Nourish - What’s the Scoop on: Matcha
What is ‘Matcha’?
Matcha is a type of green tea made by finely stone-grinding young delicate green tea leaves into a powder.
This tea has a slightly sweet, grassy, delicate yet somewhat bitter flavour that’s relatively thick in texture.
Matcha green tea is very popular in Asian cultures and has been used for centuries in traditional tea ceremonies; particularly in Japan.
This type of green tea is unique in the fact that the entire leaf is consumed rather than the leaves being discarded after brewing. Brewing matcha involves whisking the powder into a paste with warm water and gradually adding more water until it becomes a tea, as opposed to simply steeping the leaves and then removing them. This is what gives matcha its characteristic flavour profile as well as its fantastic nutritional properties that trump many other types of tea.
The Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea
No. 1 – Rich in Antioxidants
Matcha tea has extremely high levels of antioxidants to help combat free radicals in the body, which can cause damage to tissue cells and DNA, causing pre-mature ageing and increase risk of disease.
Modern scientific research has confirmed matcha as a great source of naturally occurring antioxidants, being gram for gram one of the most powerful antioxidant you can consume. Just 1.5g of matcha gives you the antioxidant equivalent of 230g of broccoli, 300g of Cherries or 85g of blueberries! It also contains over 137 times the antioxidants of regular steeped green tea. Crazy huh?
No. 2 – Aids Relaxation, Concentration and Mood
Matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine which helps to enhance mental focus, induce a balanced state of relaxed alertness, improve mood and concentration and even decrease anxiety and stress. Welcome to my life you gorgeous green mug of happiness!
This relaxing effect on the mind and body is also why traditionally monks used to drink matcha tea to help ease their mind for meditation and improve their focus.
This quality makes Matcha Tea an excellent addition to the diet for anyone undergoing exams, hardcore study sessions or work deadlines. It’s a favourite for busy mums rushing around, students who need a little help with focus and concentration, or for anyone feeling a bit blue.
No. 3 – May Aid Weight Loss
Matcha is known to accelerate the metabolism over a 24 hour period and this is believed to be down to the synergistic effect between caffeine and catechin polyphenols.
Green tea polyphenols have also been shown to noticeably inhibit the process of fat digestion in humans, reducing the amount of energy being stored as fat in the body, in particular abdominal fat.
No. 4 – Helps Blood Sugar Regulation
If you’re one to start ogling the biscuit tin by 11am or reaching towards that choccie bar by 3pm, opt for a cup of matcha instead.
Matcha is very effective at keeping your blood sugar levels stable by helping to regulate insulin and glucose levels so you’re not so tempted to reach for the naughty stuff when those blood sugars start to drop.
If you’re eyeballing the coffee thinking that’s a better solution, think again. Unlike coffee, Matcha controls your food cravings rather than causing them. You read that correctly. Coffee actually messes around with your blood sugar levels and can cause all kinds of havoc with your blood sugar levels and ultimately your cravings (which is rarely the urge for something healthy!).
No. 5 – High in Chlorophyll
Matcha is very high in chlorophyll, which gives Matcha its beautiful deep green colour, and its cleansing and detoxifying properties. Chlorophyll helps to purify the blood and flush out unwanted toxins from the body. Your liver will love you for it!
No. 6 Excellent Coffee Substitute
While Matcha does contain caffeine, the caffeine in Matcha works very differently to the caffeine in coffee. Caffeine in coffee impacts on the adrenal glands and causes spikes in adrenaline glucose and insulin levels, causing jitters, nervousness sleeplessness and hunger pangs.
Matcha on the other hand gives an energy release 4-6 times longer than coffee via a time release fashion, allowing the caffeine to enter the bloodstream slowly over time.
This leads to a steady level of energy over time rather than a spike and crash within 1 hour. It does this whilst simultaneously regulating blood sugar and offering the L-theanine effects of being relaxed and calm, rather than overstimulated.
If you want to quit coffee or just lower your intake, Matcha is definitely the way to go!
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*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication
Photo Credit: Koyu Matcha