Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or the casual sipper, there are numerous health benefits to drinking matcha.
What sets matcha apart from other teas is that it is comprised of the tea leaf in powder from. Studies show drinking powdered tea vs. loose leaf tea is better because it increases the bioavailability for better nutritional absorption.
Matcha originated in China during the Tang Dynasty in the 9th century back when tea was commonly traded. For convenience, the tea was roasted, pulverized and compressed into brinks for easy storage and trade.
There has recently been a surge in popularity over the past few years in demand for matcha, and for a good reason. Countless studies have displayed matcha’s remarkable ability to provide long lasting energy without the sudden spike and crash some experience from drinking coffee.
ECGC or Epigallocatechin Eallate, a compound found in matcha has been shown to boost metabolism and help burn fat. If that wasn’t enough good enough, then how about the fact that matcha also plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels, which could promote healthy effective weight loss and possibly even prevent diabetes.
Another aspect is that Matcha offers high amounts of caffeine, vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, and amino acids such as L-theanine. Its not the single nutritional element, but rather the blend that can boost energy levels while promoting health and cognitive function.
How can Matcha increase cognitive function? The nutritional compounds mentioned above can trigger neuropeptides, which are communication receptors that influence the activity of your brain and body.
As we know our brain is powerful, so powerful in fact that it controls our mood, appetite, and cravings. The Cholecystokinin also known as CCK is gut peptide receptor that tells your brain whether you are full or if you are hungry.
Studies show that the CCK receptor could be the reason why some people are obese while others aren’t. Consuming Matcha could result in the receptors in the brain that respond to appetite being suppressed, thus contributing to weight loss and boosting metabolism.
The different types & grades of Matcha
There are several factors that go into quality control when it comes to harvesting matcha such as the whether the leaves were rolled or if they were laid out flat to dry before being stone ground. Harvesting matcha is a time consuming process that takes about 1 hour to grind just 30 grams of the talc like powder.
Matcha varies by smell, color, texture, and price. Below is a breakdown which outlines the different grades of matcha from low to high:
Culinary or food grade matcha is at the bottom of the list and primarily used for cooking. Culinary grade matcha can be distinguished by its light green color and earthy taste.
This entry level matcha is still considered good quality tea that is not a bad choice for the budget conscious consumer. Due to the earthy taste those who aren’t a fan of wheat grass may find solace in adding sweetener to this matcha.
Café grade matcha is mid level matcha which is used to make foods and as an additive to drinks such as smoothies or lattes.
This tea will have a slightly darker color than the Culinary grade matcha and stronger flavor profile. Café matcha is comprised of a finer powder than culinary grade that blends well.
Ceremonial grade is top tier matcha. Ceremonial grade matcha has been consumed for centuries during traditional tea ceremonies. Ceremonial matcha is synonymous for what consumers call the “zen” state of mind and body.
Ceremonial matcha is harvested from the young top Camellia Sinensis tea leaves which are shaded to inhibit the sunlight which in turn increases its key ingredient L-theanine and chlorophyll. Stems and veins are removed and the young tea leaves are then laid out to dry and stone ground into powder.
L-theanine is one of the few compounds that pass the blood brain barrier. L-theanine is a component known for increasing energy levels while maintaining a calm mental “zen-like” state.
Checking if Your Matcha is 'Ceremonial Grade'
Health & Weight Loss Benefits of Matcha
Now that we have a better understanding of the different grades of matcha, let's dive into the health benefits.
1. Helps lose weight & burn fat
Matcha helps burn fat to promote weight loss. Catechin, a natural phenol and antioxidant found in matcha tea, has been shown to reduce weight. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition did a double blind study in which it was discovered that tea rich in catcehin reduced Body weight, BMI, waist circumference, body fat mass, and subcutaneous fat area which were significantly lower in standard green tea extract group vs high levels in matcha.
2. Supports detoxification
Matcha can help detoxify your system. Matcha is loaded with antioxidants that fight off free radicals. We expose ourselves to cigarette smoke, air pollutants, uv radiation, and industrial chemicals on a daily basis.
According to ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity), Matcha provides 5 times more antioxidants than raw fruits and veggies and supports a healthy immune system, which reduces free radical formation and can prevent the long term consequences that come with over exposure to free radicals such as cancer.
It's an excellent source of L-theanine, an amino acid in Matcha which helps reduce anxiety while increasing energy. For hundreds of years Matcha has been used by Chinese and Japanese monks for meditation and relaxation.
3. Effects on energy & productivity
Matcha provides longer sustained energy than coffee. Matcha produces a more continuous slow burning energy supply to the body due to the nutrients found in the tea. Studies by Basic & Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology found in mice that Epigallocatechin Gallate or EGCG found in green tea could be potential treatment of chronic fatigue.
Matcha is a good source for helping regulate type 2 diabetes. In addition to being great at combating obesity, matcha is good at improving insulin sensitivity. Matcha tea supports those on diabetic diets.
3. Anti-Aging Effect
Matcha is great for preventing premature aging. From oily skin to fine lines matcha is a great source for skin health. Matcha contains anti-inflammatory properties that help with skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.
4. Boost cognitive performance
Matcha supports healthy cognitive function. L-theanine, which passes the blood brain barrier protects brain cells and supports healthy cognitive function. Studies from US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health show L-theanine significantly increases the activity of alpha waves in the brain without causing drowsiness.
As previously mentioned, this is one of the reasons matcha has become so popular and a great alternative to coffee. You get tremendous benefits in terms of sustained long term energy without the mid-afternoon crash.
Matcha has a slew of health benefits that undoubtedly will have a positive impact on your weight, brain performance and overall health.
An important factor to reap the full benefits of this tea is to remain consistent; long term use is crucial for best results.
Toast to your health and incorporate a spot of Matcha Tea into your daily routine!
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