There could not possibly be a better superfood to focus on in the month of March than matcha. The vibrant green color screams St. Patrick’s Day and the name itself sounds eerily like March – so in my eyes, they were made for each other.
When I was a teenager I worked at a huge health food supermarket and I stumbled upon the magic powder that is Matcha. Obviously, the health benefits of green tea have been widely known for years, so what makes Matcha so magical? I’m glad you asked because I could go for days!
For starters, matcha has an unbelievable amount of antioxidants. When you brew a cup of normal green tea the water can only extract a portion of the antioxidants housed in the tea leaves, so tons of antioxidants are thrown in the trash with the tea bag. Matcha powder, on the other hand, is produced by grounding the entire tea leaf, so a serving of matcha tea houses the same antioxidant power as 10 cups of brewed green tea! In fact, the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) for matcha is 1573 units per gram which outshines many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other Superfoods. As you may remember, antioxidants are a great defense for the body against illnesses and can even help prevent aging and chronic diseases like cancer. One type of antioxidant that matcha contains, known as catechin EGCg, is known specifically for its anticancer properties. Catechin EGCg fights body damaging free radicals formed from UV rays, radiation, pollution, and other chemicals.
Matcha also contains L-theanine, a special amino acid that has the capability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Because of this property, L-theanine has the potential ability to decrease mental and physical stress and boost mood and cognitive performance. Matcha is believed to contain almost 5 times the amount of L-theanine found in other common teas.
To round out that awesome magic housed in matcha we present you with caffeine! I can’t even pretend that I could make it through a day without ingesting some form of caffeine – two children and the bags under my eyes are a dead giveaway. Luckily for me (and everyone I come in contact with), matcha contains about twice the amount of caffeine found in other teas, but because of the calming effects of L-theanine, matcha will not leave you feeling jittery like
a cup of several cups of coffee. In fact, for years Buddhist monks have used matcha green tea to stay awake and alert for long periods (we are talking days here) of meditation.
So matcha can help you stay awake, calm you down, make you smarter, help you lose weight, prevent you from getting sick, ward off cancer, detoxify your body, and lower cholesterol and blood sugar (which I didn’t even get to, I know!). But, does it taste good? YES! Matcha powder has the earthy taste that most green teas have but it has a surprising sweetness to it. So what are you waiting for, whip up this simple recipe and ENJOY!
Vanilla Matcha Green Tea Latte
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
1/2 cup water
1 cup vanilla soy milk
1 teaspoon honey/maple syrup/agave
- Bring water to a simmer and remove from heat. Whisk in matcha green tea powder and sweetener.
- Warm soy milk and add to tea mixture. Mmmmm. Yum.