Do you ever find yourself feeling slow and sluggish, but yet you don’t want to experience the jittery feeling that comes from caffeine? Ditch your cappuccino and try some matcha.
For those of you who are new to the world of matcha, here’s a little info on this mysterious green powder!
Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed tea leaves, which originates from the same plant that all tea comes from: Camellia sinensis. However, unlike regular green tea, matcha is shade-grown 20-30 days before it is harvested. This process not only increases the amino acid content of the tea, but also the chlorophyll content which lends matcha its bright green color. Following the harvest, the leaves are steamed, dried, and ground into a fine powder. So when you drink matcha tea, you’re getting the nutrients from the entire tea leaf!
In the past five or so years matcha has become more and more popular as a substitute for tea and coffee drinkers alike. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s high in antioxidants. Studies have shown that matcha is rich in catechins, a class of plant compounds in tea that act as natural antioxidants. Antioxidants help stabilize harmful free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells and cause chronic disease. Consuming matcha can boost your antioxidant intake which may help to prevent cell damage and lower the risk of several chronic diseases.
- It helps to protect against some cancers. According to multiple published medical studies, Catechin is protective against Prostate, breast, colon, rectal, skin and lung cancer. Keep in mind that this is not guaranteed, as further research is needed.
- It is good for your heart. Some studies have shown that drinking green tea, which is similar to matcha, may help protect against heart disease and strokes. Green tea has been shown to reduce levels of total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. When combined with a well-rounded diet and healthy lifestyle, drinking matcha may help keep your heart healthy and protect against disease.
- It can help improve concentration and focus. Matcha has been shown to improve attention, memory, and reaction time. It also contains caffeine and L-theanine, which alters the effects of caffeine, promoting alertness and helping avoid the crash in energy levels that can follow caffeine consumption. L-theanine has also been shown to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, which may help induce relaxation and decrease stress levels.
- It can help you lose weight. Some studies show that green tea extract, also found in matcha, helps increase metabolism and fat burning, both of which may aid weight loss.
- It won’t give you the jitters. Unlike the caffeine in coffee, which is quickly released into the bloodstream, the caffeine in matcha is slowly released. This is because the caffeine molecules in matcha (and green tea) bind to the catechins. As the catechins break down, caffeine enters the bloodstream slowly over a 6-8 hour period. This process also prevents adrenaline and insulin spikes, which prevents the dreaded caffeine crash and drop in blood sugar.