what is matcha green tea?
70 x The Antioxidants of Orange juice
Raises energy for 4-6 hours
Winner! Best slimming and fitness product 2011
Matcha is 100% natural, organic green tea leaves which have been carefully ground down to form a fine powder.
It has been drunk in Japan as part of the tea ceremony for almost 900 years, and is used by Buddhist monks to keep them alert, awake and focused during long days of meditation.
Until recently, virtually all matcha has been consumed within Japan, where it's particularly popular among students who are cramming for exams. But it’s now gaining popularity in the UK, too, and it can be found in cafes, health food shops and smoothie bars.
We like to think of matcha as a sort of superhero amongst teas, as it’s super-concentrated and packed full of the goodness we need to help keep us looking and feeling happy and healthy.
The tea leaves are grown under cover for the last two weeks of cultivation to produce lots of chlorophyll (the bright green good stuff).
They are then dried and slowly ground between two granite rocks to a very fine powder. This is then packed immediately in a vacuum sealed tin, to lock in all the nutrients.
matcha health benefits
Matcha is essentially a very concentrated form of green tea. The way it's grown and consumed means that it's packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Matcha tea bushes are grown under shade which dramatically increases the chlorophyll content of the leaf - this is the bright green stuff (pictured right) which is really good for us, and which is particularly rich in antioxidants.
When you drink regular green tea, you throw away the leaves afterwards which a bit like boiling spinach, throwing away the spinach and just drinking the water – you’ll get some of the nutrients, but you’re throwing away the best bit. Matcha is drunk as a fine powder diffused in liquid so you actually ingest the whole leaf, consuming every last bit of goodness.
Our little superhero contains 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea – wow! Antioxidant capacity can be measured by the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbancy Capacity) and this shows us the ability of certain foods to protect us from nasty free radicals, which cause ageing and general damage to our cells. Matcha scores very highly on the ORAC table, towering above many of our well-known super-foods such as spinach, blueberries and goji berries!
energising and calming
Matcha contains two special amino acids called theophylline and L-theanine. Like all green tea, matcha naturally contains caffeine but, unlike coffee, it works together with these two important amino acids to give you a sustained energy boost which can last 6 hours. By stimulating the production of alpha brain waves, L-theanine helps to create a state of mental alertness but keeping you relaxed at the same time- no wonder Buddhist monks have been drinking matcha for centuries. Plus a Japanese study in 1999 also found that L-theanine can help:
- improve learning performance,
- promote concentration and
- support the immune system.
As we all know there are two ways to lose weight, eat less or increase your energy expenditure (i.e. do more exercise and burn more calories), we find the first option a little hard but luckily we're armed with matcha to help with the second one. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1999) found that green tea can increase thermogenesis by 35-43% and thermogenesis is one way of raising your daily energy expenditure. So … drinking green tea can increase thermogenesis, which in turn can increase your daily energy expenditure (i.e. burning more calories) - without even getting off the sofa! Amazing! Also, a study in 2008 found that green tea ingestion 'can increase fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise' So, if you are planning a little workout, why not try taking a shot of matcha half an hour before or adding matcha to your pre-workout shake.
Green tea naturally contains polyphenols, this may not mean much to you and us, but the clever people at the University of Alabama have found that consumption of green tea polyphenols can inhibit UV radiation-induced skin damage. It is well known that UV rays from the sun can damage and age skin and even cause skin cancer. Their study found that green tea polyphenols can be used as an effective agent for the prevention of sun induced skin disorders, helping to keep your skin looking young and beautiful. Sounds good to us!
nutritional value of teapigs organic matcha versus regular green tea
|nutrient||regular cup of green tea||½ tsp of organic matcha||essential for…|
|protein (mg)||3.35||289||energy (they are the building blocks of the body)|
|fibre (g)||< 0.01||0.31||maintaining a healthy digestive system|
|calcium (mg)||0.05||3.25||strong bones and teeth, and everyday cellular processes|
|iron (mg)||< 0.01||0.17||maintaining healthy blood|
|potassium (mg)||0.45||21.6||muscle contraction and numerous metabolic reactions|
|vitamin c (mg)||0.1||1.6||healthy skin and nails|
how to drink matcha
Getting your daily matcha health fix is easy. Traditionally matcha is drunk whisked in to hot water as a smooth green tea; that’s how you would drink it if you went to a Japanese tea ceremony.
The great thing about matcha is that, because it is a powder, you can add it to pretty much anything you fancy. As long as you get your 1/2 teaspoon, you will get all its fantastic health benefits.
the teapigs way…
We like to make a matcha shot every morning for a daily health fix.
top tip! Don’t fill the liquid right to the top of your glass, or it’ll spill when you whisk it!
Simply take ½ teaspoon of matcha
Add it to your chosen drink (fruit juice, hot/cold water or milk), smoothie or yoghurt
Give it a whisk (a hand held electric milk frother works best) and knock it back in one!
3. Dulloo, A.G.., Duret, C., et al. Efficacy of green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 70: 1040-5, 1999