BENEFITS OF MATCHA: THE SUPERFOOD
It’s safe to say that by now most of us have heard about matcha. Whether there’s a new flavored vegan matcha tea donut in your neighbourhood donut shop, or the consistent, never-failing matching green tea latte (hot or cold) at Starbucks. Matcha is becoming increasingly popular – and with good reasons! Matcha is gaining its popularity because of all the great beneficial components that come with it. People are now calling it a superfood!
Although many of us have heard about superfoods for decades, many may not be aware of what a superfood is. Superfoods are foods that contain nutritional properties that are considered to be healthy to humans by scientists and doctors. These benefits have been studied to either lower risk of developing diseases or assist positively in our overall health. Superfoods are what we want to include in our diets by taking in all the nutrients they provide.
What is Matcha
Originating from Japan and China, it made its way to Europe in the 1500’s. Matcha’s presence has expanded a into the western part of the world several years ago, but has gained popularity, even more recently. China produces matcha tea however, there’s debate on its quality – some go as far as calling it a ‘knock-off’ version. Matcha tea is green tea, only it’s grown under shade, contrary to how most plants are grown - with lots of sunlight. Tea farmers cover the plants to avoid direct sunlight. Once the plant grows the leaves are picked, steamed and dried, later grinded into a fine powder. That powder is matcha. The process is a lot more intricate but for the purpose of today, we’ll keep the details only on the benefits it carries.
Types of Tea
With keeping things simple, matcha is a green tea. Despite the abundant amount of tea flavors you may find, there are five main types of teas and from each, a variety derive from them.
The five are:
Matcha Green Tea: Benefits to Your Health
Matcha green tea has a plethora of nutrients beneficial to everyone. The rave that we hear about matcha is not, fortunately, just a trend. For centuries in Asia, they have known of the wonders tea can do for the body and only recently have we started to pay attention here in the west. Some of the benefits are listed and explained below:
Oxidants is a naturally occurring process in your body that forms in order to fight off certain viruses that can cause sicknesses. When your body has too much of it, oxidants can begin to harm healthy cells creating diseases - some studies saying as far as causing cancer. Antioxidants, a substance, does just the opposite. It assists lowering the damage that can happen when the body has too much oxidation. Antioxidants are found naturally in plants such as:
Wine (dark red wines having skin from the grapes when made)
Stress as we know it is a major contributing factor to an ongoing list of illnesses. Stress plays a major role because it lowers the body’s immune system, weakening it so that your body can’t build up the necessary tools from within to fight whatever is attacking the body. A weak immune system is an open-door to a parade of diseases – cancers, heart disease, auto-immune diseases and the list goes on. Besides learning how to positively cope with stress, drinking matcha tea helps combat stress. Matcha tea is filled with an amino acid; L-theanine. L-theanine is a naturally found protein in green tea that helps reduce stress and anxiety. Its natural compounds make this amino-acid reliable and organic.
Helps with Weight Loss
It’s great news when you hear something helps with losing weight. Knowing that matcha tea helps, is even greater! Matcha tea, when drank without all the added sugar and milk, is extremely low in calories. So next time when eating your meal, opt out of drinking a pop drink, or even juice, as it’s filled with sugars. Matcha tea is not only filling but low in calories and filled with a tamed delicious taste that won’t overpower your meal.
Matcha tea assists with boosting your metabolism as well. Increasing your metabolism, burns fat a lot quicker than a slower metabolism. Working out jump starts the process and will allow you to lose weight and see results a lot sooner. This is because of a natural antioxidant – catechin found in green tea.
Fiber is the number one way to keep regular. Keeping regular helps keep your intestines clear and by keeping them clear you lower your risk of diseases in your intestine such as:
Inflammation in the intestines
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Great for your Skin
If you’ve gone on YouTube lately and watched any of the beauty gurus night-time routines, you’ll see many are including the matcha green tea face mask after washing their faces. This craze is not without reason. Matcha green tea is filled with chlorophyll, and chlorophyll actually helps from sun damage. Sun damage creates wrinkles and sun spots a lot earlier in age. With all this pollution the world is facing, it wreaks havoc with our skins. Pollution fills up our pores creating acne, black heads and impurities on the face. Because matcha tea also helps with inflammation, placing some green tea matcha under eye masks aid with black circles and bags under the eyes.
Matcha Tea is Delicious
Yes! This is absolutely a benefit. It would be quite the conundrum if something so beneficial to us and our wellness tasted horrible! Lucky for us, it’s organic natural taste is subtle enough to drink with just anything. Adding sugars, milk, flavoring, additives completely defeats matcha tea’s power, so remembering to drink it pure and raw (without adding unnecessary ingredients to your tea) you’re keeping the components as they should be.
It’s always entertaining to see what people can come up with creating matcha flavored food, and if its harmless and tasty, why not enjoy! But nothing beats good ol’ matcha green tea on its own.