The rave of matcha started over 2 years ago and still is going strong. But is it just a fad? Or are there legit health benefits? Should it be added to our daily food consumption?
Let’s start with- what is matcha? Mactha is powdered green tea. The leaves of green tea are finely ground into a powder. Usually ½-1 teaspoon of matcha powder is mixed with 1/3 to ½ cup of hot water and then whisked with a bamboo brush until a froth has formed. Matcha is more caffeinated then green tea because you are actually drinking the leaves. Matcha is said to have a ‘calm caffeine buzz’ compared to the coffee caffeine buzz because its relaxing alertness rather than a spike of energy. This “calmness” can be attribute to the natural substance L-theanine, which induces relaxation without sedation. Hence, you feel relaxed, but not sleepy.
Health Benefits? Just like green tea, matcha is loaded with antioxidants and possibly even antimicrobial properties. Antioxidants are beneficial to the body as they help prevent the damaging effects of oxidation on the cells throughout our bodies. Antioxidants play a role in management or prevention of some medical conditions including some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, some arthritis-related conditions, and atherosclerosis. Consuming too much of the strong antioxidant could decrease the absorption of iron. There is also a risk of lead contamination in green teas, even organically grown green tea. In green tea, the leaf is thrown out. In matcha, as I stated above, the leaf is ground into the powder, so there is an increased amount of lead consumed. For this risk of lead contamination, children should avoid it all together and adult should limit it to one cup daily. Research is still being conducted but pregnant and nursing women should consider avoiding it all together.
Daily consumption, it depends on your definition of matcha. Pure matcha has a strong taste, some consider it a grass-like or spinach-like taste. Again, pure matcha should be limited to one serving daily. Are you getting a matcha frappe from the local coffee shop? Or purchased a matcha mix powder which just taste so yummy, almost like a dessert? Look at the ingredients, more than likely the first ingredient is sugar. If either of those is the case, try to make this an occasional treat.
It is easy to get caught up in the current fad, maybe it will fade away?