What is Matcha Green Tea?
Have you tried matcha green tea? You may not have heard of it yet, but you might soon be swapping your morning coffee for this healthy green brew. It's not just any old herbal tea - matcha packs a powerful punch with high levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and health-boosting antioxidants. Here's the low-down on this mighty drink:
What is matcha green tea?
Matcha is powdered green tea, grown and produced in Japan. While ordinary green tea is made by infusing the leaves, matcha green tea is made by stone-grinding whole green leaves into a powder. This powder is then combined with hot water to make a frothy green brew that's full of readily available goodness. So it's still the green tea were familiar with, but a lot stronger. It’s been found that one cup of matcha green tea has as many nutrients as ten cups of standard green tea - I know what I'll be buying from now on!
Does matcha contain caffeine?
One cup of matcha green tea will usually contain around 36mg of caffeine, so about half that of a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee. But because matcha also contains an amino acid called L-Theamine, the caffeine is released slower - giving a longer-lasting "hit". Taking two or three teaspoons in the morning (either as a mug of hot matcha or in a smoothie) should give you a gentle energy boost. Of course, if you're sensitive to caffeine, you may want to give it a miss...
What are the health benefits?
Whilst I don’t want to bog you down with the endless list of health benefits (there are lots!), there are some need-to-know matcha facts I just had to share:
- Matcha's ability to help balance blood sugar levels can aid with weight loss by reducing sugary cravings. It helps to provide a slow and steady energy release, rather than the sudden rush experienced by drinking coffee or eating chocolate
- Matcha is known to have lots of skin-protecting properties, and has long been used to help conditions like eczema, acne and even ageing (hurray!). Whilst drinking matcha is a great way to get an antioxidant boost, you can also apply the powder directly to the skin as a face mask
- It’s been used for years as a natural anti-inflammatory and can help fight fluid retention
Since swapping my daily coffee for a mug of matcha green tea, I feel a lot better in the mornings and aren't looking for my next caffeine fix by 10am! I'm not a big baker but I've heard lots of people have found innovative ways to use matcha in cakes and biscuits too. Let me know if you have any suggestions for ways to use matcha, I'd love to hear them!
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