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Matcha: What is it and why’s Everyone Talking about It?

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 3/9/17 9:00 AM

Perhaps you've heard of matcha, the uber-popular green tea beverage with a reputation for providing a laundry list of fantastic health benefits. So what exactly is it, and why is everyone talking about it? Below are some key facts regarding this burgeoning drink obsession.

1. Matcha is a special form of powdered green tea.

The word "matcha" is derived from a Japanese word that means "powdered tea". Its roots go back to the renowned Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies of the 12th century, where this finely milled powder made from green tea leaves was traditionally mixed into hot water and whisked with a brush to create a froth on top. Matcha is considered to be far more nutrient-dense than regular green tea, because with matcha, you're actually drinking the pulverized green tea leaves themselves, versus just drinking water that has been infused with components from the leaves. 

2. Matcha is regarded as a higher quality form of green tea.

The growing and cultivation process for matcha tea leaves is very meticulous and deliberate, and it is designed to ensure that the leaves retain the highest amount of nutrients possible. About 20 days before the matcha tea plants are scheduled to be harvested, they are covered with shade cloths in order to protect the plants from direct sunlight. This boosts the production of chlorophyll in the leaves, which gives matcha leaves their deep but vibrant green color. During this time, the leaves begin to increase the production of an amino acid known as L-Theanine, which is known for its ability to boost concentration, reduce stress and promote relaxation. Once the matcha leaves are harvested, they are laid out to dry, de-stemmed, de-veined, and then stone-ground into a fine powder to create the finished product. This painstaking cultivation and harvesting process is what sets matcha apart as a higher quality form of green tea. 

3. Matcha offers several key health benefits.

This beautiful green powder is jam-packed with all kinds of nutrients and antioxidants, and this mainly due to the high concentration of natural plant compounds found in the matcha leaves. Here are some of the key health benefits of drinking this age-old natural elixir:

  • Matcha is loaded with antioxidants, which are important organic substances that defend our cells from damage. Not only can antioxidants protect your body from all kinds of illnesses and maladies, but they can protect your skin from UV radiation, so that you can stay looking younger longer. These antioxidants come in the form of powerful plant-based compounds known as polyphenols, which have been linked to blood pressure reduction, improved blood sugar regulation and anti-aging properties, as well as protection against heart disease and cancer.
  • Matcha has been used for centuries in Far Eastern religions as an aid to meditation, and this is due in large part to its high L-Theanine content. In addition to the calming benefits mentioned earlier, L-Theanine also stimulates alpha brain wave patterns, which can act as a mood-booster while providing a sense of relaxed focus. 
  • Matcha also acts as a detoxifier due to the heavy amount of nutrients found in the chlorophyll-rich matcha leaves.

With such powerful health benefits as these, it's no mystery why matcha has surged in popularity in recent years. Now that you know more about matcha, why not give it a try? Who knows ... this potent green tea concoction might turn into your new favorite drink!

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Topics: Healthy Living

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