Green tea has been growing in popularity, but its sister beverage Matcha tea is about to take the spotlight. Both teas are derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but undergo different growing and harvesting processes. Their flavor profiles are also unique and the benefits of Matcha are remarkably superior.
What’s more, people do far more than drink Matcha as they would a regular cup of tea. In addition to being featured in lattes, Matcha is also incorporated into baked treats, desserts, and holistic shots.
When growing Matcha, farmers cover the Camellia Sinensis plant approximately six weeks before they harvest it, creating as dark an environment as possible. As a result of this restricted sunlight, chlorophyll production increases, as does the quantity of amino acids that so greatly benefit our health.
After the plant has been harvested and the veins and stems have been removed, the leaves are ground up to form Matcha powder. Because the entire leaf is consumed, Matcha offers significantly higher amounts of both caffeine and antioxidants than standard green tea. Below are five scientifically proven benefits of Matcha.
Research confirms that Matcha may be able to prevent cell damage, stabilize free radicals, and potentially reduce your risk of chronic disease.(1) Matcha contains catechins, or natural antioxidants that protect your cells against the negative effects of free radicals.
And, as the entire leaf is used in the creation of Matcha powder, the overall nutrient content is way denser and there are approximately 137 times as many antioxidants than in regularly brewed green tea. In fact, one cup of Matcha is essentially the equivalent of ten cups of green tea when it comes to nutritional value.
2. Brain Booster
If you need a little more brain power to make it through the day, Matcha is an ideal addition to your morning routine. Multiple studies have shown a strong connection between Matcha tea and a boost in brain function, including notable improvements in attention levels, memory, and reaction time compared to study participants consuming a placebo.
Matcha tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that makes you feel more relaxed and less stressed and which provides a sense of grounding to compliment the natural energy boost of caffeine. (2)
3. Cancer Prevention
Although Matcha has not yet been proven to prevent cancer, in a study involving rats, green tea extract successfully slowed the growth and decreased the size of a tumor. In another study, it killed off prostate cancer cells within a test tube. Although these studies do not involve humans, they demonstrate the powerful healing properties of epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG. (3,4)
4. Heart Health
Heart disease accounts for one-third of all deaths in people over age thirty-five. Green tea is an excellent way to boost your cardiovascular health and take preventative measures to avoid a range of heart-related issues.(5) Both green and Matcha tea may protect against heart disease by reducing triglyceride levels as well as LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol we hope to minimize.
In other observational studies, green tea (but not specifically Matcha) was thought to reduce one’s risk of having a stroke.
5. Weight Loss
It’s common knowledge that diet and exercise are recommended to achieve a fit, lean body. But have you ever read the label on a diet pill or supplement? They often contain green tea in extract form because it can help you to lose weight. Green tea extract is proven to help speed up your metabolism, burn fat quicker, and give you more energy to increase fat burning potential. (6,7)
Additionally, one study showed that fat burning potential increased as much as seventeen percent when a person included green tea extract in their diet.(8) While there is no substitute for a healthy diet and exercise, it is encouraging to know that there are natural products that can offer a helping hand.
Matcha tea is delicious brewed with water or mixed with milk to make a latte, and is a wonderful addition to desserts, ice cream, and even baked goods. It’s growing in popularity by the day due to its gorgeous flavor profile and extreme benefits and may even help you live longer!