Green Tea Is Good For You
You probably already know that green tea provides numerous health benefits. It is believed to reduce excess levels of inflammation, help to relieve stress and to support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system, among many other anecdotal benefits.
The only problem with green tea is that to derive the full benefit, you usually have to drink several cups a day, every day. Even for a tea lover, it can be hard to get that kind of quantity without some concentrated effort! Not to mention it can get pretty time-consuming, depending on how you’re brewing.
Matcha green tea powder, on the other hand, is a very potent version of green tea. Just one teaspoon provides the same benefits as drinking several cups of green tea. Let me explain…
Like Drinking 10 Cups of Green Tea…
The green tea I’m referring to is called matcha. You may have heard of it … It’s a very high-quality green tea grown in Japan, traditionally used for formal tea ceremonies.
There are three main reasons for it’s superior health benefits:
- It’s grown in the shade. Why is this important? It preserves the maximum amount of chlorophyll in each leaf,
making matcha a very bright green. Chlorophyll is a powerful detoxifying phytonutrient, supports a healthy immune system, and improves circulation.
- Matcha is a powder, making it highly bioavailable. Once harvested, leaves are immediately steamed (to prevent oxidation), dried, and then the whole leaf is stone-ground into a fine powder. Your body can soak the nutrients right up with hardly any digestion required.
- You consume the whole leaf like you would kale or spinach, rather than steeping the leaves and throwing them out.
As a result of all this, just one teaspoon of matcha is like drinking ten cups of regular tea. When you drink matcha green tea, you’re not just getting the antioxidants that leach out of the leaf while it steeps, you’re absorbing ALL the antioxidants the leaf has to offer!
A Potent AntiOxidant
Matcha includes epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), one of the most potent antioxidants known.
One gram of organic matcha green tea contains 1384 ORAC units. (ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity and is the measure used to assess the antioxidant ability of foods and beverages).
The antioxidant potency of matcha green tea is clearly superior to other antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. For example, blueberries contain 93 ORAC units and Dark Chocolate contains 227 ORAC units.
EGCG – the Belly Fat Fighter
The antioxidant EGCG doesn’t just scavenge the destructive free radicals that stress out your otherwise healthy cells, it has also been shown to directly inhibit cortisol, the “stress hormone”. Cortisol is the villain responsible for telling your body to store fat around on your belly.
In other words, cortisol is a major contributor to the “pouch” on an otherwise flat tummy.
A study from the University of Colorado showed a popular brand of green tea, Tazo®’s China Green Tips, had only .42mg of EGCG per gram of tea. Matcha on the other hand, has 57.4mg per gram. That’s 137x the cortisol-lowering, belly-fat-fighting power!
Does Matcha Contain Caffeine?
Each teaspoon serving (approximately 2 grams) of matcha powder contains roughly 68 mg of caffeine, about 2/3 that of a cup of coffee. However, Matcha also contains L-Theanine, which has a pleasant, calming effect. As a result, matcha doesn’t leave you feeling jittery or anxious the way coffee can.
Though matcha is clearly a superior choice over drinking regular green tea, there is one potential downside …
Selecting a Matcha Product
Before you rush put to grab a box of matcha, it’s important to note that not all matcha is made equally. This is largely due part to the extremely high demand for cheap, health-boosting supplements. So, here are a few buying guidelines:
Be sure it’s from a high-quality grower. Many Asian growers continually have problems with heavy metals and excess aluminum in their teas.
Choose the right grade. The finest grade of matcha is called “ceremony grade,” and it’s made from only the top two leaves and bud of the tea plant. This grade is not only extremely expensive, it’s unnecessary in order to reap the benefits matcha has to offer. In fact, you really only need café grade or kitchen grade matcha, which is priced more like normal tea.
Be sure it’s certified organic. Whilst it is not possible to avoid all environmental toxins, organic produce offers the least exposure.
Where To Buy Matcha Green Tea Powder
Macha green tea extract is available from a number of online suppliers. Amazon has a great selection (some of these are listed below). Just make sure the product you choose is organic, of an appropriate grade and preferably from a supplier you can trust (checking the customer reviews can help in this regard).
And There You Have It …
Who ever would have thought a teaspoon full of anything could be a replacement for several cups of green tea? Well, matcha is. And the upside is you can take it however you like – as a tea, mixed into smoothies, an addition to your latte …
Do you take matcha? What have you found is the best way to take it? Share your experiences and tips below 🙂