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Monday, February 5, 2018
6 Health Benefits of Matcha
Green tea is more popular than ever, and matcha deserves most of the credit. This jade green drink entered the world stage several years ago, and it soon spread beyond a warming beverage to become an ingredient in baked goods, ice cream, and more.
However, it turns out this green powder is good for more than added unexpected flavor to your favorite foods.
There are many benefits of green tea, meaning that matcha is an ideal way to start your mornings if you want to set yourself up for a day of health and wellness.
So grab a cup (or more) and learn more about the ways that matcha tea can make a difference for your body.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a traditional form of Japanese green tea. Unlike other tea leaves that are merely infused in hot water before getting tossed away, matcha is made from tender leaves that are ground into a fine powder and dissolved into each cup. This means that you get all the nutrition from the leaves, not just what winds up in the water.
Traditional matcha is steamed, de-veined, and dried for several months before being served. When they stay protected from light and oxygen, the leaves preserve their brilliant green color and antioxidant properties, making for a potent, health-filled drink that can be enjoyed daily.
Why is matcha better than loose leaf tea?
There’s no question that green tea is excellent for your health, but conventional brewing methods cause you to toss most of the nutrition into the trash. In contrast, drinking matcha lets you retain the benefits of the entire tea leaf, meaning that you get ten times the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants of regular green tea.
If you don’t have time to sip ten cups of tea a day, matcha is clearly the superior option.
6 Health Benefits of Matcha
Beyond a beautifully bold flavor profile, there’s a lot to like about matcha tea. Below are some of the most significant benefits you can enjoy with every cup.
1. Provides Liver Protection
A well-functioning liver is essential for good health, as it plays a critical role in flushing out toxins from your bloodstream.
Some studies demonstrate that drinking matcha tea can help protect your liver. For example, a study with diabetic rats found that matcha helped prevent them from developing damage to their liver and kidneys. Another study found that a daily dose of green tea extract given to patients with fatty liver disease significantly helped reduce liver damage after three months.
2. Lots of Antioxidants
Antioxidants help your body fight free radical damage, and matcha tea contains enough to keep you healthy. Epigallocatechin (EGCG) is the most famous antioxidant in green tea, and studies have shown that a regular supply will benefit your cardiovascular system and reduce your levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.
In fact, matcha is considered to be one of the most potent sources of antioxidants available, as it contains close to 10 times the amount found in regular green tea and even more than the ‘superfood’ acai berries. Free radical damage in your cells can lead to the development of cancer, heart disease, and even eye problems, so drinking a few cups regularly is an easy way to keep your health on track.
3. Better Focus from L-Theanine
Most people enjoy drinking tea or coffee for its caffeine content, and matcha won’t disappoint. A single serving usually contains about 35 mg of caffeine, which comes in at roughly half the amount in coffee.
However, the way your body processes matcha caffeine is different. Thanks to its high levels of catechins, it takes your system longer to process the caffeine. This creates a slower release into your bloodstream, leading to a gentler energy boost that won’t leave you feeling anxious or jittery.
Likewise, an amino acid in matcha called L-Theanine also contributes to its calming benefits. Studies show that it stimulates alpha brain wave production, which helps promote a relaxed state of mental clarity and general calmness, similar to the feeling you get after meditating.
Best of all, L-theanine can naturally counteract the effects of adrenaline caused by too much caffeine, meaning that matcha can restore your focus after you’ve lost it.
4. Detoxifies the Body
The way that matcha leaves are harvested makes all the difference in their overall health benefits. During the last three weeks of their growth stage, matcha leaves are covered with shade cloth to deprive them of sunlight. This dramatically increases the chlorophyll production and gives the leaves their jade green hue. More than adding beautiful coloring, this chlorophyll allows matcha to act as a powerful detoxifier that can remove heavy metals and trace chemical toxins from your body.
5. Natural Weight Loss
It’s a common question - can you use matcha tea for weight loss?
Looking at the ingredients lists of most diet pills will reveal that green tea extract is almost always at the top of the list, and for a good reason.
Matcha tea is practically calorie-free, and it works to both boost your metabolism and improve your efficiency for burning fat. While most studies that look at the benefits of green tea for weight loss focus on green tea extract, not matcha, drinking a few cups a day is still likely to give you similar fitness benefits.
Best of all, matcha won’t tax your body, as it doesn’t raise your blood pressure or heart rate in the same way that coffee does.
A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that matcha helped your body increase thermogenesis (its natural rate of calorie burning) from 10 percent of daily calories to up to 43 percent. Over time, this can lead to real results regarding weight loss.
Other results show that if you take green tea extract while working out, you can also increase your rate of fat burning by 17 percent. When combined with a healthy diet and active lifestyle, matcha tea is a great way to achieve your ideal weight.
6. Healthy Skin Care
Not only does matcha tea help you internally, but it’s also great for your external appearance, too. It turns out that there are lots of benefits of matcha green tea on skin, as it can work as a powerful antioxidant for your skin.
Gentle enough for all skin types, matcha packs a punch of vitamins and anti-inflammatory agents that work together to improve your complexion, diminish the signs of aging, and even restore your pH levels to treat oily skin.
Look for camellia sinensis leaf extract on the ingredients list, and you’ll have the assurance that the matcha tea skin benefits are within the bottle.
Buying the Best Matcha Tea
Not all matcha tea is created equal, which is why it’s important to invest in high-quality options for the best benefits. Most importantly, it doesn’t make sense to buy a purported health product if it’s filled with dangerous agricultural chemicals. For this reason, buying your tea directly from Japan is best, as they tend to follow stricter standards for quality than China or the United States.
There are also several quality grades of matcha you can buy, including culinary grade and ceremonial. Ceremonial tends to be the best tasting (and also the most expensive) while culinary is a slightly coarser quality that works well for cooking and cold drinks like smoothies.
Regardless of the kind of matcha you t
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