Before you reach for a piping hot cup of green tea or java, there’s a new tea in town that’s turning a lot of heads. Matcha is the latest “it” beverage, and it’s getting rave reviews from nutritionists for some of its amazing health benefits. We all know that green tea has been shown to be good for you, but did you know that matcha could be even better for your health than green tea?
What is matcha?
Matcha may have been around for quite a while, but it’s just now getting some mainstream attention. Matcha is a powdered green tea that is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony, sadō. Matcha has been used as a food ingredient in the past and is quickly becoming a go-to drink around the world.
How is it made?
Although it’s similar to green tea, matcha is made differently. The tea leaves are covered with shade cloths before they are harvested, which enhances the texture and flavor of the leaves. The leaves are then dried and ground into a powder with a stone mill.
What else is it used in?
Not a fan of tea? You can find matcha green tea powder used as an ingredient in a number of recipes, including waffles, brownies, smoothies, muffins, guacamole, and cheesecake.
What are the health benefits of matcha?
When you take a sip of matcha tea, you are ingesting powder from the whole tea. As a result, matcha is a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea. Among its health benefits are that it:
- Protects against heart disease
- Slows or stops the growth of cancer cells
- Regulates blood sugar
- Reduces blood pressure
- Boosts metabolism
Green tea has often been promoted as a resource to protect against diseases and improve health thanks to its antioxidants, and matcha is being recognized for bringing even more to the table.
Matcha is known to contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols have been linked to protection against heart disease. One study showed matcha significantly lowers triglyceride and total cholesterol, as well as reducing blood pressure, thanks to its antioxidant activities.
In addition, matcha is linked to suppressing blood glucose accumulation and regulating blood sugar, which is beneficial in protecting against or managing diabetes or high insulin levels.
Both green tea and matcha contain an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which not only boosts metabolism but also is believed to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.
There’s one more health benefit that comes from matcha that is worth noting. Did you know the antioxidants in the green tea powder can also turn back the hands of time? It’s true! Matcha is highly desired for containing anti-aging benefits!
Are there any downsides to matcha?
There has been some research that points to concerns about the amount of lead in matcha. One study found you ingest more lead with matcha because the whole leaf is consumed—as much as 30 times more lead than a cup of green tea. It’s best to use matcha in moderation: Don’t go overboard with this popular new superfood, and don’t let children drink matcha.
The bottom line?
Matcha’s potential health benefits are so promising that it’s hard to think of many reasons not to give it a try.