Is Matcha Really Good For You?
Is Matcha Really Good For You?
Matcha has recently spiked in popularity… But why? What’s so amazing about the finely grounded green powder that you order from your favorite cafe? Could it be the emerald green color that attracts you? Maybe it’s the aesthetic of the photos you see on Instagram. Whatever your reason is for buying matcha tea, have you ever considered whether or not it’s actually good for you?
The Health Benefits of Matcha Tea
Luckily there are actually a variety of matcha health benefits. Much like green tea, matcha contains EGCG -- A type of catechin found predominantly in tea. Have you ever drank green tea for weight loss? The fat burning element of the green tea comes from the EGCG catechin. Although there are many green tea benefits, the health benefits of matcha are greater (since matcha contains more EGCG than regular green tea). EGCG has been shown to increase your metabolism and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It can also help fight off certain bacteria and illnesses, and more. Since matcha powder contains more of these catechins, the percentage of preventing these diseases/illnesses are greater than that of the regular tea.
The reason as to why matcha contains more benefits than your standard green tea is because when you drink matcha, you’re consuming the whole plant instead of letting some of the leaves seep in a bag. The plant is ground in a mill - - the juvenile plants being the best quality of matcha. The highest quality of matcha is called ceremonial matcha. In order to understand the health benefits, you must first understand the grades of matcha. Much like a food chain, matcha has certain categories (grades), in order to determine the quality of that specific matcha.
What's The Best Matcha?
Ceremonial grade matcha possesses the largest chunk in the grid, due to the production of juvenile tea plants. All tea plants should be properly shaded for approximately twenty weeks. You should be able to tell that the plant retains an emerald green color. Once harvested, it is then ground down to the finest powder possible, which should be easy if the plant is fresh and young. However, if the plants that are harvested and not properly shaded are old and course, then the mill won’t be able to finely grind the plant down. This will cause the matcha powder to be chunky and flaky, as opposed to the smooth texture that it should normally possess. That’s a major way that you can distinguish the difference between high and low-quality matchas.
Where Does Matcha Come From?
Although matcha provides all of these incredible health benefits, make sure you’re cautious as to where you get your matcha from. According to Elsevier Science, a study was conducted on tea plants in China. It was found that due to the increased pollution, the toxins were contaminating the soil in the ground, thus affecting the tea plants. When the plants got turned into matcha tea, and/or green tea in general, high concentrations of lead were discovered. Matcha can be found almost anywhere, but Japan is your most reliable source since many matcha traditions were held there. In Japan, matcha was a sacred, ceremonial drink that was used in preparation of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Only the highest quality of matcha was used to prepare matcha tea, as the Japanese wanted to get as many natural health benefits as possible.
Where to Find Matcha
If you get your matcha from a reputable store/website, then you’re likely to reap the natural health benefits that matcha provides. At the same time, just because matcha powder is healthy for you, doesn’t necessarily mean that all matcha-infused goods are. While the primary use for matcha is, indeed, for tea, many people put matcha powder in baked goods, lattes, etc. While brownies are a good treat to eat, simply adding matcha into the recipe won’t make the final product calorie-free or significantly healthier than eating a normal brownie. However, it does change up the taste of a normal brownie, and it will most definitely be an Instagram-worthy picture in the end.
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