By Emily Clayton
Matcha: you see it everywhere from cafe menus to supermarket shelves. This vibrant green tea powder is prized for a medley of health benefits and a taste unlike anything else. Let’s explore how matcha can boost your energy, help your skin and give you one more reason to smile each morning.
Matcha vs Green Tea: What’s the Difference?
Matcha consists of crushed, dried green tea leaves, and when you ingest it, you drink the dissolved powder as well. Green tea comes in loose tea or tea bag form, and you drink only the steeped liquid.
To produce authentic matcha, which only comes from Japan, growers shade the plants from sunlight for 20 to 30 days before harvest. This produces high levels of theanine, which provides the full-bodied flavor of the tea. Then they harvest the leaves, steam them, and let the leaves air-dry. Finally, growers grind the leaves into a fine powder using a stone mill.
Matcha Health Benefits
Thanks to its specialized growing and preparation techniques, matcha imparts a wealth of health benefits upon the drinker.
Matcha can help boost your memory and brain function due to high amounts of the amino acid L-theanine. This amino acid is found naturally in both black and green teas, and it works in conjunction with caffeine to enhance your focus and memory. L-theanine also helps reduce the negative effects of caffeine by introducing alpha waves and a sense of calm; it also increases dopamine and reduces anxiety.
If you need a boost in energy, you already know that caffeine works well. The good news is that matcha has even more caffeine than standard green tea, yet as we mentioned above, the presence of L-theanine helps lessen caffeine-induced jitteriness and other unwanted effects. EGCG, one of the catechin antioxidants found in matcha, also helps fuel your metabolism and reduce your likelihood of fatigue. You’ll strengthen your endurance as you burn more fat and increase your energy output. This is especially important for athletes and other sports professionals.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Those with cardiovascular conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease or arrhythmia will find much to love about matcha. With its ability to reduce inflammation and lower LDL cholesterol, matcha produces heart-healthy benefits that become even more effective the longer you enjoy matcha. Just remember not to go overboard. One to two servings a day will provide plenty of benefits.
Reduced Cellular Damage
Love your antioxidants? That’s great news for you because matcha is quite high in antioxidants, with EGCG making up at least 60 percent. All those antioxidants work together to defend your body from free radicals and other toxins that try to cause harm. Remember how we mentioned the shade-growing phase of matcha production? Turns out, it increases chlorophyll that turns the leaves a deeper green. Chlorophyll in turn helps reduce cell damage by boosting your liver’s ability to detoxify itself.
How It Helps Your Skin
Just like chlorophyll, antioxidants, EGCG and other components do great things for the body, they also do great things for the skin—everything from detoxifying to repairing damage. When you put matcha on your skin, you’ll also help reduce inflammation and soothe skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Some studies also point to benefits like smoothing wrinkles or crow’s feet.
Whether you’d like to boost your energy or refresh your skin, you’ll love what happens when you introduce matcha into your life. Try it as a hot tea, enjoy it as a cold and creamy latte, or add it to your favorite smoothie. We hope you love matcha powder as much as we do.
Emily Clayton writes about many topics, including travel, healthy living and greening up spaces.