The Power of Matcha
Matcha means “powdered tea”. Finely ground green tea leaves to be exact.
What makes matcha so special is that you are not just getting health benefits from the steeped green tea leaves you are drinking the entire leaves because they have been ground into a very fine powder.
The traditional method of consuming Matcha tea is to place a small amount which is scooped from a small bamboo scoop and placed in a small bowl. Hot water is then poured over and it is whisked together with a bamboo brush. This set up pictured below can be purchased on Amazon.
It is used most commonly in meditation practices. The combination of the health benefits derived from both meditation and Matcha makes this a double win.
Not only is matcha prepared differently than regular green tea it is also grown and harvested differently.
The tea plants are covered with shade cloths before they are harvested. This provides improved flavor and texture. The leaves are then hand selected, steamed briefly to halt fermentation, then dried and aged in a cold environment which deepens the flavor even more. Then the dried leaves are stone-ground into a fine powder.
This whole process means more potent amounts of antioxidants called polyphenols. There is a lot of science behind polyphenols and the many health benefits including protection against heart disease and cancer, the ability to lower blood pressure, better blood sugar regulation, as well as anti-aging benefits. The other exciting polyphenol discovery is EGCG which has been shown in research to boost metabolism and slow or halt the growth of cancer cells.
Matcha does contain caffeine which is likely to be 3 x more than what you would get in a traditional cup of tea but equivalent to a cup of brewed coffee. Most Matcha tea drinkers claim that they get an “alert calm” as opposed to the jitters they get from other forms of caffeine. This is likely due to l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness. Probably best to avoid before bedtime though.
Matcha tea can be mixed with other foods like this Matcha Overnight Oats recipe or just added to some lemon water. It can be sweetened if need be but I would recommend honey or one of these other clean sweeteners and used sparingly. You will find all sorts of sweet and savory recipes that include Matcha.
The other option is to drink it the traditional way and drink it mindfully while practicing some deep breathing, relaxation, or meditation.
One thing to be aware of is that Matcha contains more lead than traditional green tea because the entire leaf is being ingested. The highest levels are found in Matcha that is imported from China so look for a good quality product and make sure it is USDA certified organic, tested by a third party for contaminants, and imported from Japan.
Amazon offers several products that are rated well. I think this one is the best bargain considering the quality.
With all the environmental toxins and today’s poor food quality, it is even more important that we take action to strengthen our immune system and minimize oxidative stress.
Eating clean is one of the best ways to do this along with increasing nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, and healing foods.
Read, Super Anti-inflammatory Golden Milk to learn about the amazing properties of Turmeric and how to make a delicious beverage out of it.