What is matcha? So hot right now.
Matcha has been around for hundreds of years, yet has come into the spotlight as of recently. You hear about it from your favorite health influencers, matcha shops are popping up in major cities, and trendy matcha lattes flood your Instagram feed.
It has spread beyond the wellness world at this point and is finding its way into more and more items, beyond the classic matcha latte.
Matcha cookies, face masks, and green tea ice cream - oh my!
Matcha is endowed with an incredible array of health benefits. It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "drink your greens."
What is Matcha?
If you're not familiar with matcha per se, you most definitely have heard about green tea.
Matcha, or matcha tea, is ground up green tea leaves.
In fact, the word matcha literally means ground tea. "Matsu" means to rub and "cha" is ‘tea’. Put the two together and voilà: matcha!
The History of Matcha
Matcha has a long, rich history. So, here is the short version.
The history of matcha begins with green tea, which originated in China. The matcha as we know it today, however, originates from Japan.
The Japanese Zen Monks discovered the powdered form of green tea and embraced its consumption into their spiritual practice and ceremonies.1
The Zen Monks found that drinking matcha tea stimulated mental alertness and simultaneously calmed the mind.
The monks typically drank matcha tea to enable them to sit for hours in a meditative state (and still do to this day).
Top Health Benefits of Matcha
Matcha is so packed with health-promoting nutrients its matcha-bilities are endless!
We guarantee that by the time you’ve finished reading this list, you’ll be incorporating matcha into just about anything.
1. Enhances Concentration and Focus
Matcha is packed full of amino acids. The amino acid L-Theanine stimulates alpha wave activity in the brain.2
Alpha waves create a highly sought after duality of benefits – promoting reduced anxiety and relaxation, while simultaneously promoting alertness, focus, and concentration.3
2. Boost Metabolism
Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is a catechin found in matcha that has been shown to boost the metabolism and halt the growth of fat cells.
In a study of EGCG in the Journal of Endocrinology, it was found that daily injections of EGCG into lab rats caused a 21% loss in body weight within one week.4
Similarly, a 2005 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants who drank green tea extract daily over the course of 12 weeks dropped almost twice as much weight as participants who didn't.5
This makes matcha an ideal alternative to coffee which can impact blood sugar levels leading to weight gain.
3. Supports the Immune System
A recent study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that drinking matcha every day enhanced the overall response of the immune system.6
Matcha’s ability to ward off bacteria and viruses is largely due to its high levels of polyphenols, catechins (in particular EGCG, which reduces inflammation and fights pathogens), flavonoids, and antioxidants.
4. Potential Cancer-Fighting Properties
Green tea has also widely studied for its cancer-fighting properties. Green tea polyphenols were shown to boost plasma antioxidant activity.7
EGCG makes up 60% of the catechins in matcha green tea, 100 times more EGCG than any other tea on the market!
5. Skin Protection
Catechins have also been credited for fighting skin aging, reducing inflammation caused by UV radiation, and suppressing acne.8,