You know that frothy, emerald-hued drink that’s taking over your Instagram feed? That’s matcha, and it’s trending for a reason. If you’re looking to switch up your afternoon pick-me-up or replace your morning coffee with something healthier, maybe it’s time to incorporate the green stuff in your routine.
A finely ground green tea powder boasting all the benefits of coffee without the corresponding jitters, matcha (also called “maccha”) has been a wellness staple in Japan for nearly a thousand years. In fact, it’s so special in Buddhist culture that ancient monks revered it as a health elixir. Whether you whip up a coconut matcha latte or use your matcha in a smoothie (or, dare we say, cupcakes?), there are endless ways to enjoy matcha (and all of its crazy health benefits). Here’s just some of what matcha tea can do for you and your body.
1. It detoxes the body. That crazy-Instagrammable green comes from matcha’s high chlorophyll content. Because of its unique growing process, matcha has much higher levels of chlorophyll than other green teas, making it a great natural detoxer. By increasing the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen and important nutrients to your body’s cells, the chlorophyll in matcha can help cleanse the body at the cellular level, which can be beneficial for your weight, skin, and overall energy levels.
2. It might prevent cancer. Because of its high levels of antioxidants, green tea — and especially matcha — is thought to have cancer-preventing properties. Matcha contains an antioxidant called EGCg, which can protect cells from DNA damage, neutralize the effects of free radicals, and even prevent tumors from growing.
3. It’s good for your heart. Green tea is often lauded for its ability to prevent heart disease. In one study, participants who drank five or more cups of green tea daily had significantly lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The antioxidants in matcha can also help keep cholesterol levels low, which benefits the heart.
4. It can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. Consumption of green tea has been shown in studies to prevent Type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants in matcha can have a profound effect on the body’s ability to improve insulin sensitivity and regulate glucose, resulting in healthier blood sugar levels.
5. It boosts your immune system. On top of potentially preventing major diseases, all of the antioxidants and vitamins in matcha — especially EGCg and vitamin C — can also work wonders for your immune system, protecting your body from antigens that could make you sick.
6. It promotes both alertness and relaxation. Though a cup of matcha contains about half as much caffeine as coffee, it comes with none of the jitters coffee is known for. In fact, matcha contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that’s known to promote calm and reduce tension.
7. It improves digestion. Several studies have shown that matcha consumption can improve gastrointestinal health. Because it helps regulate waste excretion, matcha naturally rids the body of toxins and other harmful chemicals, and also contains high levels of easily absorbed dietary fiber, which is great for digestion.
8. It could help with weight loss. Because of the antioxidants in matcha, experts have reason to believe it may assist with weight loss. According to one study, catechins (like EGCg, which is found in matcha tea) can significantly decrease and maintain body weight. Other studies show that drinking matcha can help the body oxidize fat and boost metabolism.
9. It supports the brain. On top of the short-term benefit of alertness that comes from caffeine, consuming matcha may actually help the brain focus and concentrate. The abundant L-Theanine in matcha could help stimulate alpha brain waves, which improve brain function.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy your matcha? Let us know how you like it @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)