A Brighter Shade of Green – the Marvels of Matcha
There is much ado about matcha these days. Google “matcha benefits” and you will see tonnes of results attesting to how this green beverage can give your body that healthy boost.
I have always been an avid coffee ingester, downing about 3 to 4 cups a day. I needed that caffeine in veins to crank up the engine first thing in the morning, power-up brain activity in mid-morning meetings, deal with post-lunch food coma and turbo-charge through afternoons staring at the computer. If coffee be the reason for living, drink on!
However, with great coffee addiction comes great withdrawal symptoms too. Headaches, nervousness, eye-lid spasms were just some of them. For women, it gets worse, as coffee can affect hormones, worsen osteoporosis, hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
So it was with a heavy heart that I made the decision to cut down on coffee.
Then I made a visit to Japan, ingested a matcha and was completely taken in by the smooth, aromatic and creamy beverage tinged with a hint of bitter sweetness. Getting past the frothy layer to the brilliant green below, each sip imbibed, brought on new levels of calmness and an increased overall sense of well-being.
Since then, I have tried all sorts of matcha as well as green teas in various other forms. Of these, the legendary Uji matcha is probably the best with the most umami flavour. Another major tea producing area in Japan is Kagoshima, in southern Kyushu. The region is also a leader in organic farming, producing some of the best organic matcha in the market. It is also something worth savouring for a more full-bodied and intense flavour owing to volcanic minerals in the region.
Preparing matcha properly, however, entails a little more effort than just steeping a green tea bag or some green tea leaves in a cup with hot water. There are inherently more steps and equipment involved. But if you consider the added health benefits of Matcha, it might be worth your while to incorporate Matcha-making as a daily ritual to keep calm and carry on in whatever you are doing. In short, if you think of green tea as a vegetable, then the difference is really between boiling it and just drinking the vegetable juice (eew) and ingesting the entire vegetable itself. The latter definitely contains a whole lot more nutrients. Studies have shown that a cup of Matcha is equal to about 10 cups of green tea.
In short, matcha, which is a concentrated form of green tea has so many healthy benefits that you should include it in your life. There are many articles attesting to this and to summarize, here are some top reasons for having a matcha a day:-
- Anti-aging and immunity boosting:- matcha has 137 times more catechins than normal green tea; catechins are natural plant-based antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals which cause diseases, cell damage, cancers and aging.
- Promotes concentration and clarity of mind:- matcha is rich in L-Theanine, a rare amino acid that improves brain function while inhibiting any possible side-effects from caffeine.
- Powerful detoxifier:- matcha is made from green tea leaves that are carefully shaded in the last 20 days before harvest. This results in the additional production of chlorophyll which is a powerful detoxifier and is what gives matcha its deep green colour.
- Lowers blood pressure and blood sugar:- matcha represses angiotensin which is a cause of high blood pressure. It also inhibits the breakdown of starch into simple sugars in the blood stream.
- Help with inflammation:- again the antioxidants in matcha might ease conditions of arthritis and slow the breakdown of cartilage.
- Weight-loss:- matcha supports weight-loss by boosting metabolism and burning fat.
Check out some good quality Matcha direct from Japan here.
Simple steps on how to make your Matcha here:-
More details about matcha benefits can be found in these articles:-