Coffee has some serious competition. The latest fad for a caffeine fix comes in the form of the finely-ground powdered green tea, matcha. Though this tea has become "trendy", with NYC's first matcha bar opening in the heart of Williamsburg, it has been consumed for thousands of years. Traditionally found in Japanese coffee shops, the flavor has been described as umami, earthy & grassy.
After drinking coffee, the caffeine is released immediately, causing an increase in adrenaline, insulin and glucose. We feel a high feeling, followed by a c-r-a-s-h. On the other hand, the caffeine in matcha is steadily released over 3 to 6 hours, allowing for sustained, more even-keeled energy. Diabetics will benefit from matcha as it increases insulin production without stressing the adrenals or increasing blood glucose.
Matcha has been found to increase metabolism and burn fat FOUR times faster than average. Obviously, drinking powdered tea alone won't get you into your "skinny day" pants but combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, weight loss can be accelerated.
Buddhist monks used matcha when meditating in order to simultaneously feel alert and relaxed. Even though matcha will stimulate, it also induces an overall calmness, thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine. For those of you who feel anxious after a cup of coffee, matcha is for you.
My Favorite Hormones
L-Theanine will also increase production of Dopamine & Serotonin. We all know by now that these hormones will boost mood, promote better concentration and improve long term memory. Studies have also shown that L-Theanine will lower blood pressure, reduce the incidence of PMS symptoms and combat everyday stress.
The amount of antioxidants found in matcha is equivalent to ten mugs of regular green tea. EGCG is a powerful antioxidant found in both green & white tea. It has been shown to decrease incidence of cancer by protecting the cells from DNA damage/free radicals. It also causes apoptosis ("death") of cancer cells, especially in breast, prostate and endometrial cancer.
Chlorophyll gives matcha it's green color. It also promotes detoxification, removing heavy metals and toxins from the body.
- Dairy will inhibit matcha's effects due to lactose. Instead, use hemp, flax, soy or almond milk when having cappuccinos or lattes.
- If you can't get to Brooklyn's matcha bar, you can order your own matcha and add to smoothies at home.
- Try: 1 scoop of vegetable protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1 tsp of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 tsp of matcha.
- Try: 2 frozen bananas, 1 cup of almond milk, 3 teaspoons of matcha and a few handfuls of ice. You can then add a DROP of honey or agave if you crave a sweeter taste but the bananas should be efficient enough.