Matcha Tea and Its Health Benefits
Even as people drank green tea in China more than a millennium ago, it became an integral part of the Japanese culture. They called the tea matcha. Zen Buddhist monks took it to remain calm and alert on long hours of meditation. Such Japanese tea leaves grow in the shade and have remarkably high chlorophyll content.
The history and cultivation of the tea is interesting, but what consumers are more concerned about are its health benefits, the biggest of which include:
Green tea is abundant in antioxidants named catechins, which scavenge for harmful free radicals that may exist in the body. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known as a powerful anti-carcinogen, is the most potent catechin that can be found in green tea.
Okinawa, Japan is one of those parts of the world where people live the longest. To a certain degree, the longevity of Okinawans has been partially attributed to routine consumption of matcha green tea.
In fact, matcha green tea is the most popular green tea in all of Japan, although it is rapidly becoming more popular across the world due to its anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidizing and anti-aging properties.
LDL “Bad” Cholesterol Control
A study featured on American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011 showed that green tea beverages or extracts can dramatically reduce total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations.
According to a 1999 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea increases thermogenesis – your body’s day-to-day calorie-burning rate -increases by 8 to 35%. Yet another study proved that exercising right after drinking matcha green tea can lead to 25% more fat loss during exercise.
As matcha is grows in the shade, it has substantially higher concentrations of chlorophyll compared to all other green teas. Chlorophyll, responsible for the green color in leaves, has detoxifying properties.
In comparison to conventional green tea, matcha green tea has up to 5 times more L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid that can induce alpha wave activity in the brain. Stress is known to trigger beta wave activity in the brain, causing more agitation. Alpha wave activity combats that effect. Matcha does have some caffeine, but its “jittery” effects are easily neutralized by relaxing L-theanine.
Drink a cup of matcha green tea to get that an afternoon “pick-me-up” or whenever you need a little more focus and alertness. Matcha green tea is the best substitute for coffee as it offers an energy boost without those coffee crash-related headaches.
Lastly, matcha green tea leaves have a considerably high level of easily-absorbable dietary fiber. Dietary fiber offers many benefits, but it is mostly known for providing constipation relief and blood sugar management.