Matcha is the strongest form of green tea. It is made using the entire tea leaf, meaning that it has more nutrients and health benefits than regular green tea. In the west, matcha has recently grown in popularity and can be found in the form of shots, lattes, and even food products such as cakes and desserts. It has been grown and consumed in Japan for over 800 years.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Matcha is high in natural antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for cell growth and can help prevent chronic diseases. The antioxidants in matcha can neutralise free radicals, which are compounds that cause you harm if they build up in your system. By stabilising these compounds, matcha may help to prevent certain types of cancer as well as diabetes and heart disease.
The antioxidants in matcha can also impact your bone health. Compounds in matcha called polyphenols can increase the mineral density of your bones, making them more solid and therefore stronger. Your bones weaken as you age, but the anti-inflammatory compounds in matcha can help fight this natural process, and even prevent osteoporosis in later life.
Stabilises Effects of Caffeine
Matcha contains caffeine, which is a stimulant that can boost energy levels and help with weight loss. The caffeine in drinks such as coffee and energy drinks is absorbed quickly into the system, often creating undesirable energy spikes and crashes. Matcha contains a compound called L-theanine, which helps to regulate energy levels in a sustained way, preventing energy crashes.
Reduces Cholesterol Level
Matcha contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can combat high cholesterol. Cholesterol is the build-up of fatty acids in the bloodstream, and high cholesterol levels are associated with heart attacks and strokes. Consuming matcha regularly can help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the arteries and may prevent these deadly conditions from occurring.
Attention and Memory
Matcha has a positive effect on cognitive functions such as attention and memory and can increase reaction times. These effects on the brain are strongest an hour after consuming matcha, so drinking a matcha latte an hour before a job interview, exam, or presentation can help your overall cognitive performance. This positive effect is thought to be caused by the combination of caffeine, the catechin ECGC, and the compound L-theanine.
Matcha is readily available in coffee shops and supermarkets. It can be purchased online in powdered form. Matcha powder can be mixed with water to make tea, or with hot milk to make a latte. It can also be used in baking and cooking. It has an earthy flavour that some people find unpleasant; matcha extract is available in capsule form.