From matcha lattes to green tea ice cream, matcha and tea-flavored products are ubiquitous. What are the benefits of matcha and how are matcha and green tea distinct from each other? Are they really good for you, or just a green trend? Here’s a quick primer for the matcha and green-tea curious.
First things first: Matcha powder and green tea leaves are from the same type of tree, but matcha’s made from leaves grown in shade, while the tea leaves are sun lovers.
Next up: is the green stuff actually good for you? The short answer is an emphatic “yes”. Matcha, in particular, is a quicker way to reap the nutritional benefits because in powder form it’s much more concentrated than steeped tea. To quantify the difference, one cup of matcha powder mixed in liquid has the same benefits as approximately 10 cups of green tea. Nutrients in matcha are more concentrated because matcha’s comprised of the entire leaf (in powder form).
Still both forms of green tea are rich in nutrients, including Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and K, plus calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, among others. And both have health-promoting properties that make them good picks. For those who are sensitive to coffee or suffer from anxiety, matcha is a great substitute; it’s milder than coffee and doesn’t have that jittery effect.
What are the benefits of matcha powder and green tea. Here are just a few:
- 30mg L-Theanine: supports cognitive function, promotes a relaxed focus, and the production of serotonin and dopamine. In short, it improves your mood and may even treat symptoms of depression
- Antioxidants–240mg catechins and EGCG flavonols: studies have shown an improvement in mental focus after drinking matcha.
- EGCG, specifically, has been shown to improve memory, reduce aging in the brain and help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- In addition, EGCG has been shown to reduce tumor growth in cancer patients, including those with breast cancer.
Plus, studies show that both matcha and green tea…
- protect us from damage by UV radiation.
- increase sensitivity to insulin, which can promote healthy blood sugar levels and even weight loss.
- support liver function. So if you consume alcohol, it’s recommended to mix matcha into your drinking rotation.
- have antibacterial effects for oral health, protecting the jaw from bone loss.
The list goes on and on. It’s mind-blowing how beneficial this simple addition to your diet can be, barring sensitivities or allergies (consult your medical professional for guidance). But if you introduce or add more matcha-drinking into your routine, buyer beware: not all matcha is equal. Tea leaves are like sponges for environmental toxins, so you have to be extra picky when it comes to quality and sources. Opt for organic teas when possible, preferably with third-party testing for levels of mold, heavy metals and pesticides.
And finally, no, sugary matcha lattes aren’t the greatest; with added sugar that makes the matcha more like candy than a healthful beverage. So go easy on the sweet teas, go big on the greens and let us know how you like to prepare your health boost in a mug.
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