The 8 Wonders Of Matcha Green Tea

Zen monks don't know much about muscle, but they know a lot about living long, unstressed lives. One of their secrets: drinking matcha green tea.

If you're not drinking matcha green tea yet, you're behind the times! Get with the program and try this metabolism-enhancing, stress-reducing, immune-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, teenage-mutant-ninja cancer fighter!

Although people drank green tea in China more than 1,000 years ago, it became an important part of the Japanese culture. They named the tea matcha1. Zen Buddhist monks drank it to remain alert and calm during long hours of meditation2.

Japanese tea leaves grow in the shade to increase chlorophyll content. These chlorophyll-rich leaves are then handpicked, steamed, dried and ground into a fine green powder3.

The history and cultivation of the tea is interesting, but what matters most to health enthusiasts is its antioxidant content. One cup of matcha green tea has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of regular tea! That's almost exactly the same ratio to the "spider strength" Peter Parker gets when he puts on his suit!

Fit To A Tea

The tea's power is so super because entire leaves3 are dissolved in water rather than steeped in bags. Instead of throwing away the leaves, you ingest all their antioxidant powers.

Those numbers are off the charts. Matcha green tea possesses antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, 17 times that of wild blueberries and 60.5 times that of spinach1! Holy St. Francis, Batman!

And that's not all! Matcha's magnificence makes a long list.

Matcha Antioxidant Levels

6.2 times that of Goji Berries
7 times that of Dark Chocolate
17 times that of Wild Blueberries
60.5 times that of Spinach

1
Cancer Preventer

Green tea contains potent antioxidants called catechins, which scavenge for dangerous free radicals in the body. The most powerful catechin found in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen4.

A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea1.

2
Anti-Ager

One of the locales in the world where people live the longest is Okinawa, Japan. The Okinawan people's longevity has been partly attributed to regular consumption of Matcha Green Tea1.

Matcha green tea is the most popular green tea in Japan, but is rapidly gaining more popularity throughout the world because of its ability to combat inflammation, oxidation and aging.

3
Heart Disease Preventer: Lowers LDL "Bad" Cholesterol

A 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that administration of green tea beverages or extracts significantly lowered serum total cholesterol and LDL "Evil Emperor Zurg" cholesterol concentrations5.

4
Weight Loss

A 1999 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that green tea extract rich in catechins has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by the tea's caffeine content.

It was found that consuming green tea increased thermogenesis (the body's rate of burning calories) from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure6.

Another study demonstrated that exercising immediately after drinking matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise4.

Both studies suggest matcha green tea can enhance both resting metabolic rate and fat burning - can I get an Amen?!

5
Detoxifier

Matcha is grown in the shade, which is why it is richer in chlorophyll than other green teas. Chlorophyll is the pigment responsible for giving leaves their green color. The Hulk would be proud!

Chlorophyll is purported to detoxify the body1, but this has yet to be scientifically proven. I wanted to mention it because of its supposed ability to clear the body of toxins, heavy metals, poisons, dioxins and hormone disrupters.

6
Mind Improver

Matcha green tea contains up to 5 times more L-theanine than conventional green tea2. L-theanine is an amino acid with psychoactive properties, capable of inducing alpha wave activity in the brain.

Stress is known to induce the brain's beta wave activity, leading to a more agitated state. Alpha wave activity can relieve stress, promote relaxation and even lower blood pressure1.

Although matcha contains some caffeine, the relaxing properties of L-theanine counterbalance the "jittery" effects of caffeine. Therefore, a cup of matcha green tea promotes concentration and clarity of mind without producing any of the nervous energy typically associated with coffee2.

7
Fiber

Matcha green tea leaves contain a high level of easily-absorbable dietary fiber. The benefits of dietary fiber include its ability to ease constipation and stabilize blood sugar levels.

8
Energy Energy

Try a cup of matcha green tea as an afternoon "pick-me-up" anytime you need extra focus. matcha green tea is an ideal substitute for coffee because it provides an energy boost without the headaches1 you might get from a coffee crash.

Tips To Better Your Matcha Experience

Matcha green tea is available as a concentrated powder and can be found at health food stores. I recommend organic matcha, because it is produced without any artificial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

Do not add matcha green tea powder to boiling water because it will taste "grassy."7 Boil the water and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding the tea.

It might take some time to get used to matcha's flavor. Give in to the power of the tea!

References
  1. http://living-qi.com
  2. http://www.matchasource.com/matcha-tea-health-benefits-s/14.htm
  3. www.thenibble.com
  4. Xin-Xin Zheng, Yan-Lu Xu, et al. Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults: a meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials Am J Clin Nutr August 2011.
  5. Abdul G Dulloo, Claudette Duret, et al. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, No. 6, 1040-1045, December 1999
  6. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/3-surprising-ways-break-through-your-weight-loss-plateau

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About The Author

Dr. Sara Solomon received her B.Sc. in Physical Therapy and her D.M.D. in 2001 and 2005 respectively. Learn more about this Oxygen Magazine success...

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DrKing1

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DrKing1

This is a great article. I hope people will read it carefully and implement the advice given. MATCHA is the current KING OF GREEN TEAS. I drink Finest Ceremonial (or Supreme) Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea, at least 1-2 grams everyday. It is the highest grade - Grade A Ceremonial Matcha.

How to choose good matcha?

