What is it?
Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan. Just like regular green tea, it comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, however, it is grown differently. These plants are covered and their exposure to direct sunlight is gradually reduced a few weeks before harvest in order to boost the amount of chlorophyll and amino acids in the leaves. This process is what leads to a very high concentration of antioxidants! One cup of matcha is the equivalent of 10 cups of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content! The leaves are then harvested and stone-ground. Matcha drinkers ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water, so they receive 100% of the nutrients.
What are the Health Benefits?
- LOADED WITH ANTIOXIDANTS - Matcha powdered green tea has 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea. Amongst these is the powerful EGCg (60% of its catechins). Antioxidants are great for skin, heart health and anti-aging! In testing, matcha’s ORAC rating (test used to assess antioxidant potency of foods and beverages) was shown to be 1384 units per gram, compared to pomegranates 29 units/g, blueberies 24 units/g or kale’s 18 units/g!
- WEIGHT LOSS – Matcha boosts metabolism by up to 4x and burns fat!
- PROMOTES MENTAL CALMNESS – Matcha is rich in L-Theanine (5-6x more than common black & green teas), which calms the mind and relaxes the body while increasing concentration, focus & improving learning and memory. It also enhances mood by promoting serotonin and dopamine production.
- ENERGY BOOST – Although it does contain caffeine, matcha is a jitter-free alternative to coffee. It provides sustained energy without crashing or nervous energy and is said to improve physical endurance by up to 24% for up to 6 hours!
- DETOXES & ALKALIZES – Matcha is much richer in chlorophyll than other green teas due to the way it is grown. It effectively and naturally detoxifies the body of chemicals and heavy metals while balancing pH levels/alkalizing.
- PACKED WITH NUTRIENTS – Matcha provides vitamin C, selenium, iron, calcium, chromium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and more!
- DEFENSE MECHANISM – Matcha helps boost the immune system and manage inflammation to prevent sickness and disease.
- CONTAINS FIBER – The easily absorbable fibre in matcha helps to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.
How to Use?
Matcha is versatile and flexible. It works in hot, cold, sweet or savory drinks and dishes. Originally consumed as a tea whisked into hot water, matcha is now a popular ingredient in mixed beverages such as morning smoothies, green tea lattes, frappes, as well as yogurt, ice cream and cocktails. People have also incorporated it into both baked (bars, cookies) and non-baked recipes (i.e. fudge, raw bites).
- A.Matcha Fudge – 1 cup coconut butter, 1/3 cup coconut cream (from full-fat canned coconut milk), 3 tbsps. coconut oil, 2 tbsps. matcha powder, 2 tsps. vanilla extract and ½ cup pure maple syrup. Melt coconut ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in remaining ingredients and pour into a parchment lined pan. Chill for a few hours, slice and enjoy!
- B.Matcha Energy Balls – Combine 8 dates (soaked and pitted), ½ cup raw almonds, ¼ cup raw honey, ¼ cup coconut butter, 2 tbsps. cacao powder, 2 tbsps. matcha powder, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt in a food processor, form into balls, roll in toppings of choice (nuts/seeds, shredded coconut) and chill until firm.
- C.Matcha Smoothie – Blend together 1 tbsp. matcha, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1 tbsp. coconut oil. 1 tbsp. shredded coconut, ½ frozen banana, 1 cup coconut milk and ½ cup ice until smooth!
- D.Matcha Latte – Bring ¾ cup almond milk to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk together 1 tsp. matcha powder with ¼ cup of boiling water, then add to milk and stir. Sweeten with pure maple syrup and cinnamon!
- E.Matcha Chia Pudding – Soak ¼ cup chia seeds with 1 ½ cups almond/coconut milk. In a separate bowl, add 2 tsps. matcha powder with some hot water and whisk until smooth. Combine matcha and chia seed mixtures. Stir in ½-1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup, a splash of vanilla and top with fruit, granola, nuts/seed, coconut, etc.
- F.Matcha Butter – Mash 1 stick of grass-fed butter (room temperature) with 2 tbsps. matcha powder and raw, local honey (to taste).
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.