How Healthy Is Matcha? Here’s Everything You Have to Know About This Green Tea
Coffee and green tea both have a variety of health benefits. If you aren’t drinking matcha, though, you’re missing out on even more healthy bonuses. Unlike other green teas, this variety comes in a powder that includes the actual leaves. This means you’ll drink every part of the leaf — making it one of the healthiest teas you can find.
Matcha is nothing new. It’s been part of Japanese culture for centuries, but it’s become popular here in the West more recently thanks to its high antioxidant concentration. Let’s look at how drinking this green tea could improve your life.
1. Matcha is low in calories and free of added sugars
Sugar-sweetened beverages are everywhere, and avoiding them can prove a major challenge. Because of this, matcha is one drink you won’t regret trying. According to Livestrong.com, tea made from matcha powder is extremely low in calories and free of the added sugars common in store-bought drinks like matcha lattes. Since the bright green powder used to make this tea consists only of ground leaves, you’re essentially just drinking a plant.
2. It has plenty of vitamins and minerals
Just one cup of green tea every morning could provide all the vitamins and minerals you aren’t getting enough of throughout the rest of your day. According to Organic Facts, matcha is a healthy source of vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. It’s also high in fiber and antioxidants called polyphenols. These are the behind-the-scenes elements that contribute to the tea’s wide range of possible benefits — everything from providing an energy boost to protecting your heart to helping you lose weight.
3. It can protect your heart
Adding matcha to your daily routine could keep your heart in line. Antioxidants found in plant foods, such as green tea leaves, have a range of benefits, including improved heart health. Livestrong.com says the polyphenols found in plant sources like matcha could help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries. Matcha may not protect you from all types of heart disease, but it could help prevent one of the most common causes of severe heart problems.
4. Drinking matcha could give you energy without the jitters
Love coffee, but hate the way it makes you feel? Switch to a morning cup of matcha instead. According to The Huffington Post, a small amount of this tea can provide a major caffeine boost — but not the kind you’re expecting. Unlike your regular cup of black coffee, the caffeine in this powdered drink releases slowly into your bloodstream, instead of flooding into your system all at once. You’ll feel more energized without feeling anxious. There’s also no need to anticipate a productivity-shattering post-caffeine crash.
5. It could help you lose weight
Drinking green tea for weight loss isn’t a new concept, but the science behind it is. Eat This, Not That! explains EGCG — an antioxidant found in matcha — could encourage your body to break down fat and promote weight loss over time. Drinking matcha as a weight loss aid could also have more to do with the fact that you’re drinking something highly nutritious at least once a day. Instead of sugar-saturated lattes and diet soda, you’re drinking a low-calorie, sugar-free, plant-based tea. Matcha alone might not be a miracle drug, but it’s a great replacement for your go-to unhealthy beverages.
6. It might calm you down
If you drink tea to help relieve stress, you’re on the right track. The combination of caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine might help relieve tension and promote feelings of calmness. A review of research around this topic suggests the caffeine and L-theanine in matcha could help you relax. Feelings of calmness and relaxation were self-reported in these studies, so researchers still aren’t sure why exactly this happens. However, reaching for a cup of matcha when you’re stressed out is a much healthier alternative to using junk food or booze to calm down.
7. Matcha could decrease your type 2 diabetes risk
A cup or two of matcha might do wonders for your blood sugar over time. Everyday Health notes regularly drinking tea, especially green tea, could decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants in green tea help to regulate your blood sugar, which is a good first step to avoiding insulin resistance.
However, green tea alone won’t cure or fully prevent diabetes. There are a number of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, so it’s hard to say exactly why any kind of green tea could lower your risk of developing the chronic disease. Still, it’s a good idea to incorporate matcha into a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to ensure you’re providing your body with as many healthy vitamins and minerals as possible.
8. Antioxidants in matcha could reduce your risk of cancer
Many cancers develop as a result of free radicals, which are formed when oxygen molecules split apart. Free radicals can damage your body’s cells, which may eventually become cancerous. According to the National Cancer Institute, the antioxidants found in a variety of green teas might help protect cells from cancer-causing DNA damage. Drinking matcha doesn’t guarantee you’ll never get cancer, but it could help reduce the gradual damage your cells face over time.
9. Matcha could help you concentrate
Green tea could give you an energy boost while simultaneously keeping you calm. The same components of matcha that energize and tranquilize you could also improve your concentration. Research suggests the caffeine and L-theanine combination in matcha could improve your ability to focus on tasks that require your full attention. While drinking a cup or two of matcha every morning might not completely shut out all distractions at work, it could be enough to give you the productivity boost you’ve been searching for.
10. Matcha is easy to make at home
The more foods and beverages you make at home, the more control you have over everything healthy and unhealthy that goes into your body. All you need to make this tea in the comfort of your own kitchen is matcha powder, warm water, a tea bowl, and a whisk to give your tea a frothy, creamy texture. You can easily purchase the necessary tools — and bright green powder — online, so it’s not something you’ll have to go far to find. This way, you’re in full control of what’s in your tea. No added sugars or artificial flavorings required.
11. You can also cook and bake with it
If you want to enjoy all the benefits of matcha without actually drinking it, you’ll find dozens of recipes that use it as a main ingredient. You can make cupcakes, brownies, cookies, smoothies, even pancakes with matcha powder. It actually has a strong flavor that could help you cut back on sugar at home while still enjoying your favorite sweet treats. It will turn your favorite baked goods green, but the health benefits certainly make up for it.