Time and again, people have turned towards tea to solve their health problems. Be it for treating recurrent coughs and cold or as an effective remedy for weight loss, tea has always been a constant companion for mankind. Tea is not only a great conversation starter but also provides abundant health benefits for us.
And with that, today we will be going to talk about one such variant of tea that has skyrocketed in the popularity charts due to its flavourful taste and abundant medicinal properties.
You would have probably guessed by now, we are talking about the Matcha tea, a variant of the green tea which has been creating waves in the health world due to its extensive properties. Do not believe us? Then continue reading the article to know more about it.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a variant of our regular green tea. Like the regular green tea, matcha also comes from the Camellia sinensis plant which is native to China and Japan. The growing process is however different as compared to the green tea. The tea bushes for Matcha tea are shielded from sunlight for about 20-30 days before harvesting. The shade proves to be extremely beneficial in enhancing the nutritive values of the Matcha as it leads to an increase in chlorophyll levels in the leaves which turns the leaves in a shade of darker green and increases in the production of amino acid in them.
The leaves are plucked by hands and the stems and veins are removed from the leaves. Then these leaves are steamed, dried, sorted and then grounded into a fine powder. It has a slightly bitter and vegetal taste and a vibrant green colour
Although it is considered to be native to China, however, the finest matcha comes from Japan where it had been used for medicinal and ceremonial uses for centuries.
Nutritional facts about Matcha
A packet of finely grounded matcha powder contains no sugar or any other added ingredients and 2-gram serving contains
- Calories- 5 kcal
- Protein- 2% daily value(DV)
- Carbohydrate- 0.33% DV
- Fibre- 4% DV
- Iron- 1.36% DV
- Vitamin C- 1.2% DV
- Vitamin A
Health benefits of Matcha
The benefits of Matcha caters to a wide range of ailments. Studies have unearthed a wide range of benefits which not only can protect your liver from radical damage but can also aid you in your weight loss.
So, some of the most effective health benefits are:
- Protection of liver-
The liver plays a very vital role in our body. It not only processes nutrients for our body but also helps in removing all the toxins out of the body. Consuming a cup of Matcha every day will help you to protect the health of the liver.
Liver enzyme levels which are a marker of liver damage gets visibly reduced on consumption and it also decreases the risk of liver diseases. The main function of matcha in this context is to improve the process of oxygenation in the body and remove all the waste products out of the system.
- Boosts brain function-
Matcha is abundant in nutrients and each of them has a profound effect in enhancing the functions of the brain. Matcha has high concentrations of caffeine in it which helps you in improving attention and concentration.
But simultaneously, it also has L-theanine which prevents the crash in energy levels after caffeine consumption and induces a wave of relaxation in the body. In certain cases, it can also increase the production of dopamine and serotonin in the body and therefore matcha can also act as a potent mood booster.
- Reduces the risk of certain types of cancer-
Matcha is high in epigallocatechin-3-gallate which according to research has powerful anti-cancer properties. It kills off prostate cancer and is also very effective for lung, skin and liver cancer.
- Promotes heart health-
Did you know that more than millions of people die every year worldwide due to heart diseases? Considered as one of the most silent killers, heart disease has been the reason for ⅓ rd deaths of people over the age of 35. Matcha can help you to fight against such ailments. It reduces the level of bad cholesterol in the body and enhances the good cholesterol in the system. It ameliorates the risk of strokes and other heart-related ailments.
- Protection against radical damage-
Abundant with catechins and other antioxidants, matcha helps you to combat against radical damage in the system. It stabilises the free radicals and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. It therefore also can be abundantly used for revitalizing your skin and hair.
- Helps in weight loss–
Very similar to green tea, matcha also helps in weight loss. Matcha is very low in calories and consuming several cups will therefore not put any unwanted calories in the body.
What to keep in mind?
There are two grades of Matcha available in the market.
- Ceremonial Grade-
This is the highest quality of Matcha available. This matcha is exclusively used for tea and is vibrant in colour and fine by texture. This particular grade is especially beneficial for health.
- Culinary Grade-
This is the grade of matcha used for making dishes and beverages. The culinary grade is also further subdivided into five different categories which can be accordingly used in foods and beverages as required.
While buying matcha, always make sure it is from a trusted source and check out these before buying
- The matcha powder is of bright, vibrant, green colour. It indicates good quality whereas dull green indicates low quality.
- The powder is grounded finely.
- It has a sweet grassy smell to it
- No added sugar or ingredients are in it.
Now onto the ways, you can include matcha in your daily diet.
Consuming in the form of tea is the best way possible. There are three ways to prepare matcha tea:
- Standard- 1 teaspoon of matcha powder added to 2 ounces of hot water
- Usucha- ½ teaspoon of matcha powder added to 3-4 ounces of hot water
- Koicha- 2 teaspoons of matcha powder added to 1 ounce of hot water. Make sure to use a high-grade matcha powder to make koicha.
Apart from consuming in the form of tea, matcha can also be used in the following ways:
- Mix it with foamed milk to make the matcha latte.
- Add matcha powder to smoothies, oatmeals and salads.
- Make granola bars out of matcha
Do not forget to add some sugar-free sweeteners to your recipes to eradicate the bitter feeling of the matcha powder.
Matcha powder does not spoil, however, it can lose its freshness quickly. Consume it within two months of opening the packet and for better usage in recipes keep a matcha whisk handy.
Matcha has numerous health benefits lined up on its sleeves and caters to a wide range of ailments. However, with that being said, matcha is rich in caffeine content and therefore should be drunk in moderation. Excess of matcha consumption can lead to insomnia, irritability, heart palpitations, headache and diarrhoea. Pregnant, breastfeeding women and people sensitive to caffeine should limit or stay away from matcha consumption.
Now there you go, everything you need to know about the beneficial matcha powder. Go on include the vibrant green powder in your daily diet and reap all the benefits out of it.