Move over Joe there’s a new brew in town and it’s green
I love the idea of coffee – the frothiness of lattes and cappuccino’s, the undeniable rich aroma, the social element of ‘going for a coffee’ and of course the caffeine induced pick me up. Unfortunately I just don’t like the taste of it which is probably a good thing as a cup of joe could have me doubled over in pain given my sensitive stomach.
Although I love herbal teas, green tea in particular, I always feel like I’m missing out on something without the frothiness of a latte. So when I heard of lattes being made out of green tea I knew I had to give it a try. And once I did I was hooked. Matcha lattes feel like an indulgent treat with the added bonus that they’re packed with loads of good stuff! Score!
Matcha is essentially green tea leaves stone-ground into a super-fine powder. The powder is then whisked with hot water until the mixture is frothy (and then milk is added to make a matcha latte). Green tea has been linked to whole load of health benefits from boosting metabolism to improving skin to longevity and even fighting cancer. And as you are consuming the whole tea leaf, matcha green tea may just bring the green tea benefits up to the next level. Supposedly one cup of matcha is supposedly equivalent to drinking 10 cups of green tea.
So what are the health benefits of matcha green tea? Here are just some of its good stuff:
- It’s high in antioxidants
Like all green tea, matcha contains flavonoids (epigallocatechin gallate or EPCG to be precise) which studies have shown to have an antioxidant effect. A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking one cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea. When pitted against other ‘superfoods’ the power-house that is matcha green tea has 6.2 times more antioxidants than goji berries, 7 times more than dark chocolate, 17 times more than wild blueberries and 60.5 more than spinach! Pretty impressive!! Antioxidants are reported to boost immunity, can help fight against cancer, can protect from heart disease and can also slow the aging process and improve the quality of skin.
- It increases the body’s rate of burning calories
A study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 found that drinking green tea increased thermogenesis (the body’s rate of burning calories) from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure. While a study in 2011 said that exercising immediately after drinking matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise.
- It can improve concentration and help relieve stress
Although matcha green tea contains caffeine, it also contains up to five times more L-theanine than conventional green tea. L-theanine may help relieve stress by inducing a relaxing effect without drowsiness and may also possess immunologic attributes. Therefore it’s said that matcha can promote concentration and clear thinking (thanks to the caffeine) without producing any of the nervous energy typically associated with coffee (thanks to the L-theanine).
Have you tried matcha yet? What do you think?
Sources of information:
Xin-Xin Zheng, Yan-Lu Xu, et al. Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults: August 2011.
Abdul G Dulloo, Claudette Duret, et al. Efficacy of a green tea extract. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 1999