Did you know that green tea doesn’t just taste good; it’s also good for you? Taking a few minutes to brew up a cup of tea during the day can have a wide range of positive health effects, no matter your age.
Want more about matcha benefits and how much you need to drink to access them? We have all you need to know about the benefits of matcha.
What Is Matcha?
Matcha has had a significant increase in popularity over the last few years. The green powder comes from Camellia sinensis, a small medicinal plant native to East Asia. C. Sinensis has also been called the “tea plant” because other popular tea varieties, including Assam, black, oolong, and black teas, are also made from its leaves.
When farmers use the plant to grow matcha, it goes through a slightly different growing process than when growing other tea varieties. Instead of being grown in the sun until maturity, C. sinensis is covered and grown in the shade for three to four weeks before being harvested.
The lack of direct sunlight allows the plant to produce more amino acids, l-theanine, and caffeine than other teas. It also increases the amount of chlorophyll and gives the tea its unique green hue.
Once matcha is ready to be processed, the stems and veins are removed from the green tea leaves. All that remains are the leaves themselves, which are dried and ground into a fine powder.
Matcha Benefits: What You Need To Know
But it isn’t just about how great matcha green tea tastes; there are also plenty of health benefits that it imparts. Although some of the potential benefits of matcha green tea are still in the process of scientific review, anecdotal evidence strongly points to its ability to help in a few specific areas.
Keep in mind that, although there are plenty of positive benefits, it’s not recommended to drink more than a few cups a day. Too much of a good thing can be bad for you, too. Consume matcha in moderation to stay in the healthy range.
Matcha powder is packed with catechins, an antioxidant-rich natural plant compound that comes from polyphenols. Antioxidants are highly sought after because of their ability to support and protect the entire body’s health.
They do this mainly through the way they counteract dangerous free radicals, molecules lacking an electron that try to replace it by “stealing” one from any other cells or molecules it comes into contact with.
Researchers estimate that there are up to 137 times more catechins in matcha powder than in other types of green teas. One specific type of catechin that may be especially beneficial is epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG). EGCG has been potentially linked to helping to fight off certain types of cancer cells, including prostate, lung, skin, and liver.
However, studies into this phenomenon have only been conducted on animals, so human studies are necessary before a conclusive link can be proven.
Boosts Brain Health and Function
One of the most unexpected benefits of matcha may be its impact on brain health and function.
While the research is still ongoing, one study revealed that participants that consumed matcha (versus a placebo) showed a boost in their reaction time, memory, and ability to stay alert. These results may be related to the relatively higher amount of caffeine matcha contains.
However, while caffeine alone can help, it can also lead to a crash once it wears off. Matcha’s high l-theanine content provides a natural antidote to this crash while potentially increasing stress-reducing alpha wave activity in the brain. The duo works together to help you enjoy the benefits of caffeine without feeling as tired or irritable after.
In addition, just the simple act of sitting down with a warm cup of tea can promote a sense of calmness. You can even combine matcha with meditation for an extra boost of mindfulness and peace. Try it with your next session and see if you notice a difference.
May Help Support Heart Health
As a whole, green teas are generally supportive of the heart. With heart disease continuing to be a leading killer worldwide, anything you can do to counteract it can positively impact your overall health.
Matcha tea may potentially impact several risk factors of heart disease, lowering your overall risk.
Studies have shown that consuming even regular green tea may help reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol), which medical professionals refer to as “bad” cholesterol, and another type of unhealthy cholesterol called triglycerides.
High cholesterol levels can lead to a buildup in your arteries, which can eventually block them entirely and lead to an increased risk of heart attack or other serious complications.
Combine matcha green tea consumption with a focus on increasing your cardiovascular exercise to boost your heart health. Even just 30 minutes a few times a week can have incredible cardioprotective effects.
Start from where you are, even if that just means taking your dog for a long walk once or twice this week. Over time, you can build up your tolerance and surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish!
Can Help Assist With Weight Loss
If your doctor has directed you to lose weight, you likely know how overwhelming the idea is. Changing your entire diet, watching your macronutrients, developing an exercise plan — all of these components are essential to helping lose weight, but they also take effort.
Luckily, matcha may give you an additional way to boost your weight loss results without having to do anything but boil water. When you drink matcha and other green teas, it helps to increase your metabolism.
With a higher metabolism, you also naturally burn more energy and fat doing the same activities. It can be just the help you need to get off the couch and take your power back.
How To Incorporate Matcha Benefits Into Your Life
All it takes is a few teaspoons of matcha powder to start reaping its benefits. How you prepare it depends on your specific tastes and flavor preferences, but many people prefer to mix one to two teaspoons of powder with two ounces of hot water and enjoy it all on its own.
For others, this is a little too “earthy” tasting. Luckily, you can get as creative as you want!
Try adding milk and a little simple syrup to make your own matcha latte or throwing a teaspoon into your next smoothie. Some people even choose to go back with matcha, although you may not get as many benefits.
On its own, matcha is full of nutrients like vitamins and minerals but also low in calories. That means you can enjoy the health benefits of matcha without worrying about it ruining your diet.
With the potential weight loss benefits of matcha, it makes for a great, guilt-free drink to help you power through your day and reach your goals.
Matcha isn’t just delicious; there are plenty of matcha benefits that can positively impact your body. From its high antioxidant content to its potential to support the heart and promote optimal health.
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