Matcha Tea: Just Another Hipster Fad?
Mmmmm…. Matcha Tea….
Many hip new places are carrying this concentrated form of green tea these days. You can get hot or cold Match, Matcha blended into a smoothie, or even Matcha in easy take-along packets. So, what’s the deal? Is this just another hipster fad? And is it really all that good for you?
Matcha Tea has actually been around for centuries and was a revered part of Japanese culture and ceremonial tea rituals. This tea comes in a powder and with a bit of a hefty price tag for a seemingly small amount. The powder is actually the entire green tea leaf that has been dried and ground so that it will dissolve into the water. In this way, you consume the whole leaf rather than throwing it away with a tea bag. Green tea, in general, has many health benefits and the Match Tea concentrates all that goodness… mostly.
Green Tea contains powerful antioxidants which work in the body to fight cancer-causing free radicals, reduce inflammation, and improve the body’s ability to burn fat. Yep, it literally gives the body a little metabolic boost! Woo Hoo! A serving of Matcha Tea contains 17 times the powerful antioxidant levels found in a serving of blueberries and 6.2 times the amount in the revered Goji Berry! The most powerful of the antioxidants found in green tea is EGCG (it has a long name but we both know you’re not gonna use it conversation, so the abbreviation will do, right?) which interferes with cancerous action and growth in the cells.
If that’s not enough good stuff for you, you might also note that Matcha Tea contains L-Theanine, an amino acid with psychoactive properties. Basically, when you stress, which we all do wayyyy too much, the brain produces Beta Wave activity and Beta Waves are linked to an agitated state. L-Theanine induces Alpha wave activity to counteract the agitation in the brain. In short, it forces the brain to calm down and take a deep breath!
You know there’s a catch right? It's too good to be true, of course. Here in the good ole U.S. of A., we never like to think the traditional form of anything is just fine. Centuries of ceremonial tea is obviously outdated and monks wear funny clothes, anyways. Matcha has a strong flavor and so the best way to make it drinkable is to add lots of stuff to it. And with lots of stuff, comes lots of calories and sugar. Many popular Matcha drinks are blended with conventional milk (hormones and more!), or milk alternatives (guar gums, carrageenan, etc!), plus a shot of a sugar syrup (I’m not real sure what’s in that stuff) or alternative sweetener (don’t even get me started). So, what you end up with is probably 50-50 in the “Is it Healthy?” column teetering more towards the "Not-So-Good" column; And that’s not even touching on the fact that it’s often being consumed by stressed out patrons in a hurry for the barista to “Hurry it up! I’m Late!”
For the complete experience and benefits of Matcha Tea, try it made with raw milk, or an organic milk alternative with as few ingredients as possible. If you need a little sweetness, try a low glycemic coconut sugar or just the tiniest drizzle of honey to take the edge off. Sit. Savor the flavors and BREATHE! Half the goodness of Matcha is related to the fact that it was ceremonial to begin with— consumed slowly, quietly, and allowed to work into the body rather than fighting an outpouring of cortisol surging from the adrenals and insulin pumping from the pancreas.
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