Matcha has grown in popularity in recent years as a lifestyle and health substance. In fact, lots of coffee shops now sell it with frothy green lattes on the menu. As part of the green tea family, the benefits of matcha are wide-ranging. Because it has a higher concentration of the leaves' nutrients, it may be even better for us than regular green tea.
You can take matcha mixed with foods and drinks or as a capsule or gummy. It can even replace your daily health supplement because of the vitamin content and other beneficial substances contained within matcha.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a fine powder made from ground-up green leaves. It has been the core ingredient of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies since the 12th century.
Grown and prepared differently, matcha contains more caffeine and antioxidants than green tea. It can make us more alert, less stressed and has all the benefits of green tea but in a more concentrated dose.
How Matcha is harvested and made?
The best matcha comes from the southern areas of Japan. Matcha bushes are treated differently from other plant sources of green tea. The plants are covered with straw around three weeks before harvesting to shade the leaves from direct sunlight. This process boosts the level of chlorophyll produced by the plant, increasing the production of L-Theanine, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the tea plant.
Tea harvesters only pick the best buds for matcha, and the mode of drying out the leaves results in two different green teas. One form is Gyokuro, a premium form of green tea that is very expensive to buy, while the others become Tencha. Tencha is the form of leaf used for making matcha.
Why Matcha may be better for us than regular green tea?
The benefits of matcha have been noted in the health and beauty industries because green tea leaves have been found to contain high levels of beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and vitamins.
Regular steeped green tea is thought to be healthy because the leaves contain antioxidants. However, the water used to steep the tea leaves can only extract a small number of its nutritional properties. The entire contents of the leaf are used to make matcha, meaning the health benefits are more abundant.
In particular, matcha contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This antioxidant substance has been shown to protect brain cells from the effects of oxidative stress. Therefore, it's thought that it can help fight diseases of the brain, help with memory and decrease the action of heavy metals like iron and copper, both of which can damage brain cells.
Matcha also provides higher levels of L-Theanine than green tea. This compound has been found to help our brains and bodies. It's thought that L-Theanine helps with stress and anxiety, can aid concentration, help with weight loss, and may boost immunity. It has been studied for its potential to help with cancer treatment.
Matcha also contains a variety of vitamins including vitamin A, B, C, E, and K as well as zinc and other essential minerals. Matcha powder has about three times the amount of caffeine as alternative types of brewed teas. Black tea has 47 mg of caffeine per cup, and green tea has 28 mg. Matcha has 70 mg of caffeine. That's slightly less than a cup of coffee which has around 96 mg of caffeine per cup.
The combined effects of L-theanine, EGCG and caffeine show promising results for boosting brain power and reducing anxiety. That’s because the caffeine in matcha works very differently than that in coffee and energy drinks. The presence of EGCG means caffeine takes longer to be broken down by our bodies, passes into the bloodstream more slowly, and has a sustained effect that can last for six to eight hours rather than the spike we get from other ways of taking caffeine. People who take matcha tend to report that the effects of the caffeine in it cause less of a 'buzz' and more of a calm alertness.
How to take Matcha?
Matcha powder has an earthy taste that can be quite strong, so it's most often whisked with milk or a non-dairy alternative, such as almond or oat milk, to make it more pleasant to drink. Because of the added calories from the milk, matcha drinks tend to be as satisfying and satiating as your regular espresso-based latte.
In addition to drinking matcha both warm and cold, there are other creative uses for the powder. It is infused into cocktails, whipped into lattes, added to savoury dishes and mixed into sweets and edibles.
Why matcha supplements are just as good as a brew?
One cup of Matcha tea has the nutritional value of approximately 10 cups of regular green tea. Just two capsules contain roughly the same amount of matcha tea powder as in one cup.
If you take matcha supplements as part of a healthy diet with nutritious meals, you may even be able to stop taking any vitamin capsules and other health supplements.
Many people don’t like the grassy taste of matcha, which can still be detected even when mixed with foods and beverages. A matcha gummy is a largely tasteless way to take it. What's more, it's easy to consume, can be consumed on the go and doesn’t require the preparation time of adding it to meals and drinks.
So, why not give matcha gummies a go? Try adding matcha to your daily health routine, perhaps cut down on coffee and other vitamin supplements, and see whether it has the same benefits but in a more concentrated and potentially effective manner. To find out more about the benefits of matcha, contact us at Novomins today.