WHAT MAKES MATCHA SO MAGICAL?
Did you see a Matcha green tea latte on the menu at a favorite restaurant or a beautiful tin of matcha in your trendy market and have an interest, but not quite sure just what made up that green concoction? Matcha provides a rich and complex, full-bodied flavor and leaves an alluring sweetness post-drinking.
SO MATCHA TO LOVE
Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. Matcha’s antioxidant properties are one of, if not the highest in teas. This is due to matcha being whipped into suspension and the entire leaf being consumed, rather than steeping and consuming the brewed liquid as in a standard cup of tea. Since the whole leaf is ingested, more antioxidants are consumed. In fact, one serving of matcha claims the health benefits equivalent to drinking several cups of traditional green tea.
Over a thousand years ago, matcha came to Japan by Buddhist Monks to aid them in their meditation practice. Monks would drink matcha prior to long hours of meditation, to remain alert and calm. Today, scientists have determined that matcha was so conducive to supporting these sessions because matcha is rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid that actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being by acting upon the brains functioning.
While stress can induce beta waves of an excited, more agitated state, L-Theanine creates alpha waves leading to a state of relaxed alertness. Though L-Theanine is common in all tea, matcha contains more of this amino acid than other types of tea. Additionally, L-Theanine from a bowl of matcha promotes concentration and clarity of mind without any of the nervous energy found in highly caffeinated drinks like coffee.
SMARTY SCIENCE STUFF
Antioxidants are the body’s defense agents. They are chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases. Put simply, the more you have, the better equipped your body is in the fight against infections and disease.
Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of another substance. Oxygen is the oxidizing agent, hence the term oxidation. An example of oxidation is when apples turn brown when they are cut open and when metals start to rust.
Experts at Tufts University discovered that matcha possesses an amazing number of antioxidants, more than any other superfood.
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is the method for quantifying the strength of antioxidants in food. Experts at Tufts University discovered that matcha possesses an amazing number of antioxidants, more than any other superfood. Matcha’s ORAC rating is an incredible 1573 units per gram (upg), compared to pomegranates 105upg, blueberries 93upg, or broccoli 31upg.
Free radicals are natural byproducts of the metabolic processes that are believed to be responsible for aging and the development of several different diseases, such as cancer. Antioxidants stop the oxidation process, thereby neutralizing free radicals and stopping the chain reaction before it starts. Although our bodies produce some antioxidants naturally, we also require antioxidants from food.
Polyphenols are the most common antioxidant found in tea. This phytonutrient is a byproduct of a plant’s metabolism and is made up of many phenol units. A phenol is an organic compound that is mildly acidic.
Green Means Good
Chlorophyll is the green substance in plants that makes it possible for them to make food from carbon dioxide and water and gives green tea and other plants their signature color. Since the leaves used to make matcha are shaded for a period of time before harvesting there is more chlorophyll in matcha. Chlorophyll helps to eliminate both chemicals and heavy metals from the body by neutralizing oxidants in the body.
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