I was very excited a couple of weeks ago when Australian lifestyle Blogger Emma Lawson got in touch with me to ask if she could write a guest post for the Wildcat Blog – even more so when she asked if she could write something about Matcha Tea. Matcha is one of my go-to hot drinks (my favourite blend is this one below from London based tea specialists Lalani and Co), but I’ll let Emma take over from here to explain just some of the benefits of this colourful cuppa.
Over to you Emma…..
While it’s still more popular in the Eastern culture, matcha tea is becoming increasingly more popular world wide, mostly because of its benefits and exquisitely unique flavour and aroma.
Before we go ahead and explain some of the benefits and goodness that it has to offer, let’s lay down some facts first.
(i) It is grown predominantly in Japan, and much of its awesomeness comes from the conditions under which the tea plants are cultivated and the unique way of processing. Namely, the tea plants are covered with mats or kept in the shade for weeks before the harvest. This sunlight-deprivation element ensures higher levels of chlorophyll and antioxidants (and amino acid L-theanine). After the harvest, the leaves are carefully dried and stone-ground to a fine powder (matcha translates to “powdered tea”).
(ii) Compared to other ordinary teas which are steeped in hot water and strained, matcha tea is a powder made from whole dried de-veined and ground leaves, which and are thereby consumed entirely. It’s easy to see that by consuming this tea, you’re consuming all natural constituents of the tea plant. Moreover, it’s easy to blend the tea powder with any other beverage of your liking.
Just like most of other green tea varieties, matcha tea has plenty of benefits to offer and here are a few of them.
Boosts Metabolism And Helps Weight Loss
Matcha tea is loaded with EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a compound known to boost metabolism. Together with other antioxidants present in it, the tea has already shown outstanding results when it comes to boosting metabolism rate and facilitating a healthy weight loss. While research results are still somewhat inconclusive about how much EGCG you should consume, the current daily recommendation is one to three cups a day.
National Institute of Health has published data which indicates that green tea increases fat oxidation by 17%, on average. This means that the antioxidants in green tea, and there are even more of them in matcha tea, work to favour the biochemical metabolic pathways where the fats are burned faster and, become a more viable energy source.
Prevents Cancers and Slows Ageing
Another important benefit of EGCG is that it acts as a highly powerful antioxidant capable of scavenging free radicals, molecules which are linked to cancer. A recent study shows that a cup of matcha tea has 137 times the amount of EGCG than a cup of ordinary green tea.
Antioxidants, for the reasons we’ve just mentioned, are also very important for the aging process. Free radicals are molecules which cause irreversible damage to cells walls, and ultimately lead to tissue damage. It all becomes more apparent when you consider that matcha tea is the most popular tea in Japan, and that the longevity of Okinawa people is partially attributed to the high consumption of this tea in that specific region.
Good Source Of Fibre and Energy
As we’ve already mentioned, matcha tea is actually a powder made from the whole tea leaves. Therefore, it’s richer in easily absorbable dietary fibers than other teas have to offer. Dietary fibers help normalize digestion and prevent constipation. Also, they help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Improves Your Physical Endurance
A study with mice has shown that running time to exhaustion was improved by 30% when they were fed green tea extract. This increase in endurance is linked to the two aforementioned benefits – metabolism boost and improved fat oxidation as an additional energy source. So, just by drinking or mixing it with your usual drink, like protein shake, you can easily increase your workout endurance.
Matcha tea is all the rage these days – from hipsters in Brooklyn and tree huggers in Portland, to Senseis in Japan – try it, blend it with your coffee or cookie mixture. You’re gonna love it and see that it’s worth it!