Matcha green tea is making headlines for its impact on the health and beauty markets. You’ve heard about the potential benefits of drinking green tea, which people have celebrated in Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries. It’s not surprising that after water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. For some, matcha matters most. Here’s why.
What is Matcha?
Matcha, which translates into “powdered tea” in Japanese, is a nutrient-dense, lightly caffeinated green tea (Camellia sinensis). The plant is shade-grown and then harvested by hand when the plant is very young. It is then de-veined (stems removed), steamed briefly to stop fermentation, air-dried and stone-ground into a fine chalky green powder, which deepens its flavor.
Instead of steeping a tea bag in boiling water for a few minutes and then discarding it, when you drink matcha, you’re actually ingesting whole tea leaves. By stirring the loose powder into hot water, it becomes frothy and some sediment may settle at the bottom. The end result is a tea with a deep earthy flavor. (source)
The flavorful and finely ground tea is an essential ingredient for your kitchen, because it provides natural antioxidants, amino acids and a low dose of caffeine to support overall health, energy and vitality.
Here are some of the ways you can celebrate this potent green powder.
Embracing Matcha Culture
From beverages to desserts, and even spa and salon products, matcha is an essential ingredient for health-conscious people everywhere. From Hollywood to New York City, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Jenner are self-proclaimed fans of matcha, even bringing it to yoga class, but there are many other people in cities around the world embracing matcha culture, as well.
While coffeehouses now have matcha lattes on their menus, tea brands offer single-serving versions of the beverage and instant machines for personal use. There are also delicious ideas available online for adding the organic ingredient to your favorite baking recipes. Some favorites include matcha pancakes, brownies and homemade protein bars.
In addition, the natural beauty market touts the ingredient in cosmetics, skin care and hair care products, such as the Green Tea Shampoo by Aubrey Organics, a natural shampoo that cleanses and strengthens hair with organic matcha green tea and ginseng extract.
Benefits of the Green Tea
Unlike the way other teas are processed and prepared, matcha uses the whole leaf, so you get the most nutrients from the plant. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, green tea, which is made from unfermented leaves, contains a powerful blend of antioxidants, including the polyphenol known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), vitamin B and the amino acid L-theanine. (source) Matcha may have many potential health benefits, including supporting normal cellular and immune function, cardiovascular health, vibrant skin and much more.
A 2005 study suggests that the EGCg in matcha may help with metabolic health and maintaining a healthy body weight. In fact, another study two years earlier found that matcha contains three times higher levels of EGCg than in other green teas.
Coffee lovers are even switching to matcha for a more calm, focused energy, because it contains about 30 mg of caffeine — two to three times less caffeine than black tea and a tenth of the caffeine that can be found in drip coffee. (source) According to MatchaBar, a specialty café in New York, the larger plant molecules in matcha cause an extended release of the caffeine, unlike the quick energy rush and crash often experienced with coffee or energy drinks.
Try Matcha Today!
There are several ways to enjoy matcha green tea, but preparation is key. You could use a bamboo whisk to whip the powder into a froth in hot water or in milk, drink a protein smoothie pre- or post-workout, or take organic capsules of the concentrated dried leaves. As an alternative to loose powder and capsules, some people may even take drops of liquid extracts made from the leaf buds.
Here are some of the most popular matcha products here at Natural Healthy Concepts.
Organic Matcha Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs contains 3.5 ounces of the organic green tea with a bold emerald color and mildly sweet flavor, but you may need a larger quantity of the tea.
Matcha Tea Organic from Mountain Rose Herbs contains one pound of certified organic, finely ground young tea leaves, which is perfect for storing for up to one year of use. To prepare the beverage, add 1/2 teaspoon of the powder to 4 to 5 ounces hot water. Whisk thoroughly for 45 seconds. Then enjoy!
Organic Matcha Power by Pure Synergy provides certified organic vegetarian capsules of dried leaf powder that seek to support healthy memory and cognitive function. Just three capsules contain the antioxidants of several cups of other green tea.
Pro Matcha by Vibrant Health is a vegan-friendly, plant-based powder that delivers 21 grams of protein per serving, essential amino acids and antioxidants. The formula may help fuel your workouts. Natural Healthy Concepts offers the blend in a variety of delicious flavors, including vanilla, chocolate and natural.
“Medicine Hunter” Chris Kilham recommends drinking about two cups of matcha tea per day. However, there’s no shortcut to good health. Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet, getting enough sleep and exercising are among the best ways to benefit your body.
Keep in mind that in general, children, pregnant women or those with high blood pressure should not drink caffeinated beverages. Follow the recommended servings per day, and matcha green tea may work for you.
Have you tried matcha green tea? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!