Hello Friends! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I did and I’m really revving up for a healthful and fabulous 2015! One of the ways I’m doing that is by drinking Matcha green tea. Now, I’ve always known that green tea is good for me, though I’ve never really been a tea drinker (see my previous post “HEALTHY coffee is my favorite way to start the day!”), as coffee has always been my morning drink of choice. Lately, I’ve been doing some research on green tea, Matcha specifically, and I was intrigued enough to try it. I have become a believer about the health benefits of Matcha green tea and I’d like to share my findings with you today.
Here’s the thing, all tea (white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh) comes from the same plant, camellia sinensis, which is a woody shrub native to southern China that is generally kept plucked to its picking height of 3-4 feet. Now, Matcha is a high quality green tea that is covered before picking to accentuate the color, and then stone ground after being picked and before being sealed into small tins. In Japan, Matcha tea is a very important part of the tea ceremony. It has a somewhat grassy taste, but the type I drink enhances the green tea taste with other flavors like blood orange and peach. It’s definitely important to make sure you purchase high quality Matcha tea, as with all varieties, to ensure you are receiving the maximum benefits.
Matcha green tea is powdered which makes it easier to prepare. You just add hot water if you want to drink it warm, or cold water if you want it as a cold beverage, stir and you’re done! No steeping of tea leaves involved with Matcha tea. Next, I will discuss the health benefits of drinking it, and then I’ll let you know the type I’m currently drinking.
1. Matcha tea is high in antioxidants– Remember that antioxidants are the nutrients and enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, giving us younger looking skin, and fighting off a number of life-threatening illnesses. We know that fruits, vegetables, red wine, and chocolate have antioxidants, but Matcha green tea has FIVE TIMES THE ANTIOXIDANTS AS ANY OTHER FOOD IN JUST ONE SERVING! That makes it worth it for me to drink it!
2. Tons of Catechin, EGCg– Green tea has a specific set of organic compounds called catechins. Catechins are among the most potent and beneficial antioxidants out there. One specific catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha green tea. Out of all antioxidants EGCg is the one most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Matcha contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.
3. Enhances calm but increases energy (What the what?!!)- Here’s how that works, the amino acid L-Theanine in Matcha tea leaves promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without the drowsiness caused by other “calming products” out there. It also contains a combination of nutrients that gives increased endurance and more energy which can last UP TO SIX HOURS. It doesn’t have the usual side effects of stimulants, like nervousness and hypertension. Samurai warriors drank Matcha green tea before going into battle because of the tea’s energizing properties, and Zen Buddhist monks and Chinese Daoists drank it as a way to relax and meditate while remaining alert. So it calms you, AND give you energy- naturally! That’s a win win!
4. Boosts memory and concentration– Another side effect of L-Theanine is that it produces dopamine and serotonin which enhance mood, promote better concentration, and improve memory. I need that so that’s yet another benefit for me!
5. Burns calories and detoxifies the body, yet is very low in calories– Drinking Matcha green tea has been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average, but unlike diet aids on the market does not have any negative side effects like increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Yay for me! Also, the Matcha leaves are covered to deprive them of sunlight during the last three weeks before tea leaves are harvested, which causes a huge increase in chlorophyll production. This not only gives the tea its vibrant green color, but it is also a powerful detoxifier capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body. It is very low in calories too. The Matcha I drink has 20 calories per packet and it makes 12-16 ounces of liquid. That’s amazing!
6. Fortifies the immune system and improves cholesterol– The catechins in Matcha tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties, which promotes overall health. Also, one serving provides substantial quantities of Potassium, Vitamins A and C, Iron, Protein, and Calcium. In addition, the nutrients in Matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells. Another cool thing is that people who drink Matcha on a regular basis have lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher levels of HDL (good). Men in particular who drink Matcha tea are 11% less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t drink it.
I am drinking Jade Monk Matcha green tea powder in the cranberry blood orange flavor right this instant and I’m loving it! It doesn’t have the bitter flavor that some teas do, and I don’t have to add any milk, or lemon, or sweeteners like sugar or honey to make it taste delicious. I’m drinking it cold right now, but I prefer it warm. And remember it’s low in calories- one packet contains 20 calories. It’s super easy to make too. If you prefer to drink it warm what I do is use a measuring cup and put 14 ounces of filtered drinking water into it, throw it into the microwave for three minutes and then add it to a drinking glass, pour in the packet, stir and drink. If you’d like it cold, you can add cold filtered water to a drinking glass, pour the packet in, and stir. It’s also really convenient if you’re running out the door to put a water bottle into the fridge to get it cold, pour the packet in, shake and you’re done!
So that’s why I’m loving Matcha green tea right now. The health benefits are numerous, AND NATURAL! I can’t think of any negatives either, which is rare for any product on the market. I purchased the Jade Monk Matcha tea from Whole Foods, but you can purchase it online too. Try it, you’ll like it! It will help you lead a life of vitality- with Valerie!