Drinking matcha green tea is a centuries old Japanese tradition, yet the stoneground green tea leaves have emerged as a trending treatment that has been linked to healing and medicinal properties, which natural food enthusiasts and holistic medicine practitioners have likely known for many years.
Matcha has become a popular natural foodie breakfast staple lauded for its many health benefits. Matcha green tea powder is green tea in its finest form: a bright green, silt-like substance that you can mix with hot water; drink as an iced tea or blend into lattes, smoothies and popular breakfast bowls. Matcha offers maximum exposure to vitamins C and zinc for immunity; minerals like magnesium, selenium and chromium; amino acids and powerful antioxidants. It has a mild green tea taste, at once velvety and earthy and if mixed with a bamboo whisk, frothy as well.
Various companies that manufacture matcha green tea tout health benefits like prevention of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and growth of cancer cells; anti-aging properties and even increased metabolism and weight-loss. The scientific literature is limited, however, with little to no conclusive evidence that matcha green tea aids in healing or curing illnesses. The Wall Street Journal suggests that users may absorb some health benefits from matcha green tea “when at least 600 milligrams to 900 milligrams a day of catechins are consumed, the amount in three or four cups of green tea.”
Catechins are a type of flavonoid and antioxidant most abundant in the evergreen tea plant, Camellia sinensis, whose leaves and leaf buds are used to make green, black, white and oolong teas. Green tea leaves are processed differently than others; they are withered and steamed, and so contain a high concentration of catechins.
One particular catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), constitutes 60 percent of catechins found in matcha green tea. And EGCg has been widely recognized for its ability to fight certain types of cancers. Antioxidants, like those found in matcha green tea, combat free radicals and help reduce damage to cells; they can be found in other superfoods like blueberries, pomegranates, acai berries, goji berries and even dark chocolate.
In addition to potential health benefits gained from drinking matcha green tea, users can expect an energy boost that rivals coffee. But it’s not the typical nervous energy you get from the brewed brown bean. Matcha green tea promotes mental acuity, or alertness without the shakes.
— Teaologists (@Teaologists) February 18, 2016
According to the Wall Street Journal, matcha should be consumed in moderation:
“Jim White, a Virginia Beach, Va., dietitian and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional organization, says the catechin concentration in matcha makes it potentially healthy. But he warns against consuming too much, in part because the academy recommends a maximum of 300 milligrams daily of caffeine.
“An 8-ounce cup of Teavana Imperial Grade Matcha, prepared as Starbucks recommends, contains 120 milligrams of caffeine, the company says. That compares with about 50 to 60 milligrams for a cup of brewed green tea, and 160 milligrams for a cup of medium roast brewed coffee, Starbucks says.”
Matcha green tea is more concentrated than loose green tea leaves, containing as much antioxidant power as found in 10 servings of brewed green tea. The chlorophyll in matcha additionally helps rid the body of heavy metals, chemicals and other toxins, providing users with a safe way to detox on a regular basis without harmful or unpleasant side-effects.
While the science behind matcha green tea may remain shrouded in mystery, popular culture seems to have adopted the green powder as part of a movement toward improved health and wellness.
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