One of my favorite effects of matcha is the sustained energy boost it provides. I'm not just making it up, there's some actual science behind this.
You see, matcha green tea is packed with extremely high levels of L-Theanine, an amino acid similar in structure to glutamine. Why is this important? According to my trusty Wikipedia (yes I'm sourcing Wikipedia):
"L-Theanine has been studied for its potential ability to reduce mental and physical stress, improve cognition, and boost mood and cognitive performance in a synergistic manner with caffeine"
When you combine the naturally occurring caffeine from matcha with L-Theanine, it creates a kind of drip feed of caffeine into your blood stream. L-Thanine is actually packaged and sold as a supplement, but why would you need it when you have matcha?
Unlike coffee which spikes your energy levels very quickly before crashing, this slow release of caffeine gives you increased energy, more focus and has no harsh crash like coffee or regular energy drinks. Matcha has a pleasant, satisfying feeling that lasts for 4-6 hours, with no after effects.
ps - dont take my word for it:
(You will look like this )
This was a new one for me, I only learned it after hearing from several customers that matcha had improved their skin so much, some even told me they started to use matcha tea on their face as skincare.
It shouldn't be too surprising, there's plenty of skin care products using green tea, plenty of home recipes for green tea face masks, and again, some real science behind all of this. Since matcha is just a super potent form of green tea, then matcha has all these benefits in spades.
According to a paper published by the Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama, the super high levels of epicatechins (EGCGs) found in matcha, reduced inflammation, protected skin against sun damage and carcinogenic effects (skin cancer). Wow, I'm learning more as I research this. I can see a range of Kenko Tea matcha skin care in the future.
One of matcha's claim to fame is it's massive antioxidant levels compared to any other superfood. Gram for gram, matcha has more antioxidants than just about every other food known to man. These are measured using the Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) test, which is a way to measure antioxidant levels in foods.
As this is just a gram for gram measurement, to keep things in perspective, matcha does have an advantage being a finely ground powder. But 1 gram of matcha powder is still equivalent to about 500 grams of raw spinach.
But what's more interesting, is matcha has particularly high levels of EGCG - which has been studied extensively for it's effect on prevention of tumor and cancer cell growth, how it improves brain function, and it's ability to increase fat oxidization (helps you lose fat). It's not surprising that EGCG is sold as a supplement on it's own to increase fat burning. But why would you need it when you have matcha?
Following on from EGCG's effect on fat oxidization, it's no surprise that matcha is commonly used as a weight loss aid. Slimming tea's are all the rage these days, and green tea is no exception. But do they really work?
Regular consumption off Matcha has shown to increase thermogenesis (the body's rate of burning calories). Pair that with matchas sustained energy boost from the caffeine and L-theanine and you have a powerful weight loss aid.
Just some words of warning. Depending on matcha to be a magical weight loss aid is a bit short sighted. Alongside a healthy diet and exercise, regular consumption of matcha green tea could be a great addition to your weight loss efforts. But keep in mind it's not a quick fix if the rest of your lifestyle isn't inline with your fat loss goals.
This is probably down to personal tastes and to be honest the first time I tried matcha I didn't love it. But then I realised I was just getting shitty matcha (this is why I started Kenko). Matcha's flavour did take some time to grow on me, in fact I still prefer it as an addition to smoothies than drinking it on it's own. Matcha has a distinct grassy, earthy green tea taste.
Good matcha has a lot of the same characteristics of fine wine. It varies from region to region. A large part of it's taste comes from the soil and growing conditions (terroir). Everything from elevation levels, fertilizers used, soil type, to the way it is handled after picking can effect the end result. You can find everything from the cheapest, most bitter, dull green coloured junk. To the freshest, sweetest, most vibrant green matcha fit for a king. Matcha's flavour can be combined with so many things, which leads me onto..
Let's face it, it's hard enough to relax these days with so many distractions. My mind seems to run 24 hours a day - "what am I going to eat for dinner" "did I leave my keys at home", why is that person looking at me?". Then there's Iphone's, twitter, facebook. You need some time to relax, and meditation is amazing for that.
But did you know that Zen monks have been using matcha as a meditation aid for thousands of years. They used it to remain alert and focused for long meditation sessions.
It makes sense, matcha makes you feel calm, yet alert. A kind of pleasant, almost euphoric stimulant, without any of the racing thoughts that coffee can bring. Next time you try meditation - have a cup of matcha first and see how it goes.
There was a time when matcha was exclusively reserved for the Imperial court, Zen monks and the Samurai Class in Japan, So if you want to be as cool as this guy then my advice would me to drink more matcha tea.
There's plenty more reasons why matcha is the best green tea. What's your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below!