Amazing Health Benefits Of Matcha
What is matcha?
Matcha is a green tea powder made with special processes that require a considerable amount of work. This special tea has a 1,400-year history in Japan and was initially consumed exclusively by nobles and high-ranking monks.
Considered to be a luxury commodity even today, matcha tea was so highly esteemed by the Japanese that a special ceremony was held for its consumption: this is called sado, which can be translated as „The Way of Tea”.
Where secrets lie
Matcha comes from the same plant as other green teas, but has a unique nutrient content due to its special production methods. Tea plants intended for matcha are kept in the shade for 20 to 30 days before harvest, protecting them from direct sunlight. This technique called shading produces higher quantities of chlorophyll, giving matcha its deep green hue, dominant flavor, and also a higher amino acid content.
After harvesting, the stems and small veins are carefully removed, and then the remaining parts of tea leaves are ground into a fine powder using a stone mill. Thus prepared, matcha contains essentially the entire tea leaves, along with all their nutrients – meaning it will be much richer in antioxidants, minerals, caffeine and micronutrients, than soaked green tea leaves!
Latest research has uncovered more than just the list of components and active ingredients of matcha, it has also proven their wide-ranging effects on our health!
Let’s see the health benefits!
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
Matcha contains more caffeine than soaked green tea: half a teaspoon (approximately 1g) of matcha powder contains 35mg. It also contains a compound called L-theanine, which increases alpha brain wave activity, helps to relax and reduces stress. L-theanine modifies the effect of caffeine in a way that enhances alertness, but at the same time helps avoid over-stimulation and the sudden drop in energy levels that may usually follow caffeine consumption.
In this way matcha tea not only enhances cognitive abilities such as attention, reaction time, and memory, but it does so with less pressure on the nervous system, reducing the effects of psychological stress and potentially also increasing stress tolerance.
2. Increases fat burning, helps gut regulation, relieves constipation
We have known for a long time that green tea consumption may support weight loss, and several studies have shown that it can speed up metabolism and increase fat burning. It can help reduce body fat, especially harmful visceral fats (“tummy” fats), and even more important for dieters: it can help maintaining weight loss!
Matcha has a good effect on your intestinal flora, the overall composition and balance of which is highly related to health. Matcha contains about 30% insoluble dietary fiber, which can relieve or prevent constipation. It also contains about 6% soluble dietary fiber, which delays glucose absorption.
3. Improves skin, slows down aging, protects the eyes
Matcha contains a variety of vitamins that are essential for beautiful skin, like vitamin C which is necessary for collagen production, and B group vitamins, which are known to reduce skin problems. The catechins found in matcha combined with vitamin C can alleviate the oxidative damage that causes aging, and can also suppress the production of melanin, which is responsible for skin discolorations, thus helping to prevent blemishes, wrinkles and sagging skin.
One recently proven fact about matcha is that it also affects sympathetic nervous system function, which is closely related to the condition of our skin. Matcha consumption increases blood flow, strengthens the skin’s barrier function that prevents moisture evaporation, and thus helps keep the skin hydrated. This effect of matcha proved to be especially strong when prepared with a bamboo whisk (chasen).
4. Strengthens the immune system and helps in detoxification
The catechins in green tea reduce oxidative stress, suppressing its harmful effects on immune cells and thus preventing the weakening of immune functions.
One type of catechins in green tea (EGCG) has recently been proven to be not only antioxidant but also antibacterial and antiviral. This is especially true when the tea is not too hot, i.e. prepared with water of about 80 ℃ or less.
Matcha can also help protect liver health, which is key in “flushing” out toxins, drug metabolism, and nutrient processing.
5. Matcha may inhibit the development of cancer cells, and lower cholesterol
It has long been known that green tea contains large amounts of natural antioxidants, nominally catechins belonging to the group of polyphenols. Matcha contains an exceptionally large amount, almost 30%.
Catechins help stabilize compounds called free radicals that can damage cells and lead to chronic diseases, so they can play a big role in preventing certain cancers (including prostate and breast cancer, which are among the most common types of cancer).
Regular consumption of green tea has also been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and can therefore help prevent cerebrovascular disease (stroke, brain hemorrhage, cerebral vasospasm) and heart disease. Thanks to its active ingredients, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease can be reduced by up to 30%.
Authentic, quality Japanese matcha does not contain any additives, it is 100% natural. Naturally, the health benefits listed above are only to be expected when we are using authentic matcha tea.