What are its benefits?
Matcha powder packs a healthful punch whether prepared as a unique soothing hot beverage or added to a morning shake. Matcha is one of the richest sources of polyphenols classed as catechins.
- Catechins act as antioxidants that can head off cell damage and decrease inflammation in the body.
- One of matcha’s catechins called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has been shown in lab studies to have strong anti-cancer properties.
- Other studies show that tea polyphenols have antiviral properties.
Matcha comes from leaves of green tea plants that are specially handled: they are covered to prevent exposure to direct sunlight for 20 to 30 days prior to harvesting. This causes the leaves to boost chlorophyll production and amino acid content, including one called theanine. Theanine has been shown in some animal studies to increase brain serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters that can stabilize mood.
Another difference in matcha processing compared to other tea leaves is that it is put through a steaming process instead of an oxidation process. This helps retain its colors, fragrances, and nutritional content. And matcha powder consists of the whole leaf with all of its nutrients, which can then provide more catechins than would come from just steeping green tea leaves in hot water.
What is it?
Matcha powder is ground from tea leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The special shade-growing process gives the leaves their unique nutrient profile and color. Matcha does not have a lot of vitamins or minerals, but it contains valuable components like chlorophyll, the amino acid theanine, and antioxidant polyphenols.