The term ‘matcha’ is somewhat of a buzzword in the food and drink world at the moment, so even if you’ve never tried it or are unsure what it is, you’ve probably heard of it!
Matcha green tea is an Asian tea which has actually been around for much longer than current beverage trends would suggest, and we believe it’s something that will stick around for a while.
So, if you’d like to learn what matcha green tea powder actually is, and decide whether or not it’s something you’d like to consciously incorporate into your diet, read on. We’re pretty confident that once you understand the benefits of matcha green tea, you’ll be sipping on the stuff all day long!
What is Matcha Green Tea Powder?
The word ‘matcha’ is a linguistic hybrid: formed partly from a Japanese word and partly from a Chinese word. It combines the Japanese ‘Matsu’, which translates as ‘to rub’, with the Chinese ‘cha’, the word for tea – so roughly translates as ‘rubbed tea’.
This makes sense when you consider that matcha green tea isn’t prepared in the same way other teas are. It’s made from the leaves of the same plant as other teas, the Camellia Sinensis, but is grown in the shade, which encourages it to produce more caffeine and theanine than it would otherwise. Covering the plants also makes the leaves a darker green.
These leaves, once plucked, are rolled up and dried out, before being milled and ground. Matcha green tea powder is still ground in a traditional manner, which involves a lengthy process that doesn’t allow the millstones to get warm – otherwise, the aroma and flavour of the tea can change. It can take about an hour to grind just 30g of matcha green tea powder!
Rather than being used in tea bags like the more traditional tea powders most of us are used to, matcha green tea powder is brewed directly into hot water in its powdered form. It’s usually sieved first (a formal ritual in Asian tea ceremonies) and is then suspended and stirred into hot water to make the tea – and then drunk when blended properly. It is said that to be prepared correctly, there should be no matcha green tea powder on the sides of the cup, and no lumps left in the liquid.
Aside from making a green tea hot drink, matcha green tea powder is used in cooking, baking and even protein powders. Its uniquely high amino acid content gives numerous health benefits and even makes it ideal as a weight loss aid, alongside a well-balanced diet. Sound like it could be your cup of tea? One way or another, it should be!
5 Benefits of Matcha Green Tea Powder
We all know that drinking lots of (non-alcoholic and non-sugary!) beverages are good for you, and green and herbal teas are amongst the best of the bunch when it comes to hot drinks.
That said, the benefits of matcha green tea are unrivalled due to the different way it is cultivated, prepared and served. Matcha green tea powder has been used since the 7th century as a beverage and food additive because of its taste and antioxidant properties. The Tang dynasty, who then ran China, prepared matcha green tea powder into bricks for easy transportation, and the tea soon became popular in Japan too.
If it’s good enough for dynasties and Buddhist monks, we think it’s good enough for us – and here, we cover just some of the multitude of benefits of matcha green tea.
Matcha Green Tea is a Weight Loss Wonderland!
Here at Nutribuddy, we’re keen advocates of fully understanding what you’re consuming before you go ahead and do it. You’ve heard us say it time and time again – read the label and take the time to understand it! When you’re doing this, particularly with weight loss supplements and aids, you’ll likely see matcha green tea powder listed as an ingredient.
Matcha green tea as a weight-loss aid has proved successful time and time again, and as a finely ground powder that barely impacts on food or drink texture, can be easily added to other ingredients without too much disruption. It does, however, often colour food and drink a rather vibrant green. For many health and wellbeing companies though, that’s a positive, as green is said to represent growth, renewal and freshness in colour psychology. This could potentially make their product more attractive than another in a different colour!
One of the benefits of matcha green tea is its ability to help speed up weight loss and maintain it to a sustainable level for long-term change. This works in several ways, and the rich history of matcha green tea powder means that there’s been plenty of opportunity to study and examine the ingredient’s qualities.
Many protein powders and exercise supplements contain matcha green tea powder, and for good reason. Studies have shown that moderate consumption of the powder (not dry, don’t worry!) during exercise helps increase the rate of fat burn by up to an additional 17%. It makes for a great addition to your workout routine, particularly if you’re working on a tough new regime or are just starting out!
This is all due to a compound in the tea known as epigallocatechin (but we’ll call it ECGC, for ease!), which acts as a fat blocker and speeds up metabolism to prevent the formation of new fat cells. The exercise level under which it works best is low to moderate intensity, so there’s no reason to assume it won’t work for you if you’re new to working out.
Matcha green tea has also been shown to boost energy over a 24-hour period quite considerably. There’s no need to fuel up on caffeine and sugar when a natural tea extract can help do it for you! This makes matcha green powder the perfect accompaniment for those embarking on a new healthier routine to lose weight, as it means there’s a higher potential for additional exercise and activity. Matcha green tea powder contains about half the caffeine of coffee, as well as the amino acid theanine. When combined, this duo results in an alert but non-hyperactive mental state.
