5 Reasons to Love Matcha
As a nutritionist, I’m always keeping an eye out for superfoods that provide a big punch of slimming, healing power. And one of my new favorites is actually one of the oldest foods on the planet: matcha.
Matcha is a highly concentrated, ground green tea that provides you with far more phytonutrients than regular green tea because you consume the entire leaf, rather than just drinking the water it steeps in. Think of matcha as super-tea—or, as some aficionados call it, “green tea on steroids.” Here’s why adding a regular dose of it to your diet is a smart idea.
Five big benefits of matcha
Matcha has potent weight-loss, mood-enhancing, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Here are just some of the things it can do for you:
- It can boost the fat-burning benefits of exercise. Women burned more fat during a brisk 30-minute walk when they drank matcha green tea beforehand.
- It can rev up your brain power, while it calms you down. The L-theanine and caffeine in matcha tea can improve attention and memory, and even help you relax—so you get the alertness of coffee, without the jitters.
- It can help fight cancer. Matcha is rich in chemicals called catechins that can reduce your risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and bladder cancer.
- It can help prevent diabetes. Research shows that green tea, from which matcha is made, can lower your fasting glucose and your A1c level (a long-term measure of blood glucose).
- It can keep your teeth healthy. Green tea inhibits the growth of certain bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease.
I do have a few cautions, however. First, matcha contains quite a bit of caffeine (about half as much as coffee), so it’s possible to get a caffeine overload from it. Matcha can also block the absorption of iron, which is a problem if you’re at risk for anemia. In addition, green tea leaves contain small but significant amounts of lead. That’s why I recommend limiting yourself to one serving of matcha per day.
What to look for when you buy matcha
Matcha is hugely popular these days, so you have lots of brands to choose from—but not all of these brands are equal. To make sure you’re getting the nutritional power you want, follow these guidelines:
- Read the labels so you know you’re buying pure matcha powder—not a powder that also contains sugar or other additives.
- Avoid cheap brands, because they may be highly adulterated. Also, look for a bright green matcha powder, not one that’s dull.
- Buy the right grade for your purposes. “Ceremonial grade” matcha has the most delicate flavor and is best for drinking, but “culinary grade” matcha is fine for baking.
- Go organic and non-GMO if you can.
How to use matcha
The simplest way to use matcha is to make it into a tea. To do this, sift about one-and-a-half teaspoons of matcha into a dry bowl that you’ve pre-warmed. (The amount of matcha you use will vary based on the type you select, so read the package directions.) Briskly whisk about half a cup of hot but not boiling water into the matcha until you have a frothy tea. This works best with a bamboo whisk.
While matcha tea is a great pick-me-up, it’s just one of the fun and healthy ways to use this versatile superfood. You can also add matcha to smoothies, blend it into coconut-milk ice cream, use it in baked goods, or make delicious collagen shakes with it.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes from my new book, The 10-Day Belly Slimdown:
COCONUT MATCHA SHAKE
Prep Time: 3 Minutes | Yield: 1 Serving
- 1 cup water, unsweetened carrageenan-free almond milk, or unsweetened coconut milk (not canned)
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder (powdered green tea)
- 1 scoop Vanilla Collagen Shake™ or vanilla beef protein (15 to 25 grams protein)
- 2 handfuls of leafy greens (watercress, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.)
- 1/ 3 to 1/ 2 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk Ice (optional; add to blender or pour shake over ice)
- Monk fruit sweetener or stevia for additional sweetness (optional)
Pour the liquids into a blender, then add all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth and serve.
Keep thinking big and living BOLD!