Superfoods are everywhere these days, and while some products might not be as great as they claim, Matcha tea is truly a magnificent superfood. Numerous studies have proven matcha to have astounding health benefits. I’m writing about matcha because I have personally experienced wonderful health benefits. The best part? Matcha tastes amazing and there’s nothing better than a healthy AND tasty superfood.
What Is Matcha Tea?
While matcha has grown incredibly in popularity over the last several years, it has actually been consumed for centuries by the Japanese. The history of matcha can be traced back nearly 1000 years!! Matcha is grown primarily in Japan, and this is where most of the finest matcha is sourced from. The Japanese Tea Ceremony has been celebrated since the 1500’s, where matcha tea is consumed in a tea ceremony. This ceremony represents harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. So lovely! I personally do feel tranquility when I consume my matcha tea, one of the many matcha tea benefits.
Matcha is made of finely ground, premium green tea leaves which are turned into a powder. The benefits of this green tea begin here. When consuming most teas, we steep the tea and drink the nutrients from the water. Consuming matcha tea means you consume the entire green tea leaf which provides enhanced benefits over drinking steeped tea itself.
Packed With Antioxidants
Matcha tea is incredibly high in anti-oxidants. In fact it is one of the highest anti-oxidant containing foods in existence and ranks very high on the ORAC scale. Catechins, which are the anti-oxidants in matcha tea, have wonderful anti-aging properties. Drinking matcha tea regularly helps to increase the body’s ability to scavenge free radicals which can damage the body in many ways. We are constantly exposed to free radical damage from diet, stress, environmental pollutants, and more, and even our drinking water!
Antioxidants are also beneficial for heart health, and they can lower your risk of infections and build your immunity.
Great For Mood, Memory, & Sleep
Many of us reach for our morning cup of coffee to help wake us up and get the day started. Some of us feel that we couldn’t start our day without a coffee. While coffee gives you energy, it provides you with a spike in energy, and then eventually a crash. For some, coffee can lead them to feel gittery and anxious. Matcha too has high levels of caffeine (it contains around 10 times more than a regular cup of green tea), however, it also contains high levels of l-theanine, which provide a slower, and more steady release of the caffeine, making this one of the main matcha tea benefits This helps to make your body and mind feel more energy and alertness, without having a crash later in the day. You also don’t feel anxious or gittery like with coffee, because in fact, the l-theanine helps to promote a sense of calm and relaxation.
When combined with caffeine, l-theanine promotes mental clarity, and increases attention and focus. I personally have been drinking matcha tea very regularly this year and I have found a massive difference in the way I feel mentally. My mind feels so clear and calm, and I find I work more efficiently and even have better decision making because of this.
The l-theanine naturally increases serotonin levels. Serotonin is one of our “happy hormones”. Adequate levels of serotonin help to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. Therefore matcha is a wonderful mood elevator, and I also personally experience this effect first hand. Furthermore, because matcha increases serotonin, it can be beneficial for promoting a better sleep. When serotonin levels are high during the day, melatonin levels naturally increase on their own during the evening. So drink your matcha in the morning and enjoy wonderful energy during the day and a beautiful sleep at night. Don’t drink your matcha in the evening, because you might not be able to fall asleep!
Weight Loss & Detoxification Properties
Because of matcha’s high anti-oxidant and chlorophyll levels, it is wonderful for giving the body a gentle detox. Drinking matcha daily or a few times per week can give the body a regular detox that you don’t even have to think about! Just sit back and enjoy a calming, mood enhancing latte, and reap the benefits of a natural detox at the same time. With all of these factors in mind along with the overall high nutrient content in this wonderful tea, it can also help with boosting your metabolism, and in turn can result in weight loss.
What kind of matcha should I buy?
I definitely recommend to buy the most pure form of matcha to enjoy both the best flavour and the most health benefits. I suggest a certified organic and ceremonial grade. You want to drink this tea in it’s purest form, not drink pesticides! The ceremonial grade is what is used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Organic culinary matcha is another option for if you like to use matcha for baking, and to be honest I buy the culinary grade for my matcha teas all the time. It’s a more affordable option if you’re on a budget, and still gives you great benefits!.
In coffee shops these days you will find matcha lattes, however I recommend asking what type of matcha they use, and if it is sweetened or contains any fillers or artificial ingredients. Many coffee shops and cafes serve matcha that is not organic, low-grade, and has pre-mixed sugars and other ingredients. However, many cafes do serve pure matcha tea, so ask for the ingredients to be sure! The only ingredient in their matcha tea mix should be green tea! I love to enjoy the purest version to obtain all of the incredible matcha tea benefits, and no artificial ingredients. Enjoying a matcha at a cafe is lovely, but purchasing matcha tea and making it at home will ensure you get a great quality and more affordable product.
My personal favourite way that I enjoy matcha tea is to make a matcha latte. I love iced matcha almost all year long, as well as hot matcha lattes. Check out my recipe for my iced matcha which I drink multiple times per week. You can make this exact same recipe but heat it up for a hot matcha latte. There are endless ways to use matcha in recipes. Aside from drinks, matcha works wonderfully in desserts, smoothies, and much more. I’m seriously obsessed with both the flavour and the matcha tea benefits, and I truly enjoy this superfood at least 3-5 times a week. You too can enjoy matcha tea benefits all throughout the week!