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Health Benefits of Matcha Tea

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You've heard of green tea, but have you heard of matcha tea? Matcha tea is a specific green tea that just may be even healthier than your everyday green tea. Read more about the health benefits of matcha tea below.

Green tea is amazingly healthy and provides numerous health benefits (if you are drinking the authentic tea, that is). Green tea is not only healthy, but it is also extremely popular thanks to its mild flavor. Studies show that green tea has anti-cancer properties, can speed weight loss, improves heart health, and even helps control blood sugar.

Matcha is a specific variety of green tea that may be even healthier than other green teas. Largely uses in Asian countries, matcha is added to almost everything from sodas to bread. But is it worth purchasing a specific variety of green tea? Find out below:

Matcha Explained

Matcha leaves are grown from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is also the same plant used for regular tea. However, matcha leaves are cultivated differently. During the growing process, the leaves are covered for a month before harvest to prevent sun exposure.

Growing in the shade forces the plant to create additional chlorophyll so the plant can survive with less sun. This turns the leaves a darker color and also increases the production of amino acids by the tea bush.

After a month of sheltering, the leaves are harvested as normal and ground into a fine powder. This powder looks like cocoa powder, but it has all of the same properties as green tea.

According to matcha fans, what makes matcha so much better than regular green tea is that the entire leaf is consumed while drinking (because the powder is dissolved and consumed), which means that a matcha drinker is receiving more of the antioxidants and amino acids than a tea drinker who removes the leaves from the water as in a traditional green tea brew.

Because matcha tea is basically eating tea leaves, it tends to have a bitter, slightly chalky taste.

The Health Benefits of Matcha

Studies show that one cup of matcha tea has the same amount of benefit as three cups of regular green tea. This means that all of the health benefits of green tea are magnified when the green tea beverage consumed in matcha tea. Studies show that matcha tea has benefits for the following health conditions:

Diabetes

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2009 examined the effects of matcha tea on rats. The study found that rats were boosted in several areas of health. The rats showed significantly reduced blood sugar levels when they consumed matcha regularly.

Heart Disease

In the same matcha animal study, the researchers found that regular matcha consumption reduced the triglyceride and LDL levels of cholesterol. A study from 2001 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that regular drinkers of green tea were 31 percent less likely to have heart disease or other heart problems. As matcha tea is even higher in heart-benefiting nutrients, it could have even greater protective effects.

Kidney and Liver Damage

Matcha tea, unlike green tea, was found in the 2009 rat study to boost the healing in the kidneys and liver, reducing damage there.

Cancer and Inflammation

Green tea is high in antioxidants, but matcha tea is even higher in antioxidants. Matcha is high in an antioxidant known as EGCG, which helps fight inflammation, promotes cell repair, fights free radical damage, and benefits arteries. A study from 2003 published in the Journal of Chromatography found that matcha tea has antioxidant levels 137 times higher than the standard low-cost grocery store tea.

Stress

L-theanine is an amino acid attributed with fighting stress and promoting relaxation. Matcha tea is much higher in l-theanine levels than other green teas. Drinking matcha tea regularly can help counteract the signs of stress and make it easier to relax at the end of the day.

Weight Loss

Green tea is often attributed with boosting the effects of weight loss. Many weight loss supplements contain green tea. Studies indicate that green tea can increase both the metabolic rate and increase the rate of fat burning by up to 17 percent on a temporary basis. The British Journal of Nutrition reported in 2005 that drinking green tea on a regular basis can boost existing weight loss efforts. Memory A study on matcha tea from 2014 published in Nutrients found that drinking powdered green tea had memory-boosting benefits. In the study, 12 elderly individuals drank several cups of matcha tea for three months. At the end of the study period, they tested better on memory tests and showed improved brain function and a reduction in cognitive decline.

Can You Drink Too Much Matcha?

Since matcha has so many benefits, you might want to drink it in massive quantities. However, the highly concentrated powder also has a few side effects. The main danger of drinking large quantities of matcha is that the leaves soak up the surrounding contaminants in the soil, such as fluoride, pesticides and heavy metal.

For this reason, it is best to stick to one or two cups a day only. A study from 2006 published in the Journal of Hepatology found that some tea drinkers cannot tolerate the compounds in green tea. Matcha tea compounds have been found to cause nausea, liver toxicity, and kidney toxicity. The 2006 study found that some individuals showed signs of toxicity after drinking six cups of green tea for four months. This is equal to about two cups of matcha.

How to Make Matcha Tea

Making matcha tea is easy. Add a teaspoon of tea to a cup of hot water. Use a whisk to mix the powder into the water until the powder is mixed into the water and a foamy froth is formed on the top of the tea. If you like, you can also change the consistency for different mixes.

Matcha Varieties

Standard: 1 teaspoon of powder with 2 ounces of water.

Usucha: Half a teaspoon of matcha with 4 ounces of water.

Koicha: 2 teaspoons of powder and 1 ounce of water (it will be more like a paste this way).


Matcha is a Healthy Green Tea

If you drink green tea for health benefits rather than simply for taste, you will benefit from the addition of matcha to your diet. Matcha has higher concentrations of the same nutrients present in regular green tea, meaning you can drink less for more health benefits.

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