If green tea has always been your proud choice of beverage, you’re on the right track to making better dietary choices. However, if you’re interested in upping your health food game, you’ll want to make a little hop onto the matcha bandwagon instead.
We say little hop, because the only difference is you’re ingesting the tea leaves too. Finely ground into a zesty emerald green powder, matcha is derived from organic green tea leaves, and has had a place in Japanese culture for centuries.
First used in China as a drug for ailments in the ninth century, matcha made a name for itself when Zen Buddhist monks labeled it the ‘health elixir’ for its unusual ability to promote calmness while heightening alertness. Unlike regular green tea, the tea bushes used for this purpose are grown in the shade. Limiting sunlight reduces the rate of photosynthesis and slows plant growth, which gives the leaves more time to stimulate chlorophyll and amino acid production, hence their darker green hue.
Now, the time-honoured beverage is recognised worldwide as one of the most beneficial beverages out there. Besides being rich in vitamin A, B-complex, C, E, and K, there are also unbelievable amounts of antioxidants, catechins and amino acids.
While the benefits of matcha are endless, we bring you 5 of the most important reasons you need to start on this nutrient-packed drink today.
Because you’re now ingesting the leaves instead of just their essence, you can expect the antioxidant returns to go up substantially too. Matcha is packed with more antioxidants than lots of other health foods such as leafy vegetables, nuts and berries, so you’ll definitely see a difference if you have your daily dose religiously.
Besides being almost calorie-free, matcha fires up your metabolic system to help you burn up to four times more calories for the same amount of activity. Like pharmaceuticals which promise the same results or better, matcha is completely natural and doesn’t put any stress on your body, heart rate or blood pressure.
Though still a caffeinated beverage, matcha releases a caffeine different from that present in regular coffee. Called Theophylline, this unique form of caffeine releases itself in small amounts over a number of hours instead of coffee’s, which makes a rush for your bloodstream immediately. You’ll feel a sustained energy throughout the day, sans the jitters, heart palpitations and sudden drop in energy.
Before the overwhelming urge to toss your laptop out the window takes over again, try sipping on a cup of matcha. After all, the Japanese Zen Buddhist monks swear by it, keeping them alert but relaxed during meditation at the same time. Credited to the high levels of L-theanine amino acid, matcha boosts alpha waves in the brain which encourage relaxation and mental clarity — just what we need at midday.
Anything that’s naturally green has to be good for your body, and bad for cancer cells. The presence of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and polyphenols in matcha retards the proliferation of malignant cancer cells while promoting apoptosis for quicker recovery. Meanwhile chlorophyll helps detox the body of toxins, heavy metals, and hormone disruptors.