What is Matcha?
Matcha (pronounce Ma-cha) is a special form of powdered green tea with a grass or spinach-like taste. It is special both in processing and farming. Before harvesting the leaf (Camellia Sinensis) is shaded for three weeks, and the leaf is grounded into powdery form after the stems and veins have been removed from the leaf. Although in the modern time now, Matcha is not only used as a green tea it well use as flavor and dye foods. It can be integrated into lattes, iced drinks, milkshakes, liquor, and smoothies.
Matcha is used in the Japanese tea ceremony which focuses on the preparation, serving and drinking of the green tea. It is mostly grown in Japan. What differentiates matcha from any other form of green tea is that with matcha, you are actually drinking the leaf (since it is ground) compares to other traditional green tea where the leaf is soaked in hot water, after some minutes the hot water is sieved and drank while the leaf will be discarded.
Health Benefits of Matcha
Here are some known health benefit of matcha
- Antioxidants: due to the fact that in matcha the whole leaf is ingested, it is very rich in antioxidants which are known as polyphenols. Antioxidants is a naturally occurring chemical compound known to prevent aging and some chronic diseases.
- Weight loss: matcha is almost calorie free, therefore making very good and efficient when added to a diet. Matcha can help in the rate at which fat is being burned up due to the presence of the chemical called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). It can speed up your weight loss program, and due to it calm and Zen effect, it helps in meditation which in turn helps in weight loss program.
- Healthy Heart: Catechins a form of antioxidants found in matcha helps in keeping the heart healthy by lowering the LDL cholesterol.
- Brain Power: Alpha waves that when simulated helps in increasing focusing and concentration without feeling drowsiness can be simulated by L-Theanine a rare amino-acid found in abundant in matcha. L-Theanine is also known to help in learning and memory ability without any side-effects
It is recommended that an adult takes not more than a cup of matcha a day and it should not be given to children. Green tea generally is known to contain lead especially those grown in China, due to the special nature in the preparation of matcha (i.e. the leaf is consumed) compares to other green tea, it contains 80% more lead than other green tea.
So caution must be taken while taken matcha to avoid lead poisoning, and pregnant women should abstain from taking matcha for the period of their pregnancy.