Matcha is the supreme of all green teas, ordinary green tea just pales in comparison, literally.
So what is Matcha?
I guess you’ve gathered, if you didn’t know already that Matcha is a green tea from Japan. By the way, if you haven’t heard of Matcha, what kind of a health freak are you? I drink Matcha latte every morning, if on the odd occasion I don’t, I simply don’t function the same, I lack energy, focus and am not as chilled. It’s my morning ‘kick ass’ fuel that gets me through the stresses of the day and I absolutely love it!
Matcha is a powder made from the full leaf of the Camellia sinensis plant, regular green tea is made by steeping the leaves only, so you are not consuming the compounds, just the water extract.
Matcha originates from the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant as all teas, whether white black or green. The word ‘Matcha’ means ‘powdered’, the key difference is the production process used to make matcha. The plants are covered 20-30 days prior to it’s harvest to keep out direct sunlight. This production method is what increases the chlorophyll, amino acids and gives the plant its dark green colour. After harvest the veins and stems are removed and just the leaves are ground up into the fine powder of Matcha. The whole process gives Matcha it’s amazing potency.
Whilst there only seems to be small studies undertaken around the benefits of green tea, these studies point to the following benefits:
1. High antioxidants
It is high in antioxidants, now we all know how good these little fellas are for you. There are disputes around the amount of antioxidants in matcha, but there is no dispute that they are rich in them. I know I feel better, my skin has improved, could this be in part down to matcha?
2. Helps Prevent Cancer
Here is an extract from one study undertaken by the University of Salford in the United Kingdom:
“The effects on human breast cancer cells were very striking, the active ingredients in matcha having a surgical effect in knocking out certain signalling pathways. Our results are consistent with the idea that matcha may have significant therapeutic potential, mediating the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells.”
See full article Here
3. Boosts Brain Function
For me match has helped reduce my anxiety, I just don’t feel as calm and relaxed if I don’t have my daily morning matcha, regardless of what studies say, it works for me. I believe it helps me focus and get more done, I know this by comparing the days I don’t have my matcha, whether it’s mind over matter is irrelevant, it works for me.
See extract of review of 21 studies below:
The reviewed studies presented evidence that green tea influences psychopathological symptoms (e.g. reduction of anxiety), cognition (e.g. benefits in memory and attention) and brain function (e.g. activation of working memory seen in functional MRI). The effects of green tea cannot be attributed to a single constituent of the beverage. This is exemplified in the finding that beneficial green tea effects on cognition are observed under the combined influence of both caffeine and l-theanine, whereas separate administration of either substance was found to have a lesser impact.
See full article regarding the review which shows the effects of matcha on cognition, mood and brain function Here
4. Helps Protect Your Liver
There is some evidence to suggest drinking green tea may protect your liver from disease, see extract from study below:
In conclusion, this study is the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date to have assessed the association between green tea drinking and liver disease. Our results suggested that green tea intake is a protective factor for liver diseases. Still, future large-scale randomized clinical trials are needed to validate these conclusions.
See full article Here
5. Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
There is evidence to suggest that drinking green tea is also good for your heart, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, see extract below:
Lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease may be as easy as drinking green tea. Studies suggest this light, aromatic tea may lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which may be responsible for the tea’s association with reduced risk of death from heart disease and stroke.
See full article Here
Matcha has also been reported to aid weight loss, although I could not find a study I was confident in using for this article.
How to choose your Matcha
Use ceremonial grade certified organic only.
- Bamboo ‘Chasen’ (whisk)
- Bowl to whisk the powder
- Measuring spoon / cup, don’t guess the amount (see below ‘what you need to know’)
What you need to know
Here are some key things you need to know before you start drinking Matcha:
- Never ever drink Matcha after about 2.00pm in the afternoon, otherwise you may be up most of the night, this is why I prefer to have mine first thing in the morning. The reason for this is it is high in caffeine, but unlike the caffeine in coffee it won’t make you jittery, you will feel relaxed but alert.
- Hot water should not exceed 80 degrees celsius, any hotter and it will taste too bitter.
- Never exceed more than 30g a day, you can split this and have two cups. If you exceed this you risk causing liver problems.
- When making Matcha Latte, never make it with cow’s milk because it can hinder absorption of nutrients. I use almond milk, but oat and soya milk would work too.
- Matcha can increase exposure to chemicals and pesticides, arsenic may be in the soil where the plants are grown too.
- Green tea can interfere with certain chemotherapy drugs, so should be avoided if undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
How to Make Matcha Latte
- Warm your plant based milk
- Boil kettle (no more than 80 degree celsius)
- Put a teaspoon matcha powder in bowl
- Add water from kettle
- Whisk with chasen side to side initially to disperse the powder in the water, then side to side in a ‘W’ shape to ensure all the powder is dissolved, this will make it froth too.
- Put your warm plant based milk in a cup, then add the whisked matcha and stir
- Use it when baking cakes or cookies
- Add to your smoothies
- Add to your porridge
- Make Matcha ice cubes