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. And they named the natural beverage matcha. Zen Buddhist monks drank it to stay calm and alert during long periods of meditation. These Japanese tea leaves grow in the shade and have notably 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 full of powerful catechins, which are antioxidants that seek out for harmful free radicals 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. The Okinawan people’s longevity has been attributed in part to consistent matcha green tea consumption.
In fact, all over Japan, matcha green tea is the most popular green tea available, but it is also fast gaining more popularity all over the world due to its ability to fight oxidation, inflammation and aging.
LDL “Bad” Cholesterol Control
According to a 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea beverages or extracts substantially decrease overall serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations.
A 1999 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that green tea can increase the daily calorie-burning rate of the body by up to 35%. Yet another study proved that exercising right after drinking matcha green tea can lead to 25% more fat burned during exercise.
Since matcha is grown in the shade, it has significantly higher amounts of chlorophyll than any other green tea. Leaves’ green color is provided by chlorophyll, which is also known to cleanse the body of toxins, including heavy metals, poisons, dioxins and hormone disrupters.
There is five times more L-theanine in matcha green tea than in conventional green tea. L-theanine, an amino acid, has the ability to induce alpha wave activity in the brain. Stress is known to trigger the brain’s beta wave activity, causing a more agitated state. Alpha wave activity produces the exact opposite effect. Matcha does contain some caffeine, but its “jittery” effects are easily counterbalanced by the relaxing properties of L-theanine.
Have a cup of matcha green tea to get that afternoon lift or each time you need a bit more alertness and concentration. Matcha green tea is the best substitute for coffee as it gives an energy boost without the headaches of a coffee crash .
Finally, matcha green tea leaves are known to have vast amounts of easily-absorbable dietary fiber. Dietary fiber offers plenty of benefits, the most popular of which are blood sugar management and constipation relief.