What is Matcha?

Brielle Farmer

If you’re a millennial, you have probably heard of matcha green tea or matcha powder.  Matcha is portrayed in the media as an amazing health supplement, but what exactly is it and why is it so healthy?  If you have ever wondered about the mysterious health benefits of matcha, look no further.

Matcha is just a certain kind of green tea.  Matcha powder is made by drying out green tea leaves and then grinding them into a fine powder.  This powder is then mixed directly into hot water, instead of infusing tea leaves into hot water with tea bags.  Matcha leaves are covered with cloth before they are harvested to enrich the texture and flavor of the leaves.

Since matcha tea is made with the whole tea leaves, the health benefits are much more impactful than regular, steeped green tea.  Green tea contains important vitamins and minerals that combat cancer and heart disease, and these benefits are magnified when the whole leaf is digested.  Other health benefits include blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and a higher metabolism which can lead to weight loss.  

Another benefit to consuming the whole tea leaf is a higher caffeine intake.  Matcha powder contains three times the amount of caffeine as regular green tea.  This is equivalent to a cup of coffee, but without the jitters and crash.  Regular matcha tea drinkers describe the caffeine boost as an “alert calm” that helps them get through the day.

Although there are countless health benefits to drinking matcha tea, there is also a health concern.  Lead contamination is very common in tea leaves, which is generally not an issue when the leaves are steeped.  But since whole tea leaves are consumed in matcha tea, more lead goes straight into the body.  To avoid any lead poisoning, only one cup of matcha tea should be consumed a day.  Make sure that the quality of matcha is high, which comes with a higher price tag too, but that ensures the most health benefits for your money. 

If these health benefits excite you, but you’re not a fan of drinking tea, matcha powder can be incorporated into almost any dish, including baked goods, soups, dips, and smoothies.  There are thousands of recipes online featuring this new health craze.  Whether you enjoy matcha in a warm tea or in a brownie, you are sure to enjoy its health benefits!

Source: http://www.health.com/nutrition/what-is-matcha

Photography by Charisse Kenion (via unsplash.com)

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