An all-encompassing study reviewing 11 clinical trials into matcha green tea powder and its link to weight loss found that the tea helped individuals not just lose excess weight, but also maintain a sustainable healthy body mass long-term.
There’s no doubt about it: matcha green tea for weight loss is a safe and healthy addition to your regime, with plenty of benefits to boot!
Hello, Glow! It’s Literally Loaded Antioxidants
Matcha green tea powder is rich in natural antioxidants called catechins. Catechins are naturally occurring in matcha and work by helping the body tackle ‘free radicals’, which, if left unchecked, can cause cell damage and even lead to chronic illness.
As matcha green tea is consumed as a powder, the individual consuming it is able to absorb the nutrients from the whole leaf. A chemical profile of matcha green tea powder has shown that it contains up to 137 times more catechins than regular green tea!
The regular consumption of antioxidants, such as the catechins within matcha green tea powder, has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, neurological disease and pulmonary disease, but it also promotes youthful and healthy skin. Winner!
The antioxidants within matcha green tea powder can help protect against skin damage and allow the skin to renew and rejuvenate.You’ll have glowing, dewy, healthy skin in no time at all once the level of antioxidants you consume increases – and who could complain about that?!
Matcha is a Mega Immunity-Fighter!
As mentioned before, the antioxidants within matcha green tea powder work against free radicals in the body, to protect cells from damage and blocking diseases from blossoming.
Catechins are fantastic for the immune system in this respect and have been clinically proven to safeguard against numerous infections and conditions. The medical trials and studies into the impact of antioxidants on consumers are numerous, but here we highlight some of the most important and relevant ones.
The consumption of matcha green tea powder has been shown to help prevent liver damage and decrease the risk of contracting liver disease – even in cases where the individual has a pre-existing medical condition. Over a prolonged period of consumption (in the case of this study, 12 weeks minimum), matcha green tea powder lowered the markers of harmful liver enzymes significantly. This applies to those with or without non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or damage.
Antioxidants are renowned for their cell-regenerating properties, and in the battle against cancer, prove very promising. In cases of breast cancer, the consumption of matcha green tea powder has been shown to reduce tumour growth – primarily down to the content of EGCG within it. The high EGCG profile of the tea powder has also been examined in its role to kill off prostate cancer cells, inhibit liver cancer spread and block lung cancer growth.
Tough Day? The Green Stuff Can Help You Focus
Matcha green tea powder doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee or ‘normal’ black tea does, but there’s still a naturally occurring amount in the plant. It also contains more theanine, an amino acid, than any other hot drink, and when combined with caffeine, the result is a winning concentration combination!
Theanine works with caffeine in a positive manner and alters the way it interacts with the body and brain. It avoids the ‘come-down’ you can experience after a high dose of caffeine and instead maintains an alertness level which gives improved brain function, without feeling manic or hyperactive. Furthermore, theanine promotes alpha wave activity in the brain, which reduces stress levels and induces relaxation – something we all need once in a while!
Healthy Heart? Matcha has You Covered!
As if all of the above wasn’t enough, matcha green tea powder can help your heart stay healthy, too. With heart disease now the leading cause of death in those aged over 35, it’s imperative that we all stay mindful of heart health – even if you don’t consider yourself at risk or have an existing condition.
Matcha green tea powder is a bit of a ‘one stop shop’ for heart health, as its benefits are numerous and varied. It decreases the level of ‘bad’ cholesterol and prevents the oxidation of cholesterol. On top of this, it blocks triglycerides, which can leave fatty deposits in your veins and arteries. The antioxidants (catechins) within matcha green tea powder have also been shown to reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke when consumed regularly over a sustained period.
With all these heart-loving benefits, it makes absolute sense to incorporate matcha green tea into your diet as a preventative and health-boosting measure.
Matcha Green Tea Powder: The Bottom Line
Matcha green tea powder is an all-round good egg when it comes to fighting the baddies in your body, and in some cases, can stop issues occurring before they begin.
A long-used and well-respected ingredient, it’s easily incorporated into a whole range of food and drink products, namely the Nutribuddy Breakfast Shake. This means that even if cups of tea aren’t your thing, you can choose to include it in your diet and regime without too much fuss or upheaval.
You can enjoy matcha guilt-free, knowing it’s packed with brilliant nourishment for your body and brain, is natural, cruelty-free and organic. Don’t discount this historical powder in search of newer or more modern ingredients: sometimes the oldies are the besties!
So, can you see why we named this article ‘miracle matcha’ now? We’re totally hooked! Before you go, make sure to check out our other guides and useful articles or have a cheeky peek at our range of healthy nutrition shakes and goodies.