Matcha is one of those beverages many people have strong feelings about. It has a bright "green" flavor with a slight bitterness. Those who don't like it often describe it as "grassy", but many others find matcha to be smooth and refreshing.
That being said, there are many reasons to love matcha regardless of taste, especially for its incredible health benefits.
It's good for your inner health, sustainable energy, and can also help your skin to have a healthy glow. Here's more about this ancient tea and why you want it in your daily routine.
What Is Matcha?
Matcha comes from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis)- the same plant that green and black tea come from. It's most similar to green tea but has a few distinct differences that set it apart.
To start with, farmers who want to harvest tea leaves for matcha shade the tea plants 3-4 weeks before the harvest date to increase chlorophyll content. This is one of the things that gives matcha powder its brilliant green color.
After being harvested, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves and the whole leaves are dried and ground into a fine powder.
This also sets matcha apart because it's consumed as a whole-leaf powder rather than being steeped and the leaves removed as other teas are. So while it does share some benefits with other types of teas, matcha is really in a category all its own as far as nutritional content goes.
Japanese tea ceremonies have featured matcha for hundreds of years, so it isn't a new beverage. However, as its health benefits have become more well known, this ancient drink has spread to more places around the world.
Top Benefits of Matcha Tea
Super High in Antioxidants
If there was only one reason to drink matcha tea, it would be because of its incredibly high antioxidant content.
Matcha soars past superfoods like blueberries and goji berries as far as antioxidant amount goes and is particularly rich in a specific group of antioxidants known as catechins.
One specific catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), has received a lot of attention as an extremely powerful plant compound that can lower inflammation, protect cells from free radical damage, and potentially prevent cancer. (1)(2)
EGCG is mainly found in different types of green tea, but matcha contains up to 137 times more of this health-boosting antioxidant than other green teas. (3)
Boosts Brain Health and Energy
Drinking matcha also benefits your brain in a few ways.
It contains more caffeine than regular green tea, and caffeine is known to boost brain power, alertness, mental energy, and mood. Studies are also revealing that caffeine may help to protect brain function and lower your risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia. (4)(5)
Of course, there are downsides to caffeine, particularly the crash that happens when it wears off or the jitters that come from consuming too much of it.
However, matcha contains an amino acid known as L-theanine that complements and also balances out caffeine. It promotes a state of calm alertness, rather than jitteriness, without an energy crash later. (6)
To add to this, consuming matcha regularly may also improve general brain function over time, keeping your mind "young". (7)
Enhances Weight Loss
Another huge benefit of drinking matcha is that it promotes weight loss.
Studies have repeatedly shown that drinking tea that is high in catechins (like matcha) helps to reduce body weight, body fat, BMI, and also aids weight loss maintenance. This is mostly because it can boost metabolism and fat-burning. (8)(9)
Of course, just drinking matcha won't cause you to lose weight, but it can help as a "supplement" and is especially excellent at helping you burn more fat while exercising.
Helps Detoxify Your Body
Helping your body to detoxify itself is extremely important for your overall health. There are many herbs that aid natural detox, and matcha can also help because of its rich chlorophyll content.
Chlorophyll promotes natural detoxification by encouraging the elimination of heavy metals and other harmful toxins, while the antioxidants in matcha fight free radicals at a cellular level. (10)
Good for Heart Health
Drinking matcha regularly has benefits for your heart as well as the rest of your body. In fact, one study from Japan found that drinking green tea daily could reduce your risk of dying from heart attack or stroke by as much as 26% and reduce your risk of death from all causes. (11)
Other research has shown that it can lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure. All good things for your heart! (12)
May Help Protect Against Cancer
Because it's so high in antioxidants, particularly EGCG, matcha has huge potential for protecting your body from cancer.
Much of the research has yet to be confirmed in human trials, but that doesn't mean you should wait to benefit from the antioxidants found in matcha, since antioxidants are one of the few confirmed cancer-fighters we know of.
Boosts Skin from the Inside
By providing your body with antioxidants and having a detoxifying effect, matcha helps to keep your skin glowing from the inside out. One of the ways toxins exit your body is through your skin, so getting rid of them effectively is key to keeping your skin from getting overloaded.
The anti-inflammatory action of matcha is also great for keeping skin calm and happy.
Boosts Skin from the Outside
If you don't like the taste of matcha, you can still get skin-boosting benefits by using it externally. In fact, it may be one of the best natural skincare ingredients to use in a face mask or scrub.
The chlorophyll in matcha can help to protect your skin from sun damage and has also been found to improve wrinkles and skin elasticity. (16)
On top of this, matcha powder is exfoliating for your skin and can help with inflammation and puffiness (due to the caffeine).
How to Make Matcha Tea
To make matcha tea, you'll want to use filtered water that is heated just short of boiling. You'll also want 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder per 6-8 ounces of water, depending on how strong you want it.
- Sift the matcha powder into a mug or bowl.
- Pour about 2 ounces of hot water over the powder and mix thoroughly with a whisk (a bamboo whisk is traditional).
- Once the matcha is fully whisked in and the mixture looks frothy, add an extra 3-4 ounces of water to get it to the consistency you want it.
For a matcha latte, replace much of the water with hot milk. Matcha powder is also a great addition to smoothies, especially because heat won't destroy any of the health-boosting antioxidants.
There are few precautions for matcha. It does contain caffeine, although a much lower amount than a cup of coffee. Still, it may cause problems if you are sensitive to caffeine, and you shouldn't go overboard with it during pregnancy.
Something else to keep in mind is that matcha can be contaminated by pesticides, chemicals, and even heavy metals. Buy organic matcha from a quality brand that preferably tests their matcha for contamination. Japanese matcha is generally cleaner than Chinese, according to some experts.
Enjoy More Matcha
If you like the taste of matcha, don't hesitate to start drinking it daily so that you can get all of its health-boosting benefits. Also, don't forget to use it in DIY skincare to boost and protect the natural glow of your skin.
Choose organic so that you aren't drinking chemicals in your tea, and find new ways to enjoy this ancient, incredible beverage!
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice and should not be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your health care provider, herbalist, midwife, or naturopathic physician before taking herbs, supplements, etc. Here's the link to our full disclaimer.