In recent history, matcha has rapidly grown in popularity. And it’s not just because of its vibrantly green, gram-worthy aesthetic. Today, you can walk into any coffee shop and have your pick of matcha shots, lattes, iced lattes, teas, and even desserts. But don’t let this potent potion fool you. It’s been a beloved super tea for its health-boosting properties for more than 800 years.
Let’s talk about 8 of the most incredible, scientifically-backed benefits of drinking matcha. But first, here’s a little history.
What is Matcha?
Once upon a time, matcha was sipped by monks prior to meditation. It was also a popular beverage choice for samurai warriors before battle. They also drank it after battles. Consumed for its ability to create both alertness and stillness within, matcha was seen as a tea that promoted inner peace. Not to mention, it has endless health-boosting benefits.
Matcha comes from the same leaves as green tea, the Camellia sinensis plant. But unlike most green teas, it undergoes a different process, is jammed pack with its own unique nutrients, and it’s made from the entire leaf, stems and all.
Matcha leaves are grown in shade, boosting the chlorophyll and creating that bright green tint. The delicate leaves are handpicked, dried, and ground into a fine powder. Matcha is ground in the dark to protect all nutrients.
Due to the use of every part of the leaves and the unique grinding process, matcha boasts ten times the antioxidants than your average cup of green tea, making it one of the healthiest and strongest teas on earth. And it’s pretty tasty too.
What Does it Taste Like?
Different grades of matcha have varying flavor profiles. The two most sipped grades are ceremonial and culinary. Generally, matcha has a grassy flavor and a creamy texture. Some are sweetened, but even the purest forms have an umami sweetness as well. In turn, it’s often used in baked goods and soups. Still, matcha’s greatest claim to fame will always be tea.
Unlike most teas, matcha isn’t steeped. Instead, the soft, green powder is absorbed by hot water and then stirred with a bamboo whisk. Here’s an easy guide on how to prepare matcha at home, compliments of Matcha Source.
Now, let’s go over the biggest benefits of drinking matcha, all of which are backed by science.
It’s Seriously High in Antioxidants
First things first, matcha is rich in catechins. Catechins are plant compounds naturally abundant in tea that help prevent cell damage. These naturally occurring antioxidants stabilize free radicals. When you mix hot water with matcha powder, you’re whipping up all the nutrients from the entire leaf. In turn, you reap the benefits of way more catechins and antioxidants than if you simply steep green tea leaves.
As it turns out, the number of disease-preventing catechins in matcha is between 130-150 times greater than in other types of green tea. When you consume matcha daily, you lower your risk of cell damage and chronic disease caused by free radicals.
Matcha is also rich in polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants not only fight heart disease and cancer, but they also regulate blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, boost metabolism, and combat signs of aging. And because it’s high in fiber, matcha aids in healthy digestion.
It’s Good For Your Liver
Liver health is vital to our overall well-being. Our livers flush out toxins, metabolize drugs, and process much-needed nutrients. Various studies show that matcha may protect the liver and kidneys.
In one study, 80 people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease were divided into two groups and monitored for three months. One group was given a placebo. The other was given green tea extract. Those who were given the extract had reduced liver enzyme levels and therefore, lessened liver damage.
Because other factors are always at play in people’s health, nothing definitive can be determined just yet. But results seem to suggest that matcha is definitely good for the liver.
It’ll Give Your Brain a Boost
Several studies have shown that certain components in matcha can significantly improve brain functioning, mental energy, and mental clarity. When brain activity has been measured, those who consumed matcha show improvement in their reaction time, memory, and attention span time and time again.
Another study showed that older people who consumed 2 grams of matcha powder daily for a few months showed notable signs of improved brain function. Obviously, caffeine is known to improve brain function while you’re drinking it. But matcha may have brain-boosting benefits that last long-term.
With that said, matcha contains a way more concentrated amount of caffeine than regular green tea or coffee (35 mg per half teaspoon, to be exact). So while it’s good to drink daily, it’s advised that you don’t have more than two cups a day.
