Matcha Green Tea – it’s at your local coffee shop, it’s sold at your favorite health food store, it’s blogged about. But what is matcha green tea and, really, why should I care?
Matcha – Over 1000 Years in the Making
Matcha is a powdered green tea originally used in tea ceremonies in China and Japan over 1000 years ago. Matcha was made from steamed green tea leaves which were pressed into bricks, roasted and then powdered. Matcha was made in limited quantities and thus a status symbol. In today’s society, everyone can buy and brew this special tea – no elite status required.
I could write about the benefits of matcha for pages… but I won’t. Following are the top 5 reasons you should start drinking it.
Top 5 Reasons You Should Drink Matcha
1. Matcha Is Loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are incredibly important to our health and well-being. Antioxidants fight free radicals which can damage our bodies. Many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but none as much as matcha. Just one bowl contains 5x as many antioxidants as any other food! Antioxidants are important to us because they are defense agents. They are chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases.
Matcha tea contains a unique, potent class of antioxidant known as catechins. These aren’t found in other foods. 1 The catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) in particular provides powerful cancer-fighting properties. Studies have shown that matcha tea contains over 100x more EGCg than any other tea you can buy… and much more than your standard cup of joe.
2. Matcha Is Calming
It’s no wonder Chinese Daoists and Japanese monks drank this stuff – matcha has a special knack for promoting a sense of calm. This probably comes in handy when you’re sitting for hours meditating.
This sense of calm comes from the amino acid L-Theanine, which promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain. This effect influences relaxation without the drowsiness caused by other sedatives or muscle relaxers. 2
3. Matcha Boosts Brain Function
Another benefit of the amino acid L-Theanine is that it produces dopamine and serotonin. Not only do these two chemicals enhance mood, they also improve memory and promote better concentration.
In addition to L-Theanine, the EGCg in matcha has been shown to protect the brain against Parkinson’s disease. 3
4. Matcha Boosts Immunity
EGCg to the rescue – again. EGCg helps your body produce T-Cells which reduce inflammation and fight pathogens. Matcha also has antibiotic properties, which are beneficial to your overall health. This is due to the high amount of polyphenols it contains that helps kill the bacteria. 4
Matcha tea also contains other critical nutrients including zinc, magnesium calcium, B-complex, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. All of these components are essential for a properly functioning immune system.
5. Matcha Increases Energy Levels and Endurance
Matcha has a unique, energy boosting quality to help kick start your day. Researchers initially thought the energy boost from matcha came from its caffeine but they found it was actually caused by a combination of matcha’s natural properties. In fact, one study found that consuming 4 cups of matcha daily improved physical endurance by 24%! 5
And, as a bonus, because of the calming effects of L-Theanine, you can feel energy without the “jitters” of other stimulants.
So Drink Matcha (but make sure it’s high-quality)!
Matcha is great – it’s loaded with all the health benefits noted above and then some. Its earthy taste will help calm and center you.
BUT, make sure you are drinking high-quality matcha. For example, an average cup of Starbuck’s Matcha Tea has 30 grams of added sugar! This would negate any positive antioxidant effects the matcha should provide.
My favorite matcha, and the one I drink, is by Pique Tea. I like and recommend Pique Tea because it’s:
- Quadruple Toxin Screened for heavy metals, pesticides, toxic mold AND radioactive isotopes
- Grown in the shade 35% longer for higher L-theanine content and umami flavor
- Provides calm energy to support a state of mindfulness
- No added anything – free of preservatives, sugar and artificial sweeteners
So go ahead and enjoy your cup of matcha tea. If you have any questions or comments please respond below!
 Singh BN, Shankar S, Srivastava RK. Green tea catechin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): mechanisms, perspectives and clinical applications. Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Dec 15;82(12):1807-21
2] Nobre AC1, Rao A, Owen GN. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-8
3] Li R, Huang YG, Fang D, Le WD. (−)-Epigallocatechin gallate inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced microglial activation and protects against inflammation-mediated dopaminergic neuronal injury. J Neurosci Res. 2004;78:723–731.
4. Gopal, J., Muthu, M., Paul, D. et al. Bactericidal activity of green tea extracts: the importance of catechin containing nano particles. Sci Rep 6, 19710 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep19710
5. American Physiology Society. (2005, January 31). Green Tea Extract Boosts Exercise Endurance 8-24%, Utilizing Fat As Energy Source. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 18, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050128221248.htm