Are you someone who likes to be on top of every trend? If so, then you may have noticed that matcha has been in the pop culture spotlight for a while now.
You may know matcha as a pretty green latte or as a slight umami flavor in your green smoothies, but this green tea powder has been consumed as a hot tea for centuries because of its health benefits. Here are some of our favorite matcha health benefits and some yummy ways to enjoy this tiny marvel.
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What Is Matcha?
Matcha is a form of green tea. Like green tea, matcha is made from the oxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis tea plant. However, matcha is made by grinding green tea leaves into a fine powder, which creates tea when combined with hot water. Unlike some other forms of tea, matcha dissolves into the water.
Although matcha comes from the same plant as black tea, green tea, white tea, and most other tea varieties, the plant must be grown in slightly different conditions to create matcha. Tea plants intended for matcha are grown in the shade for a few weeks directly before harvesting.
This small difference makes the tea leaves’ caffeine and L-theanine content skyrocket. Once harvested, full tea leaves are ground up, resulting in a highly caffeinated tea powder that is much more powerful than regular green tea.
Matcha powder creates a characteristic bright green tea due to the chlorophyll content in the tea leaves. Although we love its trendy color, there’s so much more to matcha than meets the eye.
A Brief History of Matcha
Although it is now used as a flavor additive in trendy drinks, matcha has deep roots in Chinese Buddhism and Japanese culture. This drink was known for its spiritual properties long before it was a modern-day superfood.
Matcha first showed up in China, where Buddhist monks used the drink to focus during their meditations. This makes sense with modern medicine because matcha’s L-theanine makes for an awesome and sustainable booster for focus.
As world travel became more commonplace, matcha made its way over to Japan. Over time, the drink intertwined itself with Japanese culture, and the Japanese tea ceremony was born.
The Japanese tea ceremony is an intimately spiritual ceremony that highlights the harmony that exists between people, nature, and art. The ceremony involves drinking matcha in a meditative fashion while spiritually connecting with the environment.
Japanese ceremonies use only the highest quality matcha, which is why that high-quality matcha is referred to as ceremonial-grade.
Over time, matcha spread across the world. Now, the drink is consumed in a much less spiritual fashion with more and more drinkers emphasizing matcha’s health benefits over its spiritual benefits.
9 Health Benefits of Matcha
It’s not hard to believe that matcha has plenty of health benefits because it’s technically made from a plant. If it comes from a plant, it has to be healthy… right?
We love matcha because it combines the benefits of green tea with some unique twists. Read on for some of our favorite matcha health benefits.
Packed With Antioxidants
Matcha is full of antioxidants such as catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. In fact, matcha contains a specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is an incredibly powerful antioxidant (and it helps contribute to that great energy boost).
Antioxidants help maintain your health in quite a few ways, working to maintain your immune system strength so that your body continues to fight off infection properly.
Better Energy Boost
Many people associate morning energy boosts with coffee. We get it, since one cup of coffee contains a whopping 96 mg of caffeine.
However, one cup of matcha green tea typically contains around 70 mg of caffeine. It’s not quite as much as coffee, but it’s close enough to give you a noticeable increase in energy. This is because of the oxidation process the green tea leaves go through as they’re prepared for tea making.
Matcha also includes an amino acid called L-theanine, which helps you relax and improves your focus. This acid combined with the caffeine content can provide a substantial energy boost, but without the caffeine jitters.
Because L-theanine and its pal catechins are absorbed differently by the body than the caffeine in coffee, we get a slower, more sustained rise without that inevitable coffee crash.
Support Brain Function
Besides mellowing out your energy boost, L-theanine has a few other health benefits. First, we mentioned that L-theanine improves your focus.
While the acid does improve focus in the short term, consistent consumption of L-theanine can also help support focus and attention span for the long term. In fact, L-theanine is associated with stronger memory and razor-sharp focus.
Matcha’s catechins can also support your cognitive function while you age. These hard-working antioxidants help keep your brain active and alert like a well-oiled machine.
May Maintain Heart Health
There’s a lot that can impact your heart health, but one of the main culprits of heart issues is stress. With the introduction of social media and lightning-fast communication, stress is everywhere.
This means it’s more important than ever to take care of your heart health. Luckily, green tea may protect your heart and help lower your risk of heart problems.
Both green tea and matcha can also help maintain healthy blood pressure levels so that your heart isn’t as exposed to wear and tear over the years. The catechins in these teas also encourage healthy LDL cholesterol levels, which can help lower your risk for cardiovascular issues and certain heart diseases.
