Over the past 25 years, matcha sales have increased by over 500% in the United States, creating a $10 billion industry.
Matcha green tea is THE drink of the moment and a must-have for celebs, health enthusiasts, and basic bitches everywhere. But for good reason.
Thanks to the eye candy aesthetics of this vibrant green powder, matcha has become a social media hit. This trendy green tea is one of the most Instagrammable foods EVER. People everywhere are literally adding matcha powder to everything from teas and smoothies, to ice cream and muffins, officially earning it a top trending spot in the #FOODPORN epidemic.
TBH though, matcha actually has a lot more to offer than just boosting Instagram engagement levels and feeding the basic bitch stereotype; it’s also PACKED with TONS of health benefits and people f*cking love it.
WTF IS MATCHA?
Matcha is tea. Green tea- just in powdered form and on steroids.
Okay, matcha isn’t actually on steroids, but it’s more potent and concentrated than regular green tea, about ten times stronger, so I’m sure you can understand the reference.
Whether it’s black, green, oolong, dark, or white, ALL teas, including matcha green tea, are derived from the leaves of the same plant: the Camellia Sinensis evergreen bush.
Tea is the #1 beverage in the world, but green tea is by far the healthiest. Out of all the green tea varieties, matcha is king when it comes to health benefits.
It’s pretty much the Dom Perignon of the tea world.
HOW IS MATCHA PRODUCED?
Unlike other teas, matcha tea leaves are covered from direct sunlight for 20 – 30 days before harvest, which slows down growth. The lack of light causes the tea leaves to turn dark green, and promotes the production of chlorophyll and amino acids. When the leaves are ready to be harvested, they are hand picked, steamed, and air dried, then stemmed and deveined. These dried green tea leaves are known as tencha and can be used to brew high-quality green tea, or stone ground into a superfine, bright green powder, known as matcha.
The unique production process of matcha isn’t the only contributing factor to it’s potent health benefits. Since matcha is a powder, it is considered to be the most versatile tea and can be used in pretty much any recipe from tea to smoothies, to baked good. Regardless of how it’s used, matcha powder contains the entire tea leaf. As a result, foods and drinks containing matcha powder have a much higher concentration of polyphenols and nutrients.
HOW IS MATCHA PREPARED?
Most teas are prepared by steeping tea bags, or loose leaves, in hot water, then discarding them, only extracting 10-20% of the available nutrients. Matcha, however, is prepared by dissolving matcha powder in water. Since you are consuming the entire leaf, matcha delivers 100% of available nutrients to the body. #matchaforthewin
Okay, phew. Now that we’ve gotten all that boring sh*t out of the way, can we PLEASE talk about what really matters, like, why matcha is SO amazing for our bodies and how it can help us maintain a youthful, flawless complexion. *flips hair*
Yes, let’s talk about it.
ANTI-AGING BENEFITS OF MATCHA
Matcha Fights Free Radicals
Free radicals are pretty much the worst things ever. These highly unstable molecules attack other molecules in the body are the leading cause of aging and degenerative diseases. The only way to fight free radicals is with antioxidants and LOTS of them.
Matcha is PACKED with free radical fighting antioxidants. Literally, polyphenols account for more than one third the weight of the tea leaves, which are where most of the health benefits stem from.
Just one cup of matcha has the antioxidant equivalent of ten cups of green tea. Um, yeah, about that.
So, there’s also this thing called the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) score, which is used to measure antioxidant levels of food and their abilities to neutralize free radicals. The higher the score, the better, obviously.
To put this into perspective, dark chocolate has an ORAC value of 227, pomegranates have an ORAC value of 105, and wild blueberries have an ORAC value of 93. All of these are superfoods that are known for having extremely high concentrations of antioxidants.
Can you guess what the ORAC score for matcha is? 1,384, literally.
If you haven’t already connected the dots here, allow me: matcha is the most antioxidant dense superfood on earth. That’s kind of a big f*cking deal.
Matcha Reduces Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of aging and degenerative diseases.
