Matcha has become a popular beverage of choice due to its taste, unique nutrient profile, health benefits and the versatility of the powder. Learn about what matcha is, its health benefits, and how to prepare a delicious cup of matcha at home!
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What is Matcha?
Matcha is defined as “powdered tea” made from Japanese green tea leaves that have been ground into a fine vibrant green powder. The green tea leaves used are a dark green color. This is because the green tea leaves grow in shady areas, which boosts chlorophyll production. This boost in chlorophyll gives the leaves a rich dark green color. The lack of direct sunlight encourages the production of L-theanine, which is said to bring about alertness and relaxation to the mind and body.
When you drink a cup of matcha, you consume the leaf of the plant. The stem and the veins of the plant are removed. By ingesting the leaf, your body receives more nutrients, vitamins and minerals than drinking steeped green tea.
You can prepare a delicious cup of matcha by whisking the fine green tea powder into warm water. Matcha is often described as a rich “earthy” tea with grassy, nutty and pleasant bitter notes.
Health Benefits of Matcha
1. Matcha green tea powder is jam-packed with antioxidants
Polyphenols are micronutrients that have antioxidant properties. Polyphenols are important chemical compounds that can help protect the cells in your body from damage.
To put things into perspective, one cup of matcha has as many antioxidants as ten cups of steeped green tea!
Matcha has more antioxidants than some “superfoods,” including blueberries, spinach, broccoli and goji berries.
2. Can boost relaxation and alertness
Matcha is a caffeinated beverage. With that being said, it does not affect your mind and body the same way as a cup of coffee would.
Both matcha and coffee can bring an alertness to the mind and body. However, coffee may leave you feeling anxious, wired or jittery an hour or so after consumption. You may even experience a crash in energy an hour after drinking a cup of coffee.
Matcha can leave you feeling calm, alert and energized. This is because matcha contains a natural substance called L-theanine. L-theanine encourages the body to relax without causing drowsiness. Matcha can promote relaxed alertness for an average of 4-6 hours.
3. Can help reduce cortisol levels
Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that is released into the bloodstream with sympathetic nervous system activation (fight or flight response). The release of cortisol, and other stress hormones, are important for your survival. Cortisol helps regulate your body’s stress response, manages inflammation, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure, and plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle. With that being said, too much cortisol in the body can cause a variety of health issues.
High levels of cortisol in the body can lead to weight gain, acne, thinning of the skin, irritability, muscle weakness, difficulty concentrating, problems with memory, headaches and migraines, increased heart rate, insomnia, digestive issues, anxiety and depression, and more.
Matcha can help reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm, boost immune system functioning, enhance memory, promote heart health, soothe aches and pains, and can improve sleep quality.
4. Matcha green tea is nutrient dense
Matcha green tea powder contains magnesium, zinc, B-complex, as well as vitamins A, C, E and K. These vitamins and minerals have a myriad of health benefits.
5. Can improve skin health
Matcha powder is said to slow down the signs of skin aging by stimulating collagen and elastin production. This anti-inflammatory, antioxidant powder is said to help fight off bacteria that can lead to acne breakouts and skin redness. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is an antioxidant that can help reactivate the reproduction process of skin cells. EGCG can help revitalize your skin, giving your skin a healthier and radiant glow. EGCG is said to protect your skin by fighting free radical damage due to environmental stressors, such as ultraviolet radiation. Based on all these benefits, it is unsurprising that matcha green tea powder is used in skincare products.
6. Can improve energy, concentration and mood
This is why matcha and yoga complement each so well. Drinking a cup of matcha an hour before your yoga practice can truly take your practice to a whole new level. Matcha is a natural energy booster, which will help you stay alert, focused and present throughout your yoga practice. Consuming matcha an hour before your meditation practice can help promote feelings of calm and relaxation, while also improving focus and mental clarity.
Sprinkle mindfulness into your life by enjoying a delicious cup of matcha green tea!
How to Prepare Ceremonial Matcha
Ceremonial grade matcha is regarded as the highest quality of matcha that one can consume. Ceremonial grade matcha consists of young tea leaves and buds. These leaves contain a higher concentration of L-theanine, and contain more chlorophyll than the green tea leaves that are harvested for culinary grade matcha.
1. Put 1 teaspoon of ceremonial matcha green tea powder into a bowl. Optional: sift the matcha powder into a bowl.
2. Boil some water to 75 degrees Celsius or 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Pour 475mL (16oz) of hot water into the bowl containing the matcha powder.
4. Use a bamboo whisk to mix the water and the matcha together. Using a bamboo whisk can help break apart any clumps, and can create a beautiful frothy layer on top. Whisk until frothy. If a bamboo whisk is not available, you can make your matcha beverage in a blender or use a matcha shaker.
5. Optional: add a sweetener, like honey or stevia, to sweeten your beverage. Or add a milk of your choosing.
6. Serve and enjoy!
Add matcha green tea powder to your smoothie, pancakes, oatmeal and yogurt to enjoy the amazing health benefits of this superfood!
DIY Matcha Face Mask Recipe for Dry Skin
Matcha green tea powder is gaining popularity as an ingredient in beauty products. You can use matcha green tea powder to create a hydrating and nourishing matcha face mask.
3 teaspoons of matcha powder
2 teaspoons of raw honey
1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon of water.
In a bowl, mix the matcha powder, raw honey, coconut oil and water together. The mixture should have a paste-like consistency.
With clean hands, gently massage your face. This step can help improve blood flow to your face, so that you can experience all the amazing benefits of your matcha face mask when you apply the mixture.
Apply the mixture to your face.
Let the mixture sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Rinse off the mixture with warm water.
Gently pat your face dry with a towel.
Enjoy your beautiful, healthy and glowing skin all day long!
Watch the video below to learn more about matcha and its many health benefits!
Are you a matcha fan? Let me know in the comments below!
I look forward to connecting with you on the mat and in the comments!
Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. It is advised to speak with a healthcare practitioner, such as a nutritionist, before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. The statements in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Ceremonial Matcha Tea Printed Tin. (n.d.). DAVIDsTEA - Buy Loose Leaf Tea Online. https://www.davidstea.com/ca_en/shop/tea-by-type/matcha-and-powders/ceremonial-matcha-tea-printed-tin/961799DT01VAR0097521.html?cgid=matcha-tea#start=1
Health Benefits of Matcha Tea - Matcha Source. (n.d.). Matcha Source. https://matchasource.com/health-benefits-of-matcha-tea