Matcha tea has a long and distinguished history in the East, spanning early Chinese Dynasties all the way to Zen Buddhist Monks in Japan. While these ancient beginnings are to be cherished, the broad array of health benefits that matcha provides is something we can truly embrace today.
Japanese tea leaves grow in the shade to increase chlorophyll content. These chlorophyll-rich leaves are then handpicked, steamed, dried and ground into a fine green powder. Because matcha is straight, stone-ground tea leaves, matcha provides you with green teas powerful arsenal of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids in a way no other green tea can.
Instead of throwing away the leaves, you ingest all their nutrients. In fact, a single serving of matcha would be the equivalent of at least ten cups of brewed green tea. The powers of matcha are manifold a cancer-fighter, a fat-burner, a stress-reducer, and much more, matcha leaves other teas far behind.
1) Cancer Fighter
Matcha contains potent antioxidants called catechins, which aren’t found in other foods. The most powerful catechin found in green tea is EGCg (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), which is thought to be a powerful anti-carcinogen. Most importantly, EGCg and other catechins counteract the effects of free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage.
A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCg compared to a conventional cup of green tea.
One of biggest the buzzwords in nutrition, antioxidants, are naturally occurring chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases. When it comes to actual antioxidant content, the numbers for matcha are off the charts.
3) Heart Disease Preventer: Lowers LDL Cholesterol
A 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that administration of green tea beverages or extracts significantly lowered serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations.
4) Fat Burner
Matcha has been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat and as such is a great addition to any weight loss program because of it.
A 1999 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that green tea extract rich in catechins has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by the tea’s caffeine content. It was found that thermogenesis (the body’s rate of burning calories) increased from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure. Another study demonstrated that exercising immediately after drinking matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise.
At the same time, matcha does not put any stress on the body. It does not raise blood pressure or heart rate, making it a safe alternative to questionable quick fixes or pharmaceuticals ridden with side effects.
5) Stress Reducer
Matcha is rich in L-Theanine, a rare amino acid that actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being . While L-Theanine is common in all tea, matcha may contain up to five times more than common black and green teas. It has been used an aid to meditation practice and during long hours of sitting, monks would drink matcha to remain alert yet calm.
The combination of L-theanine and caffeine has been shown to promote faster simple reaction time, faster numeric working memory reaction time and improved sentence verification accuracy.
6) Energy Booster
Matcha drinkers often experience a boost of energy throughout the day. It’s an ideal substitute for coffee because it provides an energy shot without the headaches you might get from a coffee crash. No jitters, no nervousness, no upset stomach, and no crash. All of this thanks to matcha’s minimal amount of caffeine and it’s unique mix of antioxidants and nutrients.
Practiced for centuries by many cultures around the world detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.
Matcha can help to safely cleanse and purge the body of harmful elements. Chlorophyll is a powerful detoxifier, helping to eliminate both chemicals and heavy metals from the body. And because matcha is carefully shade-grown, it is substantially richer in chlorophyll than other green teas, making it a superior daily detox.
Matcha green tea leaves contain a high level of dietary fiber.
Further reading and references:
University of Colorado: Matcha and Catechins
- Nagoya University Department of Psychology: L-Theanine and Stress Responses
- University of Shizuoka: L-Theanine and Relaxation Effects
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Green Tea Extract and Fat Loss
- Livestrong.com: Benefits of Matcha
- Livestrong.com: Green Tea and Belly Fat