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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tips for healthy living: Matcha

What exactly is matcha? Matcha is a green tea ground up into a fine powder that you actually mix straight into your water and drink.  Unlike regular green tea, you're actually ingesting the whole leaf, and you know what, it does your body a world of good.  Everyone knows green tea is good for you, but did you know 1 cup of matcha is the equivalent of 10 cups of any other green tea?

This tea is amazing.  It's nutrition content trumps some of the trendy favorites.  It contains 60 times the antioxidants of spinach, 17 times the antioxidants of blueberries, 7 times the antioxidants of dark chocolate, and 6.2 times the antioxidants of of goji berries.  Plus, a serving of matcha only has 10 calories!

It's no surprise that there's an entire ceremony surrounding this delicious green tea. Not only is it healthy, but it's also a great source of energy. I'm not talking about that jittery energy you get from a few cups of coffee; I'm talking about a calm energy that helps you focus and actually accomplish things! Matcha contains an amino acid called L-theanine.  This amino acid is known to relax the mind.  That combined with the caffeine in this green tea creates a calm, alert energy.

Not behind matcha yet? Well you will be.  This tea has so many health benefits that will blow your mind. What are these benefits?  Well here are just a few.

  • Weight loss
    • In 1999 a study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that green tea extract rich in catechins has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation.  Consuming green tea increased thermogenesis (the body's rate of burning calories) from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure. Another study demonstrated that exercising immediately after drinking matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise.
  • Anti-aging
    • One cities where people live the longest is Okinawa, Japan. The Okinawan people's longevity has been partly attributed to regular consumption of Matcha Green Tea. Matcha is the most popular green tea in Japan, but is rapidly gaining more popularity worldwide because of its ability to combat inflammation, oxidation and aging
  • Heart disease prevention
    • A 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that green tea significantly lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations.
  • Cancer prevention
    • Green tea contains potent antioxidants called catechins, which scavenge for dangerous free radicals in the body. The most powerful catechin found in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen. A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea.
  • Detoxifying
    • Matcha is grown in the shade, which is why it is richer in chlorophyll than other green teas. Chlorophyll is the pigment responsible for giving leaves their green color. Chlorophyll detoxifies the body. It clears the body of toxins, heavy metals, poisons, dioxins and hormone disrupters.
Wanna know another little secret? You can put matcha in pretty much anything you want! From yogurt to cupcakes to smoothies... Get creative! Here are a few of my own recipes I use matcha in!