Chronic inflammation is the body’s response to excessive amounts of free radicals, or oxidative stress and is a very vicious cycle; the presence of chronic inflammation causes even more free radicals to be produced.
The only way to combat chronic inflammation and its damaging effects, is by avoiding free radical exposure and maintaining a diet rich in antioxidant superfoods, such as matcha.
Just in case you were wondering, matcha contains 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea, and 70 times more antioxidants than orange juice.
Matcha Boosts Metabolism
If you want to increase your metabolism, there are very few things more effective at doing so than matcha. Drinking matcha green tea leads to higher metabolic rates and is a powerful diet aide.
The antioxidants found in matcha have been proven to increase metabolic rate, stop the growth of fat cells, and help the body burn fat at a rate of four times faster than average.
Matcha also increases the process of thermogenesis (the body’s rate of burning calories) from 8-10%, to 35-43% of your daily energy expenditure, making it great for weight loss. The best part? Since matcha is all natural, it won’t cause any the negative side effects associated with many other weight loss aides on the market, such as high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
Matcha Reduces the Appearance of Fine Lines & Wrinkles
Cellular damage caused by free radicals is the leading cause of aging. As we age, the body’s ability to produce antioxidants decreases, which is why it’s very important to include a variety of them in your daily diet.
One of the primary functions of the skin is to act as a protective barrier against external factors, such as the sun, smoke, pollutants, toxins, etc.
I listed the sun off first for a reason; it’s responsible for 80% of skin damage. Seriously, though. Exposure to harmful UVA/UVB rays accelerates the breakdown of the Extracellular Matrix (ECM), which is often referred to as photoaging.
Matcha is LOADED with antioxidants, most notably, Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). This very powerful antioxidant belongs to a class of polyphenols known as catechins, and accounts for approximately 60% of the antioxidant composition of matcha.
I’ve already mentioned this, but I feel the need to mention it again: the amount of EGCG available from drinking one cup of matcha is 137 times higher than the concentration of EGCG available from drinking regular green tea. That’s a-f*cking-LOT of free radical fighting antioxidants.
Even more, polyphenols are known to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. #winning
Matcha also contains polysaccharides, which help the skin to retain moisture and stay hydrated. Hydration is very important for skin renewal and repair.
Polyphenols and polysaccharides found in matcha both have exceptional anti-inflammatory properties, which help keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay. So, pretty much, never waste your time drinking regular green tea again.
Matcha Detoxifies the Body
Ever heard of chlorophyll? It’s an algae that gives green tea and other plants their signature vibrant green color, and matcha contains a sh*t ton of it- five times the amount compared to regular green tea.
In addition to it’s aesthetic properties, chlorophyll also works to alkalise the body and is a very powerful detoxifier. It’s capable of removing chemical toxins and heavy metals from the body.
Toxin build up in the body is linked to eye, kidney and heart damage. Chlorophyll increases oxygen levels in the blood. This is important for two reasons:
1. It makes it easier for the body to transport toxins out of the body, and
2. It allows oxygen and nutrients to be transported to cells much more efficiently, which helps to keep the skin looking clear and radiant.
Chlorophyll is also very effective at removing heavy metals. Prolonged exposure to heavy metals is known to displace vital nutrients and disrupt bodily functions. Although the body naturally removes toxins, chlorophyll works as a natural chelating agent; heavy metals bind to chlorophyll molecules and are carried out of the body.
Matcha Reduces Stress, Promotes Relaxation & Improves Sleep Quality
Matcha is the new xanax.
Seriously though. Matcha contains a unique set of natural amino acids, such as L-Theanine. This rare amino acid increases the production of alpha waves in the brain, which enhances calmness, induces relaxation and promotes more restful sleep cycles.
Additionally, studies have shown that the polyphenols found in matcha are able to reduce something called serum corticosterone and our ACTH levels, two hormones associated with stress.
Within just 15-30 minutes of consuming matcha, you will be in a calm, alert, happy state-of-mind.
Matcha Increases Energy, Focus & Concentration
Every day, about 90% of Americans consume caffeine in some form or another, which is why it’s been labeled as America’s most popular drug.
