Matcha is one of the healthiest green teas, in which the tea leaves are consumed directly, rather than drinking only the water extract. This article provides some information about this green tea and some health benefits of the same.
Matcha is a finely powdered, neon-green colored tea prepared from tea leaves that are grown in shade conditions. It is especially brewed and served in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Other than tea preparation, it is used for flavoring sweets, ice-creams, cookies, drinks, alcoholic beverages, and smoothies. It is more expensive than the regular green teas. Nevertheless, its price entirely depends on the mode of production and/or quality of the tea powder.
The process for making this tea starts several weeks prior to harvesting tea leaves. As a part of the production, the tea bushes are covered to create a 90 percent shade condition for about 3 weeks. Doing so slows down the overall growth and development of tea plants by hampering the photosynthesis rate. The tea leaves accumulate more amino acids, which is responsible for the sweet flavor of this green tea.
For making it, the finest tea buds are harvested, steamed, and laid out for drying. From the dried leaves (also called tencha), stems, and veins are removed before grinding. Finally, the leaf parts are stone ground to make a fine talc-like powder. After brewing this powder, it is not strained or left in the pot, rather it is consumed along with the tea.
This green tea contains higher amounts of vitamins, chlorophyll, amino acids, catechins, polyphenols, and other antioxidants in comparison to other tea types. Researches reveal that brewed matcha contains antioxidants and polyphenols about 10 times more than the regular teas. Other studies claimed that the nutritional value present in a glass of matcha is equivalent to 10 glasses of green tea.
It contains the amino acid L-theanine that induces mind relaxation. Hence, it is consumed as a natural mood enhancer. Further, it is also rich in other amino acids that impart the characteristic flavor and tastes different from other regular green teas.
One of the major health benefits is the high concentration of antioxidants. According to comparative studies conducted on this green tea and other antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, it is found that matcha contains about 10 times higher antioxidants per gram than other food items.
It also contains a high amount of catechin EGCg (epicgallocatechin gallate), which is an antioxidant having cancer-fighting properties. About 60 percent of the total catechin in this tea is of EGCg type.
As already mentioned, matcha is produced by steaming and drying the tender, shade-grown tea leaves. This allows conservation of chlorophyll, which is useful for the body detoxification. Since the powder is retained in the tea, it is ingested while consuming, thus increasing the amount of chlorophyll intake.
In addition, this green tea is sugar-free and high in fiber content. Therapeutically, it is used for stimulating the immune system, aiding digestion process, promoting dental health, reducing bad cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of cancer. Due to these health benefits, it is becoming very popular all over the world.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.