Written by Kei Nishida: Japanese green tea enthusiast, a writer, and the founder and CEO of Japanese Green Tea Company
The popularity of matcha has gone through the roof in the past few years. It’s likely that you can find the bright, emerald-green tea powder in espresso, lattes, teas and even pastries in health food stores and coffee shops. Matcha literally means “powdered tea” and hails from the Camellia Sinensis plant, exactly like green tea. But since it’s grown differently than the green tea that we are all familiar with, the nutrition profile is a bit different. When you’re drinking matcha, you’re drinking the actual leaves, so in that way, it’s unlike common teas that most of us grew up with.
What is Matcha? - How Matcha is Grown and Harvested
As matcha is being grown, farmers cover the tea plants for 20-30 days before harvesting them to protect them from direct sunlight. Harvesting is done by hand to ensure the selection of the youngest and smallest leaves for the finest quality of tea. This gives matcha a very dark green hue as the chlorophyll is boosted, as well as the amino acid content. One cup of matcha tea has the nutritional equivalent of 10 cup of regularly brewed green tea.
After the delicate leaves are harvested, the veins and stems are removed. After this painstaking process, the leaves are ground into the ultra-fine powder that we call matcha. The nutrients it contains surpass those normally found in green tea. This chlorophyll rich tea can safely cleanse and purge the body of harmful elements and chemicals from the body.
Image of Tea farm covering the green tea with black covering
Differences in color between covered tea (matcha) and non-covered tea
The Nutrients in Matcha
This tea is full of essential nutrients. It is rich in vitamins A, C, E, K and B-complex vitamins. It contains trace minerals including selenium, magnesium, zinc, chromium and fiber. It is rich in components with antioxidant activity including catechins and polyphenols.
Matcha has a high amount of catechins, which is a type of antioxidant that aren’t found in other foods. Matcha has over 100 times more catechins than other green teas. Antioxidants assist in stabilizing free radicals which do damage to our cells and cause chronic illness. There are more antioxidants in matcha than in spinach, broccoli, acai berries, blueberries, pomegranates and goji berries put together, per serving.
1. Matcha, the Cancer Fighter
Matcha is also a cancer fighter. Several studies have found that the nutrients in matcha just might slow the growth of cancer cells. (Read more detail about how green tea can help with cancer here)
2. How Matcha Protects the Liver
Matcha may also protects the liver, which flushes out toxins and processes the nutrients we need. Matcha has also been shown to possibly prevent liver damage and decrease the risk of liver disease.
3. Matcha and the Brain
Attention, memory and compulsivity can all be supported with matcha due to its caffeine and L-theanine content. This plant can also enhance your mood and aid in concentration. More than a thousand years ago, matcha was used in Japan as part of certain meditation practices and tea ceremonies and it has long been associated with Zen Buddhism. Monks would drink this tea during their long hours of sitting to remain calm and alert. L-theanine is common in all teas but matcha contains much more than black and green teas that we are all familiar with.
4. Matcha Protects Your Heart
Matcha mas also protect your heart. Studies show that green tea and matcha can decrease some factors of heart disease. The EGCG in matcha may lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. EGCG also helps in reducing the accumulation of lipids and promotes autophagy in certain cells of the hearts.
5. Matcha Protects You From Eye Diseases
Consumption of matcha leads to the absorption of catechin in the tissues of the eye, which can help prevent blindness caused by cataracts. It also enhances vision and may prevent certain eye disorders like glaucoma. It can also give you a great boost of energy throughout the day. At one point, researchers thought that this was due to the caffeine content but it was found to actually be all of matcha’s properties working in sync together.
6. Matcha and Weight Loss
This tea may also help you lose pounds. Matcha tea burns calories, helps to burn fat and increase metabolism, two things that can be a big aid to weight loss. It also doesn’t stress the body by raising your heart rate or blood pressure.
Matcha is also getting popular among people who are practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF). Read why Matcha is good for IF and how to do it here.
How to Prepare Matcha
This tea is easy to prepare. There are also lots of different ways to drink or eat it, so you can a recipe that sounds most enticing. You can eat matcha in chocolates, cookies, candies, cakes, smoothies, popsicles, milkshakes and drink it as tea, lattes, in coffee and in alcoholic beverages. There are many, many matcha recipes including soups, muffins, brownies and puddings. Matcha has quite a strong taste that some describe as spinach or grass like, so it’s sometimes sweetened to improve its palatability.
The Entire LeafBecause it is made from the entire leaf of the green tea plant, it has much more beneficial plant compounds, nutrients and minerals than green tea. Studies have shown many health benefits that come from drinking or eating matcha, from decreasing the risk of heart disease to weight loss and from peace of mind to decreasing cancer risks. Give your days some zest by incorporating this amazing tea into them!
About the Author
Kei Nishida is a Japanese green tea enthusiast, a writer, and the founder and CEO of Japanese Green Tea Company (https://www.JapaneseGreenTeaIn.com). His passion for introducing America to the tea of his homeland was the catalyst for creating the only company that brings high-quality tea from Arahataen Green Tea Farms to the rest of the world.
Kei is the author of 4 published book which includes Cook with Matcha & Green Tea – Ultimate Guide & Recipes for Brewing and Cooking with Matcha & Green Tea
Japanese Green Tea Company is the only North American-based company to source tea directly from Arahataen Green Tea Farm in the Shizuoka prefecture in Japan. The farm uses sugarcane in its soil to make the tea taste sweeter while reducing its astringency.
Green Tea and Matcha from Japanese Green Tea Company won the Global Tea Championship in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and was the #1 Best Selling Green Tea in Japan online through Rakuten Inc. in 2016 and 2017. Rakuten Inc. is the largest e-commerce site in Japan and ranks #14 in the world for online sales volume (as of Feb 2018).
If you would like to try Award-Winning Japanese Green Tea or Green Tea, please use coupon code KOKORO to get 15% off of your first order at https://www.JapaneseGreenTeaIn.com