Matcha—The One Superfood You’ll Want to Consume Daily for Longevity and Vitality of Life
If there’s one food we should consume almost on a daily basis it’s matcha–a powdered form of green tea made from the entire leaf and the most potent and healthiest tea in the world. Although it’s not a magic bullet, matcha stands out above all the other superfoods for many reasons. Its benefits far exceed those of regular green tea in drink form and a healthy lifestyle and the pursuit of quality longevity might not be complete without it even if you are already big on consuming a variety of superfoods.
What sets matcha apart from all other superfoods is its catechin content. Catechins in matcha green tea are unoxidized compounds and very powerful antioxidants. Not all antioxidants are catechins. Matcha contains four powerful catchins: EC (epicatechin), ECG (epicatechin), ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate), and EGC (epigallocatechin).
Matcha contains 30% catechins while black tea contains only 4%.
Packed with these free radical fighting antioxidants, 60% of the content of matcha is EGCG. It is 100 times more potent than vitamin C and 25 times more potent than vitamin E. EGCG is a known potent cancer fighter. It helps counter the effects of pollution, radiation, ultraviolet rays and chemicals.
To further demonstrate the potency of matcha, there are only a handful of foods that contain catechins. Matcha has six times the amount found in goji berries, sixty times the amount found in spinach and seventeen times the amount found in blueberries.
Taking antioxidants, in general, into account, there is no other antioxidant rich food that compares to the antioxidant content of matcha green tea.
Matcha helps keep the immune system prepared to fend off attacks from bacteria and other pathogens. EGCG in matcha inhibits growth of influenza A virus, hepatitis B and C virus, herpes virus, candida albicans yeast and more. Research is ongoing and suggests that the catechins in matcha may have the ability to inhibit attacks of HIV on human T-cells.
Matcha boosts metabolism and burns calories. It increases thermogenesis–the body’s rate of burning calories. It’s a fantastic recovery aid for athletes and heavy workouts.
Matcha creates a sense of calm because L-theanine, an amino acid with psychoactive properties in matcha, induces relaxation without drowsiness or nervous energy.
Matcha green tea is known for lowering bad LDL cholesterol. It has also been proven to ameliorate insulin sensitivity in Type 2 diabetes. The polysaccharides in matcha help regulate blood sugar in the same way that insulin does.
Because of its high chlorophyll content, matcha is superior for detoxing the body of heavy metals, poisons, chemicals and hormone disrupters.
The tea is also rich in vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, and K and minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous.
Because matcha is both a stimulant (containing caffeine) and a relaxant, you’ll want to set your matcha intake limit to 200 mg per day. This amount will be sufficient to provide many health benefits over time.
Even though matcha contains approximately 60 mg of caffeine per teaspoon, the caffeine from matcha is absorbed by the body much slower than caffeine from other sources because L-theanine in matcha counteracts the stimulation derived from caffeine. (If you buy the thicker from of matcha called Koicha, keep in mind that there will be double the amount of caffeine present so adjust your intake accordingly.)
There are several grades of matcha and there is ceremonial quality matcha and culinary quality matcha powder.
The best matcha for drinking is ceremonial grade matcha from Japan. Because Japan only exports a very small amount of its production, be prepared to pay more for it but its authenticity and potency will be worth the health benefits. Use ceremonial grade matcha in your smoothies and other beverages and in no-bake desserts. When making a cup of tea, be sure to use the bamboo whisk method which is easily and very affordably obtained on the internet or a specialty store. (See type of whisk in picture above.)
There is an intermediate grade of matcha called ‘premium’ and it is still quite good for drinking, but it is widely used in cooking.
Finally, the lowest ‘ingredient’ grade matcha is best for cooking to provide color, aroma and flavor enough to withstand various cooking processes.
In The Healthy Matcha Cookbook, food blogger and registered dietitian Miryam Quinn-Doblas explores the various ways matcha powder can be incorporated into everyday recipes to give your immune system the boost it needs to keep you healthy. The author incorporates matcha into most of her own meals in one way or another.
In addition to drinking the tea, why not transform all your meals into satisfying, super healthy and wholesome by consistently enjoying one of the world’s most popular superfoods?
Doblas, Miryam Quinn. The Healthy Matcha Cookbook: Green Tea-Inspired Meals, Snacks, Drinks, and Desserts. Skyhorse Publishing, 2015.