If you’ve visited your local coffee shop, you may have noticed a couple of beverages made with matcha. This green tea powder has become a fast favorite, making matcha tea the trendy new drink and ingredient at several coffee shops, smoothie spots, and bakeries across the nation.
What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha is a powder made from ground, green tea leaves from Japan. Because the tea leaves are ground with a stone mill, rather than seeped in water like other tea leaves, you get a far more powerful effect. In fact, the benefits you reap from matcha tea are the same as if you were eating the green tea leaves themselves, just because of the way they are ground.
Matcha Tea Benefits
One of the reasons matcha tea has gained so much popularity is because of the health benefits the tea provides. Because matcha is abundant in antioxidants, matcha tea has the ability to prevent or lower the risk of many diseases. Matcha tea has also shown to improve some chemical mechanisms in the body, as well as existing conditions.
Consuming matcha tea on a regular basis has been found to provide the following benefits:
Improves attention and episodic memory
In a study published in 2017, researchers found that individuals who consumed a realistic dose of matcha tea had improved speed of attention and better episodic memory (a person’s unique memory of a specific event) than those who didn’t.
Promotes lipid metabolism
Researchers have found that matcha is particularly useful in suppressing blood glucose accumulation and promoting lipid metabolism, which is the breakdown of fats in the body. Moreover, matcha is considered to be especially useful in suppressing blood glucose levels and high lipid levels that are induced by diet.
Helps prevent cancer
Matcha is high in epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a type of antioxidant with powerful anti-cancer properties. In several animal and test-tube studies, it was discovered that the EGCG in matcha could help ward off a handful of cancers, including that of prostate, liver, lung, skin, and breast.
Decreases risk of heart disease
In 14 randomized controlled trials, researchers studied the effect of green tea beverages or extracts on cholesterol concentrations in participants. They found that the green tea beverages or extracts resulted in significant reductions in total cholesterol levels, as well as LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels.
Aids in weight loss
Because of matcha’s promotion of lipid metabolism, matcha is particularly helpful in breaking down fats in the body. After collecting and analyzing 11 studies in 2009, researchers concluded that green tea extracts were particularly helpful with weight loss by assisting in the reduction of body weight and overall weight management.
How to Prepare Matcha Tea
Aside from matcha tea’s numerous health benefits, it’s a great beverage to include in your diet because of how easy it is to prepare. A simple cup of matcha tea can be prepared with 1 to 2 teaspoons of matcha green tea powder blended with 2 to 4 ounces of hot water. The exact ratio is dependent on how strong or weak of a tea you desire.
It is recommended that you use a bamboo whisk or electric frother to combine the matcha powder with the hot water, as using a regular whisk or beater doesn’t result in as tasty of a tea.
Matcha Tea Recipes
Because matcha tea is incredibly delicious, it is often used as the basis for other beverages and foods. Here are a few recipes you might be interested in trying out with matcha tea as an ingredient:
Matcha green tea powder is blended with hot water, coconut milk, and honey for a dairy-free matcha latte.
Made with bananas, mangoes, coconut milk, matcha green tea powder, and spinach, this is a fruit and veggie-packed smoothie that’s ultra creamy and super tasty.
Matcha green tea powder lends a toasty taste to these delicate and tender tea cake cookies. The matcha also lends a bright green color to these cookies, making them stand out on the dessert table.
How Much Matcha Should You Consume?
In general, matcha tea and green teas are not only safe to drink but beneficial. That said, like most foods and beverages, matcha tea should be consumed in moderation.
Most health professionals agree that 1 to 2 cups of matcha tea a day is safe and will provide the health benefits you seek. Matcha tea can become detrimental if you’re drinking it all day like water, or if you’re consuming multiple cups of it in addition to, say, your 4 cups of coffee.
At that point, health professionals warn against herbal hepatotoxicity and overwhelming your liver. After all, matcha is a very concentrated form of green tea and packs a punch in each dose. If you’re unsure of how much matcha green tea is safe for you to consume, you should consult your doctor for guidance.