WHAT IS MATCHA?
Referred to by some as “green tea on steroids,” matcha is a powdered green tea from Japan that delivers even more health benefits than brewed tea. “When you [consume matcha], you ingest one hundred percent of the nutritional benefit of the entire leaf, not the just brew as with loose leaf tea,” explains Matcha Source founder Alissa White.
To make matcha, farmers steam and air dry the green tea leaves after harvesting. The leaves are sorted for grade, destemmed and deveined. “At this stage, the leaves become tencha, the precursor to matcha. The tencha is then ground and becomes matcha,” says White. “Matcha Source tea grade matcha is ground on a stone mill to achieve a fine powder texture, unlike industrial grade matcha which is ground by machines.” The stone mill grinding process improves the characteristic taste and mouth feel of matcha.
NUTRITIONAL COMPONENTS OF MATCHA
According to White, matcha has been linked to longevity, prevention of cancer and other disease, detoxification, and mood enhancement. “It has also been recognized as having a beneficial impact on blood sugar regulation, cholesterol control and heart health support,” the Matcha Source founder explains. “These benefits are derived from antioxidants (specifically EGCg), amino acids (specifically L-theanine), chlorophyll and vitamins A, C and E.”
Matcha powder is superior in nutrition compared to brewed tea because some green tea nutrients stay locked in the leaf, which is removed from brewed tea once it has steeped.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MATCHA
Research shows that matcha increases metabolism, fights cancer, delays premature aging, and relaxes the mind.
MATCHA BOOSTS FAT BURNING
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that matcha green tea produces a significant increase in energy expenditure (a measure of metabolism) in individuals, combined with a significant effect on fat oxidation.
"While some of the effects were originally attributed to the caffeine content of green tea, the researchers discovered that the matcha green tea effects on energy and weight loss go beyond those that would be caused by the caffeine," says White. "In fact, they found that consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8 to10 percent of daily energy expenditure to between 35 and 43 percent of daily energy expediture."
Of critical importance is the fact that none of the research subjects reported any side effects, and no significant differences in heart rates were noticed. “In this respect, matcha green tea is different from some of the prescription drugs for obesity, and herbal products like ephedra, which can raise heart rates and blood pressure, and are not recommended for many individuals,” stresses White.
MATCHA IS AN ANTIOXIDANT SUPER POWER
According to experts, one glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content. Research done by Tufts University indicates that the ORAC (measure of antioxidant levels in foods) capacity of matcha green tea is exponentially higher than other high-antioxidants foods, such as blueberries and spinach. “The ORAC rating of matcha is 1300 units/g, compared to 105 units/g for pomegranates and 91 units/g for wild blueberries,” adds White.
Further, the type of antioxidants found in green tea are particularly beneficial to health. In addition to forestalling premature aging, antioxidants are, more importantly, believed to combat cancer. There are many types of antioxidants. However, the class known as catechins, only found in green tea, may be the most potent of all, according to White. “Of the catechins, EGCg (epicgallocatechin gallate) is the catechin with the broadest and most potent cancer-fighting properties. Sixty percent of the catechin content of matcha tea is EGCg,” says the matcha expert.
MATCHA CAN IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
Matcha isn’t a newly discovered mood booster. White says, “Buddhist monks drank matcha to assist in meditation, as matcha’s amino acids combined with caffeine, offer a sustained calm alertness over time.” In particular, the amino acid L-theanine found in matcha has been shown to relax the mind. “For this reason, matcha is also known as a mood enhancer,” she adds.Posted on September 22nd at 2:47 PM
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