Ingredient Spotlight: Matcha
Japanese buddhist monks have been drinking matcha during their tea ceremonies for centuries, due to it’s amazing health benefits and ability to create an ‘alert calm’. The word ‘matcha’ in Japanese literally means powdered tea – and that’s exactly what it is.
It is made by grinding green tea leaves into a fine powder, to which you add hot water. Because you are actually consuming the leaves (instead of taking them out with a tea bag), matcha has increased levels of antioxidants and nutrients when compared to steeped green tea. It also has moderate caffeine levels, making it a great alternative to coffee, with many other valuable benefits!
Caffeine without the negative side effects
Matcha contains about the same amount of caffeine as coffee, but provides a much different high. Due to its l-theanine content, consuming matcha induces relaxation without causing drowsiness, and therefore provides an ‘alert calm’ feeling. These increased energy levels are prolonged and don’t leave you feeling burnt out afterwards.
High in antioxidants
Because the tea leaves are ingested and are more concentrated, matcha provides your body with high levels of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, amino acids, and fibre. It also contains plenty of antioxidants, about 15x the amount in a serving of blueberries! These antioxidants show antibiotic properties and improve the function of your immune system.
Matcha contains high levels of EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate), a powerful antioxidant that has been clinically studied to prevent cancer. ECGC does so by protecting our cells from the DNA damage caused by free radicals, as well as promoting the death of cancer cells.
The green tea leaves used to make matcha are actually grown in the shade, causing them to be extremely high in chlorophyll, a type of plant pigment responsible for light absorption. Chlorophyll promotes the removal of toxins and heavy metals from our body, while increasing the flow of nutrient-rich blood to our body’s cells.
L-theanine, the same amino acid that induces relaxation, also increases the production of dopamine and serotonin. These hormones will lower anxiety, while enhancing mood, memory, and concentration.
How Do I Use it?
1. Hot tea
Gently heat water, and before it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and whisk in 1-2 tsp matcha powder. Whisk vigorously until it becomes frothy, and enjoy.
2. Cold matcha latte
Stop by Village Juicery to grab our Matcha Latte made with brazil nut and cashew milk, honey, and pink salt! Or make your own!
3. Add it to smoothies or oatmeal
It makes a great addition to smoothies or stirred into oatmeal in the morning, providing you with a gorgeous green colour and great energy to start your day.
Ruthie Cooper-Simpson is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Village Juicery’s College location. Inspired by her love for making healthy and nutritious meals, Ruthie began studying nutrition and soon found that a diet rich in whole foods cured many of the digestive issues she had been living with for so long. She believes that moderation and balance are the key to living a healthy and happy life. Follow her on Instagram @ruthienutrition, or check out her blog www.ruthienutrition.com where you can find healthy recipes and nutritional tips!
Sass, Cynthia. March 27, 2015. 7 Things You Should Know About Matcha, Health. (http://www.health.com/nutrition/what-is-matcha)
Natural Living Ideas. August 20, 2013. 10 Amazing Benefits of Matcha Green Tea. (http://www.naturallivingideas.com/10-amazing-benefits-of-matcha-green-tea/)
Axe, J. Matcha Green Tea Burns Fat and Kills Cancer. (https://draxe.com/matcha-green-tea-burns-fat-and-kills-cancer/) (Accessed: May 2017)
Organic Facts. 2016. 11 Surprising Matcha Tea Benefits. (https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/matcha-tea.html)