We don’t have enough solid proof of green tea’s heart-protecting properties, but studies are promising. We’re looking forward to new research in the future!
Protect Against Long-Term Illness
Remember that super-strong antioxidant, EGCG? Well, scientists around the world have researched EGCG and discovered that it may help reduce the risk of long-term illness.
Some chronic diseases don’t show up right away but can slowly develop over time. Sometimes, it’s hard to even know there’s an issue until it has progressed.
EGCG can help lower your risk of this happening by targeting long-term illnesses as they develop. We still recommend a yearly checkup to support your overall health, but making matcha a regular part of your diet can keep you healthier for longer.
Maintain a Healthy Metabolism
Matcha can also help maintain a healthy metabolism. This is partly due to EGCG but also due in part to other green tea catechins.
An unbalanced metabolism is often linked to fluctuations in blood sugar. Although more research is needed, studies have shown that EGCG can help your body process carbohydrates, which leads to a more balanced metabolism and greater overall well-being.
Helps Protect Liver
Your liver is an important part of your metabolism. Besides creating insulin, your liver also filters out toxins to keep your body clean and healthy.
Although research is limited, some studies show that green tea extract may help protect your liver against disease and metabolism issues. Others suggest that green tea can help lower your risk of liver issues in general by supporting overall liver health.
However, these studies specifically study the effects of green tea. While matcha is a type of green tea, we still need more research on the effects of matcha itself.
Full of Vitamins and Nutrients
If you’re someone who wakes up and takes vitamins and supplements each morning, then you might want to try a morning cup of green tea. Matcha is rich in many of those daily nutrients, although we still recommend talking with your doctor or a dietitian to make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients.
Some of the important vitamins in matcha include vitamin C, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, and vitamin A. In fact, one-half teaspoon of matcha includes 10% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C!
Some important nutrients found in matcha include zinc, manganese, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chromium, and copper. Who knew so much healthy goodness could be packed into one small drink?
Easy to Make and Delicious
Finally, matcha is incredibly easy to make. It’s also super easy to drink since it’s so delicious.
We mentioned before that all you need for traditional matcha is matcha and hot water. While this is true, you can also enjoy matcha in a variety of different formats!
To make traditional matcha, you need some unique pieces of equipment. You’ll need a bamboo whisk to create a yummy amount of green tea froth, and you might even invest in a matcha bowl to sip your tea from.
Luckily, we sell a matcha starter set that includes a bamboo whisk, bamboo matcha scoop, your choice of matcha bowl, and your choice of matcha whisk holder. It’s a full setup all in one package!
How to Enjoy Matcha
After learning about how many benefits matcha has, we understand if you’re ready to start incorporating it into your diet right away. There are so many delicious ways to start drinking (and eating) matcha that we thought we’d share our favorite matcha recipes.
As a Hot Drink
To enjoy matcha as a hot drink, your first step is to pick your favorite matcha blend. Once you have your tea picked out, pour hot water over the powder and use your bamboo whisk to whip up the tea into a froth. Once a good froth forms on the top, you’re all set to enjoy your matcha tea!
As a Smoothie
You can add a delicious umami flavor to a fruit and veggie smoothie by adding a half teaspoon of matcha. One of our favorite smoothies to add matcha to is a spinach and avocado smoothie. With the spinach, avocado, and matcha, you’re basically drinking liquified nutrients.
As a Latte
You can quickly make a delicious matcha latte by brewing some hot matcha. Once your matcha is ready, combine it with some sweetener and frothed milk to create a drink so good that you’ll have a hard time believing it’s healthy.
In Some Cupcakes
Spice up your favorite cupcakes by creating a creamy matcha icing. Simply spread this icing over a cupcake of any flavor for an instant nutrient boost that just so happens to also satisfy your sweet tooth.
Matcha has a rich history and even richer health benefits. This powdered green tea can do everything from increasing your focus to maintaining your blood sugar. The real question is, what can’t matcha do?
Matcha Tea Shop
Savor the bold and rich flavors of matcha with our wide selection of different types of matcha tea. Matcha is an ancient Japanese Tea that gives you an energy boost while letting you detox with its anti-oxidant properties. Known for its healing powers, matcha tea benefits are massive. Our selection includes different matcha flavors ranging from matcha green teas to floral and fruity matcha drinks.
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.