Lower grade matchas are generally inferior in colour, consistency, taste and smell. For organic matcha - the greener the matcha, the better it is. If you open the pack and the color is dull green or yellowish - you know that the matcha is not good. It should be deep green, due to its high chlorophyll content. It should look quite bright (dull matcha is not very fresh). To appreciate the true color of matcha, ALWAYS EXAMINE MATCHA IN GOOD DAYLIGHT (matcha containers are dark or opaque, as light can degrade matcha). All of this is common sense, since, in general, any freshly picked green herb should be deep green and bright.

Good matcha has finer particles and a smoother consistency. Lower grades are the opposite - bigger particles and a coarser consistency.

Good matcha has a sweeter taste and smells freshly cut herbal smell - these features can be subtle.

NON-ORGANIC matcha MAY (or my not) CONTAIN ARTIFICIAL ADDITIVES, FLAVORINGS, COLORINGS, PRESERVATIVES, SWEETENERS or synthetic pesticides or herbicides. Therefore, to be sure that I am avoiding these substances, I prefer to buy organic food if feasible. Organic food avoids these potentially harmful substances. Some synthetic pesticides and herbicides are thought to be one of the many risk factors for cancer.

During manufacture of green tea in Japan, the leaves of the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) are steamed. In China (Taiwan), the same leaves are FRIED. Any nutritionist will tell you that steaming food is far better than frying if your aim is to preserve as many of the nutrients as possible. Frying involves a higher temperature, which damages some of the important antioxidants (such as EGCG) and the amino acids (such as L-theanine). Therefore, I ALWAYS buy JAPANESE MATCHA.

To summarise, if you want good matcha, buy:

1. Grade - Grade A Ceremonial or Grade 1 Ceremonial is the best
2. Color - the greener the better
3. Consistency - the finer the better
4. Taste - subtle sweetness (not bitter)
5. Smell - subtle freshly cut herbal smell
6. ORGANIC - to avoid potentially harmful substances
7. JAPANESE matcha (not matcha that is from China a.k.a Taiwan).

Best Wishes!

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May 10, 2013 2:01am | report
 
DavidL12

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DavidL12

Dr King- clearly this is a self promotion of your own business. Your prices to be frank are very high and I had a friend who bought your matcha and I couldnt taste the difference from the matcha I buy from zengreentea.com.au. You say to buy organic but people dont realise in Japan getting certification for organic is very unheard of (its an western faux). Matcha is natually grown chemical free in Japan- only a tiny amount of fertiliser is put in the soil to support the plants during the shading period. So you are charging people triple the price for a name- not a product superior to companies giving value for money and an outstanding quality like Zen Green Tea.

May 18, 2013 4:56am | report
DavidL12

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DavidL12

So glad body building.com have finally written about Matcha! I think more people need to know about this product! I've been drinking Matcha for a long time now- I am in Sydney and I buy from an online store Zengreentea.com.au. I found that drinking Matcha has helped me shape up- I've replaced my usual pre work out supplements with Matcha and I get better results which is quite crazy. It helps me stay alert and concentrated at work, curbs sugar cravings and suppresses appetite. I've found I definietly stay leaner drinking it. I know you can buy it from other places like Asian stores too but to be honest its pretty terrible quality and taste so I just stick to Zen Green Tea- the company is quite quirky and fun too- always makes me laugh!

May 18, 2013 4:51am | report
 
DrKing1

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DrKing1

I read your reply to my comment (which I wrote on May 10th). I would like to say the following:

You are incorrect to say "in Japan getting certification for organic is very unheard of (its an western faux).". Organic Certification is Japan is obtained from JAS-JONA (The Japanese Agricultural Society-the Japanese Organic and Natural Foods Association). You could google "Japanese Organic and Natural Foods Association" to find out more. The Japanese have extremely high organic food production standards!

Dr Sara Solomon says in this article "I recommend organic matcha, because it is produced without any artificial fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides." Many experts say "matcha is often fertilized very heavily with synthetic nitrogen fertilizers", which you appear to be unaware of. I also recommend organic matcha.

DOCTOR KING Finest Ceremonial Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea is Premium, Grade A, First Harvest Matcha. I have endorsed this product because I believe that it is one of the best matchas that you can buy. However, there are other very good matchas available. In my comment, I have provided a few pointers to help people choose good matcha. To be honest, I JUST HOPE THAT PEOPLE WILL BUY ANY HIGH QUALITY MATCHA AND DRINK IT EVERYDAY. IN THIS WAY, THEY WILL REDUCE THEIR RISK OF MANY MAJOR DISEASES. The reason I created the "DOCTOR KING" brand was to make it easy for people to choose a VERY HIGH QUALITY BRAND (from the many options available, some of which are bad).

There are many brands in the UK which are much more expensive than the DOCTOR KING brand. Visit Amazon and see for yourself. For example, Teapigs Organic Matcha 30 grams and Vitalife Ceremonial Organic Matcha 30 grams are more expensive than DOCTOR KING Finest Ceremonial Organic Japanese Matcha 30 grams on Amazon.co.uk.

I can tell you that my supplier in Japan charges our Company more than 3 times as much for Grade A matcha than for some of the lower grade matcha that his Company sells. We have specifically selected the best quality matcha because studies have shown that higher grade matcha contains more nutrients than lower grade matchas. Thus, I am not "charging people triple the price for the name" as you claim.

We sell matcha mainly in the UK, Europe and the USA. Our company has sold matcha to one customer in Australia, who wrote us feedback saying "Great product, would buy again". You can read his feedback on eBay. His eBay name is henry_the_9th_2011

May 19, 2013 7:02pm | report
fmfpacific

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fmfpacific

One of natures best kept secrets.

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Nov 12, 2013 12:39pm | report
 
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