It seems like matcha’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, but how healthy is it? What are the health benefits of matcha, and is it really better than a regular cup of tea? The short answer is yes.
For starters, matcha is actually a form of green tea since they both come from the same source, the Camellia sinensis plant. Unlike regular green tea, matcha is grown and prepared in its own unique way. Dry Japanese green tea leaves are stone-ground into a powder known as matcha. This means that you’re consuming the whole leaves, making matcha a potent megadose of polyphenols, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
But when you brew a cup of regular green tea, you’re missing out on absorbing all the valuable nutrients and antioxidants that are trapped in the green tea leaves.
So if you’re looking to start your day feeling energized and refreshed, here are 8 reasons why you should ditch your morning cup of coffee and switch to matcha.
1: Matcha is an Antioxidants Powerhouse
One single spoon of matcha contains more antioxidants than goji berries, dark chocolate, pomegranates, and spinach. Compared to regular green tea, matcha packs 137 times more EGCG antioxidants, which are known for their numerous health benefits, such as improving heart health, fighting cancer, and slowing down the effects of aging.
But what are antioxidants? Simply put, our bodies need these natural “defenders” to balance or neutralize free radicals, which invade our immune systems and can cause cell damage, cancer, aging, and cataracts.
2: It Will Give Your Skin an Overall Glow
Matcha has insane amounts of vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. When ingested, vitamin C can stimulate collagen production, and in some cases, it can fight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Not only that, but matcha is also packed with methylxanthines, which have been known to stimulate the skin’s microcirculation which leads to a healthier and more radiant complexion.
3: Matcha Provides a More Powerful Energy Boost Than Coffee
Thinking of drinking matcha vs coffee? Matcha contains a higher dose of caffeine than green tea and about one-third of a cup of coffee. But instead of leaving you jittery, matcha gives you a boost of energy that’s way more gentle. And because it can take up to 3 hours to absorb the caffeine from the matcha tea, you’ll stay energized for a really long time.
Matcha also contains a unique amino acid known as L-theanine, which is known to reduce stress and lead to a more relaxed state of alertness.
People who drink matcha report feeling more focused and energized without experiencing a caffeine crash afterward, which seems to be related to the L-theanine component in the tea. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
4: It Can Also Help You Burn Fat
Looking to give your metabolism a much-needed boost? Then hi, you need matcha tea in your life.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this powerful elixir can speed up the metabolic process of thermogenesis, aka, your body’s ability to burn calories. When you take it right before exercising, you could potentially burn around 25% more fat.
While matcha is believed to increase daily energy expenditure, you can’t out train (or out drink?) a bad diet. So drinking 10 cups of matcha tea isn’t going to do squat if you’re not actually doing squats (or walking, dancing, or whatever workout you enjoy doing).
Matcha can definitely help you with weight management, but it isn’t a quick-fix replacement for unhealthy eating habits or a sedentary lifestyle.
5: Matcha Can Protect Your Immune System
What if I told you that Matcha green tea has the ability to boost your immune system and prepare you for flu season?
Studies show that 60% of matcha is made of a unique antioxidant known as Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), a natural compound that can boost T-cell production, reducing inflammation and fighting viral and bacterial infections.
Matcha is also an abundant source of selenium, zinc, and magnesium, three essential minerals that play an important role in supporting a strong immune system.
You can give your immune system an extra boost by drinking 1 or 2 cups of matcha tea on a daily basis. If you’re not giving up your daily cup of java anytime soon, you can try adding more matcha to your life by incorporating it into baked treats like cookies, loafs, breads, scones, muffins, smoothies, and even yogurt breakfast bowls.
If you’ll be drinking your daily dose of matcha, here’s how much green tea powder per cup you’ll need to start reaping the benefits.
6: Matcha Can Help you Stay Focused
Drinking matcha may also do wonders for your mental state. Thanks to the combination of caffeine and L-theanine, a natural amino acid praised for its ability to enhance mental clarity and alertness, matcha lets you stay focused, without feeling overly stimulated. L-theanine, when mixed with caffeine, can help promote a relaxed state of concentration, making you more productive.
Since not all matcha teas in the market are the same, make sure to choose the highest quality matcha you can find to get the most benefits.
7: Matcha Can Keep You Full for Longer
Matcha smoothies and lattes are becoming so popular, you can now find them in almost every café and restaurant around the world.
Since matcha powder has a very distinct and powerful flavor, baristas often mix it with vegetable milk like oatmeal or almond milk, which can leave you satiated for longer.
8: Matcha Can Protect Your Heart
Cardiovascular disease causes more than 18.6 million deaths every year. Sometimes, it may not show any symptoms, which is why you’re never too young or too old to start embracing a healthy lifestyle.
Eating healthy, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your risk of developing heart disease. Well, add matcha to that checklist!
Matcha powder may be much more effective than steeped green tea when it comes to protecting you from getting a heart attack or a stroke.
When combined with an active lifestyle and a proper diet, matcha may significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease. Plus, matcha green tea can lower LDL cholesterol levels and prevent them from oxidizing, which may protect against cardiovascular disease as well.
The Takeaway: Drinking Matcha Is a Great Idea
If you love the delicious taste of matcha, there are multiple reasons to enjoy it every day. Even if you used to ask yourself, is green tea different than matcha, now you know the whole story. So sit back, enjoy your favorite book, and have a delicious cup of matcha!