Matcha also is packed with a compound called L-theanine. Altering the effects of caffeine, L-theanine increases alertness while preventing a post-caffeine crash. It also increases alpha wave brain activity, which contributes to relaxation levels and decreases stress.
Read More: What to Do When You Need to Shut Off Your Brain
Matcha May Prevent Cancer
Thanks to matcha’s health-promoting compounds, research suggests that it may decrease the risk of developing certain cancers. And potentially, it may treat them. But more research must be done. One study found that the powerful green tea extract decreased tumor size and slowed the spreading of breast cancer cells. With that said, this study was done on rats and not humans. Still, hopes remain high that matcha may treat humans similarly.
For one thing, matcha is particularly high in epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This miraculous type of catechin contains proven and powerful anti-cancer properties. EGCG has been shown to have a positive effect on prostate, skin, lung, liver, and breast cancer.
Improved Heart Health
Various studies show that drinking green tea, including matcha, may keep your heart healthy. It also reduces cholesterol levels for the better and prevents oxidation. In turn, it’s believed that sipping matcha is a great way to combat heart disease and reduce the risk of a stroke. But it takes more than tea to take care of your ticker.
To truly achieve optimal heart health, a well-rounded diet and healthy choices are essential. Throwing matcha into the mix will likely up your chances of maintaining your heart health even more. But be sure you’re taking care of yourself all the way around.
If you read the ingredients in most weight loss supplements, you’ll notice that most of them contain some form of green tea. Green tea extract has been shown to speed up metabolism and increase energy. It’s an incredibly effective compound to assist in fat burning during exercise and while resting.
Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, drinking matcha on a daily basis may help you maintain a healthy weight and drop a few pounds in the process. It’s even been known to help women shed their most stubborn belly fat.
Per Got Matcha, “matcha naturally increases your body’s endurance, metabolism, and heat production during cardio and resistance training which tells the body to burn more calories, specifically fat calories, resulting in fat loss. Those using matcha regularly can burn up to four times more calories per workout session.”
Stabilized Blood Pressure
One cup of matcha may not be enough to impact your overall blood pressure, but studies suggest that long-term use definitely could improve it. And it can lower your blood pressure for the better. As noted, matcha is loaded with polyphenols. This is the key reason why the wonder tea is useful for those attempting to lower their blood pressure.
But you have to stick to it. Whether you have high, low, or perfect blood pressure, to get the most out of this magical elixir, it’s best to drink it daily.
Boosted Immune System
Want to give your immune system a massive boost? Start drinking matcha. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and detoxifying properties galore. Green tea, especially matcha, increases our T-cells. T-cells are linked to the body’s immunity and reduce the risk of developing certain diseases and illnesses.
Here are 5 ways matcha boost the immune system that will likely surprise you, per T Ching.
You’ll Have a Gorgeous Glow
If you’re looking to give your skin a healthy, radiant glow, a cup of matcha is the way to go. There are also plenty of DIY matcha face masks that’ll do the trick. Personally, I prefer brewing it or mixing it in with a smoothie. Matcha is full of methylxanthines, which stimulate microcirculation in the skin. The benefits of matcha won’t just have your complexion looking great, it can improve your skin’s health.
It goes without saying, free radicals are not our skin’s friend. Because matcha is high in cancer-fighting and health-boosting properties, it’s been proven to slow down visible signs of aging, decrease skin stress, and purge impurities from the pores. It also has skin-soothing, anti-inflammatory effects.
Also, matcha has been known to heal a variety of skin concerns and it’s good for all skin types. For those dealing with oily, combination, or troubled skin, its tannins help regulate sebum production. Matcha may also treat acne.
No matter the state of your skin, the glow you’ll get from matcha will come from the mega boost of health you’ll be sipping on. As someone who drinks it on a daily basis, I can confirm: the matcha hype is real. So get ready to glow from the inside out.
Read More: 5 Stress-Busting Teas You Need in Your Life