots of chlorophyll which is an excellent energy booster.
- Skilled farmers harvest only the youngest leaves without any stems and veins which can dilute the nutritional value and affect the taste.
- Matcha leaves are ground down without friction which could result in the loss of its active compounds
There are three natural compounds found in Matcha powder and these include caffeine, L-theanine and EGCG Catechins. Matcha powder provides caffeine with L-theanine which work together to give you:
- Longer lasting energy without jitters or a crash later on
- Enhanced focus
- Improved memory
- Increased immunity
- Helps reduce stress hormones levels to help body cope with anxiety symptoms
Matcha tea EGCG Catechins which are powerful antioxidants that may fight inflammation, speed up metabolism, lower blood sugar levels and may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels as part of a daily routine.
Although Green tea happens to be the most nutritious beverage of earth, you have to be careful about the source of Green tea as there are many inferior Green teas on the market. For the perfect Matcha scoop 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Matcha powder, combine with 60 ml water, mix or whisk until frothy and then either top with milk (for latte) or water (for tea).
PerfectTed, The Perfect Whisk
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