It seems that most people believe there is no crisis that cannot be handled with a coffee. Indeed, judging from the human dependency on coffee, it would appear that most humans don’t believe themselves capable of addressing most of the daily challenges of life without some kind of caffeinated beverage on hand to lessen pain, speed thinking, and quicken reaction time. While the growing news about the health benefits of coffee seems to make it more and more attractive, coffee does have its downsides: namely the tendency to produce jitters, difficulty sleeping and the lows that result as a reaction to the caffeine-generated energy boost. What if you discovered that there has recently emerged a beverage that provides all the positive effects of coffee, with little of the negatives? Matcha tea, anyone?
What Is Matcha Tea?
Matcha tea is the age old newest thing to hit the market. It originated more than 1,000 years ago in Japan when Japanese monks discovered its ability to make them feel “calm, yet alert” during endless hours of meditation.
The reason that the tea is so strong is that the leaves are not steeped in bags, but dissolved in water, leaving all the antioxidant powers of the leaf intact. As a result, you get antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 17 times that of blueberries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, anti-carcinogenic and 60.5 times that of spinach.
Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants which knock out free radicals in the body. The most potent catechin in green tea is EGCG, which is anti-carcinogenic properties. A 2003 study done at the University of Colorado found that one cup of matcha has 137 times the EGCG or regular green tea.
Some of the oldest living people in the world live in Okinawa, Japan. The longevity of these people has been partially attributed to matcha green tea consumption. Although the tea is most popular in Japan, it is becoming widely recognized throughout the world for its ability to fight inflammation, aging, and oxidation.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
According to a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition green tea beverages can significantly lower serum total and LDL cholesterol concentration.
A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted in 1999 revealed that catechins found in green tea extract have thermogenic properties capable of promoting fat oxidation beyond that explained by tea’s caffeine content. The study showed that consuming green tea increases the body’s thermogenesis, or rate of calorie burn, by 8-10% to 35-43% of energy expenditure daily. Yet another study showed that exercise done immediately after consuming matcha green tea resulted in a fat burning increase of 25%.
Matcha tea can contain up to 5 times more L-theanine than most tea. L-theanine is an amino acid with psychoactive abilities which induce alpha wave activity in the brain. Stress is associated with the brain’s beta wave activity. Alpha wave activity combats this, relieving stress, promoting relaxation, and lowering blood pressure, counterbalancing the jittery effects of caffeine. Thus, matcha tea promotes clarity of the mind without the nervous energy related to coffee.
What do you think? Are you ready to trade in your daily java for some matcha? Let us know!