Aside from being a mild stimulant, caffeine does not offer any health benefits. In fact, consuming too much caffeine can be very harmful.
Health professionals agree that 300+ mg of caffeine per day is considered “too much,” and yet over half of the adult population are consuming at least this amount. Considering that one eight ounce cup of coffee contains approximately 163 mg of caffeine, it’s no wonder why.
One cup of matcha contains just 70 mg of caffeine and provides sustained energy for 4-6 hours. Coffee, on the other hand, contains over two times the amount of caffeine found in matcha, but only provides 1-3 hours of energy.
How is that possible? Because matcha powder contains a special kind of caffeine known as theophylline, which is way better than the type of caffeine found in coffee, energy drinks, sodas, etc. Theophylline provides a more sustainable release of energy throughout the day, allowing you to stay energized longer, while the abundance of L-Theanine found in matcha promotes a state of relaxation, which keeps the stimulatory caffeine effects in balance.
Just 100 mg of matcha contains 2.41 mg of amino acid, L-Theanine, which is five times more than any other tea.
L-Theanine has been proven to improve memory, focus, learning, and concentration.
L-Theanine aids in the production of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), which stimulates dopamine and tryptophan levels. Dopamine improves memory and increases concentration.
Matcha Enhances Mood & Reduces Depression
Another amazing side effect of L-Theanine? It aides in the production of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), which boosts brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that elevates mood.
So, if you’re feeling depressed, drinking a few cups a matcha every day is guaranteed to enhance your mood.
Matcha Protects Against Heart Disease
Heart disease is the #1 leading cause of death in the world and matcha is one of the most powerful preventative agents.
Drinking matcha has been proven to significantly lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
EGCG dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, and the development of blood clots.
Polyphenols help reduce oxidative stress and cause vasodilation (widening of the arteries), which decreases blood pressure, prevents clotting, and reduces cholesterol,
Matcha Prevents & Fights Diabetes
Matcha has the natural ability to protect the body from both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes.
People with diabetes have problems metabolizing sugar, but drinking matcha has been proven to help improve the function of the metabolic system. In healthy people, insulin comes along to decrease sugar, but with Type 2 diabetes, the body isn’t sensitive to insulin, so blood sugar levels go up. The EGCG in matcha helps to sensitize cells so that they are able to metabolize sugar more effectively.
Being overweight puts diabetics (especially those with Type-2 Diabetes) at high risk. EGCG has been shown to reduce the fatty degeneration of the pancreas, inhibiting weight gain. It also hinders the creation of PTP1B (tyrosine phosphatase), which is related to diabetes and obesity.
Matcha’s ability to help maintain a healthy body weight, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fat storage in the body make it great at preventing and fighting diabetes.
Matcha Fights Cancer
Green tea is widely accepted as an effective cancer preventative in its standard form due to powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Free radicals lead to cancer. The only way to fight, or neutralize, these unstable molecules is with antioxidants. EGCG, a catechin found in teas, is a superstar free radical scavenger. It has been shown to inhibit the growth and activity of tumor cells, trigger cell cycle arrest, and induce apoptosis (self-destruction) of cancerous cells. EGCG is also believed to be an anti-carcinogen. Evidence suggests that EGCg may reduce the risk of at least prostate, cervical, brain and bladder cancers.
Matcha Boosts Immune System
If you’ve read this far, then you should known that matcha contains special types of polyphenols known as catechins, specifically EGCG.
Catechins are pretty cool because in addition to being some of the most potent antioxidants ever, they also have amazing antibiotic properties that work to fortify the immune system and boost overall health.
Additionally, just one cup of matcha is also PACKED with tons of important nutrients, including vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K.
Matcha Improves Gastrointestinal Health
Matcha is a great source of dietary fiber, which is very important for maintaining good health.
Dietary fiber helps to control weight, lower cholesterol, reduces risk of diabetes and diverticular disease. It also helps improve digestive health by relieving constipation and maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
Matcha contains 314 mg of dietary fiber that’s easily absorbed by the body, while regular green teas only contain 10 mg.