If you haven’t heard of matcha, then we hate to break it you, but you may be living under rock. Matcha has taken the world by storm, and for good reason. It is packed full of nutrients and health benefits!
Did you know that matcha comes from the same plant as green tea? It is grown differently than green tea, hence the slightly different taste and nutrient profile. Matcha originates from Japan and comes from the green tea plant called Camellia sinesis.
Matcha contains various bioactive ingredients that exert their effects on the body. One of these bioactives are polyphenols. Polyphenols are compounds found in plants that have health benefits. Specifically, matcha contains something called catechins. A big word, that’s for sure. Catechins are a type of polyphenol and are one of the main components responsible for the benefits of matcha!
Benefits of Matcha
1. Tons of antioxidants!
We mentioned earlier that matcha and green tea come from the same plant and that the difference is in the cultivation. Well, this difference in cultivation makes matcha super rich in antioxidants. Remember the catechins we mentioned? Well this is where they come into play.
A catechin called -epigallocatechin-3-gallate (that’s a mouthful!), also referred to as EGCG, is a component of matcha that is responsible for this benefit. Like other antioxidants, EGCG is able to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS can cause damage to cells, so this is an important benefit! The antioxidant abilities of EGCG are significant.
2. Great source of energy (without the crash)
Anyone who drinks coffee knows that drinking too much too quickly – while providing a big boost of energy – can leave you feeling jittery. And let’s not forget the crash that usually accompanies it. Matcha on the other hand can give you what is sometimes referred to as a “relaxed calmness”. Energy without the jitters and without the crash. A win-win in our books. This is because of the antioxidant capacity of matcha! Therefore the caffeine is absorbed into the body at a slower rate, preventing jitteriness and the crash.
Matcha has a relatively high caffeine content compared to other green teas. This is because with matcha powder, a person is consuming the green tea leaves. In comparison, when making green tea, one will usually steep the green tea leaves resulting in a much lower concentration of caffeine.
3. Anti-inflammatory activity
In addition to the polyphenols (remember that term from earlier?) antioxidant activity, many of these components also have anti-inflammatory effects. Matcha is able to have these benefits because the polyphenols can block these pathways in the body that stimulate inflammation.
4. Neuroprotective and can help improve cognitive functions
As we age, our brains may suffer from decreased function. However, research shows that matcha has neuroprotective abilities. To begin, matcha has strong antioxidant activity which can help to slow damage caused by ROS. Furthermore, studies have shown that regular caffein consumption has anti-inflammatory effects and can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
A review on 49 different human trials investigating the benefits of matcha on the brain was conducted. The researchers looked at the effects of three different components on matcha (caffeine, L-theanine and EGCG) on mood and cognitive performance. They found that these compounds had significant benefits on attention, memory, and relaxation.
5. Can help with metabolism (specifically carbohydrate metabolism)
There are a few different components of matcha that can help to regulate carbohydrate metabolism. EGCG, a significant component of matcha, can help to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone secreted after we eat carbohydrates to regulate the levels of sugar, or glucose, in the body. We want good insulin sensitivity, as that is how our body regulates our blood sugar levels. If our body does not properly react with the correct amount of insulin after eating, then we would feel the effects.
Matcha is definitely a superfood powder. With all of these amazing benefits (and more that we didn’t even cover!), matcha is a must.
Make sure to give our Super Matcha a try if you haven’t already! It is super easy to use. All you need to do is add a scoop to hot water or steamed milk. For a nice summer treat, try it over ice. If you have any more questions about matcha, comment them down below!