Are you like me, wondering why everyone around us seems to be sipping matcha lattes or eating matcha cupcakes? Is it really a superfood or is it just a fad? Let’s find out together.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a special type of powdered green tea that is mostly grown in Japan. Matcha comes from the same plant as green tea, but it is farmed differently which contributes to its “superfood” nutrient profile. About one month before harvest, farmers cover their tea plants to avoid direct sunlight. This increases chlorophyll level, creating a beautiful dark green hue and intensifying the plants’ special properties. Once the tea leaves are harvested, they are ground up into a fine powder known as matcha, (mah-cha).
Fad, Yay or Nay?
Definitely Nay. This specially prepared brew has been consumed for over a millennium in the Far East, starting with the Tang Dynasty in China. Back then, green tea was powdered and dried into bricks for ease of use. In the 1100s, a Japanese monk brought the powdered tea to Japan. At first only royalty, Samurai warriors and Buddhist monks used Matcha because it was time consuming and expensive to produce. Eventually, matcha became part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and is now a popular mainstream drink in Japan and throughout the world.
What the heck is a “superfood” anyway? And why do people say matcha green tea may be one? Generally a superfood is any food containing a dense concentration of important nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., that may help to treat, lower risk of or prevent certain diseases and ailments. Matcha green tea may far surpass the benefits of some of the most powerful superfoods we know of today. Some studies assert it contains higher levels of antioxidants than goji berries, dark chocolate, blueberries, and spinach!
Glow From The Inside Out
Energy Boost + Calm
While matcha contains caffeine like other types of tea it also contains L-Theanine, an amino acid known to create calmness without drowsiness. L-Theanine also elevates the super mood enhancing brain chemicals, dopamine and serotonin. This dynamic duo improves mood, memory, and promotes better concentration. Therefore, Matcha+Meditation may = Bliss. And last, but not least, matcha may lead to improved workouts, since it’s energizing and anti-inflammatory!
Antioxidant Power House
You’ve probably heard about antioxidants, the magical nutrients and enzymes in fruits, green veggies and dark chocolate which may help fight against a plethora of diseases. Matcha is rich in antioxidants called catechins, especially EGCg, which is believed to have cancer fighting properties and has also been linked to better heart health, improved metabolism and improved aging.
Todays superfood hero may be tomorrow’s villain or vice versa. Remember the evils of our friend the egg, which is now allowed back in our daily life. So, I personally will proceed with caution. With all diet and exercise programs, the key always seems to be balance and moderation. I will definitely try out a matcha chia pudding or sip a matcha tea latte with a friend… just not every day.
-Shine On And Glow