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Matcha powder has some amazing health benefits. Matcha literally means “powdered tea” and can provide green tea’s vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants better than other forms of green tea. You would need to drink ten cups of brewed green tea to even come close to the benefits of a single serving of matcha.
Traditionally, when green tea is prepared, the leaves are steeped in hot water for a certain amount of time and then discarded. This is how most cups of tea are typically prepared. Unfortunately, this process wastes valuable antioxidants and minerals because water can only extract a fraction of the tea leaves’ benefits. The majority of the health-boosting minerals stay trapped in the tea leaves and get thrown away.
The only way to take advantage of the full potential of green tea is to consume the entire leaf. The best way to do that is to consume matcha powder.
The Low-down on Matcha Powder
When you drink tea made from matcha powder, you are drinking actual tea leaves that have been ground into a fine powder. Matcha has a strong taste – it is often described as tasting like grass. It is not for everyone and can be an acquired taste. However, just like with other forms of hot tea, it can be sweetened with sugar or honey to help improve that strong “green” taste.
To drink matcha, it is typically made into a solution by mixing one or two teaspoons of matcha powder with a third cup of hot water (heated to just before a boil), which is then whisked until frothy.
It is important to remember that with matcha powder, quality is key. Quality can come at a price though. Pure matcha powder can be expensive. A low price tag can be a red flag for poor quality or is often an indication that what you are buying is actually a matcha “mix” that is filled with sugar and other fillers with very little actual matcha powder. Always check the ingredients label when buying matcha powder to make sure you are getting the best quality product.
The Many Health Benefits of Matcha Powder
Because matcha powder is made from actual tea leaves, when you drink tea made with matcha you are ingesting the whole tea leaf and receiving a potent dose of the nutrients found in green tea leaves. The level of antioxidants found in matcha powder is unparalleled. Using a testing method known as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, experts at Tufts University discovered that matcha possesses twenty times more antioxidant properties than pomegranates or blueberries.
This is important because antioxidants are chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases. The more antioxidants in your diet, the better equipped your body is to fight against infection and disease. Matcha powder is especially rich in antioxidants known to protect against heart disease, regulate blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, and provide anti-aging benefits, among other things. It is even high in an antioxidant that helps prevent and ease arthritis pain.
Some studies have found that drinking matcha helps protect your liver health. In one study, matcha was found to prevent damage to the kidneys and liver. It is also believed that drinking green tea is associated with a decreased risk of liver disease.
Matcha powder may even be the key to boosting your brain power. Research has found that matcha can lead to improvements in attention, reaction time, and memory. There is even some reason to believe that drinking matcha may help improve brain function in the elderly.
Yes, Matcha Powder Contains Caffeine
Because you are consuming whole tea leaves when you drink tea made from matcha powder, you can also be consuming up to three times as much caffeine than what is normally in a cup of traditional, steeped tea. That is around the same amount of caffeine you would get from a cup of coffee. However, matcha creates more of an “alert calm” than the jittery feeling that can be attributed with drinking too much coffee. This is because matcha powder contains a natural substance called l-theanine, an amino acid that is attributed to relaxation without the feeling of drowsiness.
The fact that matcha powder contains caffeine is actually another benefit of drinking matcha since caffeine is linked to improvement in brain function.
If the taste of matcha is too much for you to drink a cup, matcha powder can be consumed in a variety of other ways. It can be added to muffins, brownies, soups, stir fry, rice, and a whole host of other recipes (even guacamole!). So add some matcha powder to your next batch of brownies or to your next Taco Tuesday and reap its amazing benefits!
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