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Matcha is more than just a green powder used in Japanese tea ceremonies. It actually has many health benefits. Okay, so we already know about the health benefits of green tea in general, but the ones provided by matcha are unparalleled. Simply boiling tea leaves won't get you all the nutrients it contains. It's like boiling spinach and then throwing away the leaves so you can drink the water--which does not make sense. So, by consuming the whole leaf, you are actually ingesting all of the nutrients that you would have otherwise missed out on by simply steeping tea leaves in hot water. Here are some more amazing health benefits of matcha that you may not have heard about yet.
High Antioxidant Content
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We all know that antioxidants are good for the body. But, did you know that not all antioxidants are created equal? Out of all the antioxidants, the most beneficial and potent are catechins--which just happens to be one of the main components of matcha tea. And, it gets better. 60% of its catechins is made up of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), a catechin that is widely known for its cancer-fighting properties. Of course, all types of green tea contain certain amounts of EGCg, but matcha is special as it contains over a hundred times more than other tea available in the market.
Better Heart Health
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Researchers are quite uncertain how drinking matcha green tea helps manage cholesterol. However, various studies have shown that regular consumption of this beverage helps lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol triglycerides. It also helps prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which is another factor that causes heart diseases. But wait, there's more! It does not just help lower the bad cholesterol, it also improves levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. In fact, men who drink matcha tea on a regular basis are less likely to develop heart disease than those who don't by as much as 11%.
Improves Mental Focus
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Did you know that matcha contains more amino acids than any other tea? But, what makes amino acids so important? Simply put, they are the building blocks of protein. And, as it turns out, it is highest in L-theanine, one of the most prized amino acids. L-theanine can put you in a calm and meditative state while the caffeine keeps you awake and alert. This is why the effects of drinking matcha are sometimes referred to as 'relaxed alertness'. In fact, matcha was used to help in the meditation practice of Japanese monks as it helps them stay alert and calm while they sit and meditate for hours.
Coffee is another popular beverage that is a rich source of caffeine. However, unlike tea, it does not contain L-theanine to complement the caffeine--which is probably the reason why we experience jitters when we have too much to drink.
It's true that all green tea contains some level of L-theanine, but the ones found in matcha are unmatched. While most green tea contains about 4 mg of L-theanine, matcha contains a whopping 20 mg. Whoa!
Boosts the Immune System
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The catechins found in matcha tea does not only contain anti-cancer properties, but they also have antibiotic properties which promote overall health. Did you know that just one bowl of matcha tea can provide substantial amounts of essential nutrients that improve the immune system, such as potassium, iron, protein, calcium, and vitamin A and C? Further studies even suggest that it's also possible that the nutrients found in matcha tea may have the ability to hinder HIV attacks on human T-cells.
Promotes Weight Loss
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Countless research has shown that catechins have a positive effect on body mass index--and we have already established that matcha contains more catechin (most notably EGCg) than any other green tea.
It's actually a well-known fact that green tea aids in weight loss and management. This is primarily because of the EGCg it contains as it helps speed up metabolism, especially during moderate to intense workouts.
Green tea extracts have the ability to increase fat burning by 17% when you cycle for 30 minutes.
There's a reason why most weight loss supplements contain 'green tea extract' in their ingredients, you know.
Helps Detoxify the Body
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Chlorophyll is the chemical responsible for the vibrant green color in plants, but it has more function than that. It also helps detoxify the body as it flushes away toxins, heavy metals, and chemicals from your body.
Matcha contains high levels of chlorophyll because of how the tea plants are grown and harvested. Three weeks before the leaves are harvested, the plants are shaded from direct sunlight which causes an immense increase chlorophyll production when there is new growth on the plants. This process gives matcha its brilliant green color.
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Matcha helps protect you against heart diseases and cancer, detoxify the body, and improve the immune system, as well as promote healthy weight management. But, it does more than that as it also helps improve our memory. I don't know about you, but I certainly need some memory booster.
Aside from combating the negative effects of caffeine, L-theanine also produces dopamine and serotonin which are known for their abilities to enhance mood and improve memory, as well as promote better concentration. And do you know the amazing part about this? These are just side effects of the L-theanine.
The Bottom Line
There is no doubt about the health benefits of green tea in general, but matcha takes it to a whole new level. However, not all matcha tea are created equal. Some brands are better than others, so make sure that you only buy matcha powder with reputable brands from reputable sellers to ensure the quality of your tea. You also get to avoid fake products this way. And lastly, just like everything else, it should be taken in moderation. Anything can become bad when consumed excessively.
And as always, before you go, here's an interesting video from Doctor Mike you may want to watch about the health benefits of green tea and why you should include it in your diet.
Video Credit: Doctor Mike via Youtube
Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day ahead of you and keep smiling. :)
Written by Chineyes for bitLanders
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