The use of matcha tea for a better lifestyle is a much-talked-about topic in health and fitness circles. But what exactly are the health benefits of matcha tea?
If all you know about matcha is the elementary fact that it's green in color, you have a lot more to learn. There is something Eastern or oriental in matcha tea, because it of its Japanese roots. Matcha is finely ground Japanese tea leaves.
It isn't like the ordinary green tea. Matcha manages to preserve its nutrients since its leaves are stone-ground and they are unheated for preserving the nutrients.
In fact, they are less processed than regular tea leaves. When the regular green tea is brewed, many of its nutrients are lost since the water only manages to extract a few of its nutrients.
This raises the question – should you be drinking matcha tea in the morning instead of coffee? Let's check out some facts.
According to The Nutrition School and NutritiousLife.com founder and dietician Keri Glassman, with matcha you get to consume the whole tea leaf, helping you get the entire nutritional value it offers. Though regular green tea has a high antioxidant level, you don't get to consume the whole of it.
Everyone drinks coffee so why choose matcha tea?
83% of American adults consume coffee and it does have significant health benefits. For those used to having coffee every morning, they really can't think of living the rest of the day without it.
While coffee is all around you and easier to find in restaurants and coffee shops, matcha is only getting there "“ people are only beginning to realize its benefits so it probably wouldn't be as easy to get. But on a purely health basis, which is better- coffee or tea?
- Comparing matcha with coffee, a hit of matcha gives you caffeine worth 34mg. That's about the same you get from a brewed coffee cup. It'sonly half of what you get in an espresso though.
- Coffee has antioxidants too. It's primarily known for its stimulant called caffeine which is the world's most common psychoactive substance, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
- When you drink coffee, caffeine gets absorbed into your bloodstream, and then reaches the brain. In the brain, the caffeine blocks the Adenosine inhibitory neurotransmitter. This helps increase your energy levels and enhance other aspects of your brain function including cognitive function, reaction times, vigilance and mood.
But before you jump to conclusions, consider these facts:
- Matcha tea provides you a buzz that lasts much longer and provides a lot more energy than coffee could. That's because matcha contains the L-Theanine amino acid that slows down the process of caffeine releasing in your body, making it more gradual and providing a relaxing and calming effect that lasts longer.
- The amino acid L-Theanine makes your body process caffeine in a different manner that gives a state of calmness and alertness. The other advantage of L-Theanine is that it helps you focus and concentrate.
- There are also more antioxidants in matcha. That gives you the power to resist diseases and even slows down the aging process. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of matcha is 1573 units per serving. It's therefore one of the best antioxidant food sources you'll ever come across.
- With matcha you can boost your body's metabolism while burning your body's fat more through increased rate of your body burning calories, called thermogenesis, by up to 40%. Matcha also has the unique antioxidant called catechins. Catechins can fight cancer. Now that's a big advantage.
- A distinct advantage of matcha over coffee is that matcha contains nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C and chlorophyll, and also fiber that you won't find in coffee.
Solid Data to Help You Decide
Here is a breakdown of the nutrients in a single gram of matcha and four grams of coffee, and you'll see who wins the encounter:
- Calories: Matcha – 2.76 cal / Coffee – 0 cal
- ORAC: Matcha – 1573 units / Coffee – 0 units
- Caffeine: Matcha – 34 mg / Coffee – 60 mg
- Amino Acids: Matcha – 44.7 mg / Coffee – 0 mg
- L-Theanine: Matcha – 16.84 mg / Coffee – 0 mg
- Polyphenols (Tannins): Matcha – 99 mg / Coffee – 250 mg
- Catechins: Matcha – 134 mg / Coffee – 0mg
- Proteins: Matcha – 274 mg / Coffee – 300 mg
- Fiber: Matcha – 314 mg / Coffee – 0 mg
- Iron: Matcha – 0.13 mg / Coffee – 0.3 mg
- Calcium: Matcha – 3.23 mg / Coffee – 3 mg
- Potassium: Matcha – 20.5 mg / Coffee – 97.5 mg
- Vitamin C: Matcha – 1.85 mg / Coffee – 0 mg
- Vitamin A: Matcha – 0.325 mg / Coffee – 0 mg
While there are some nutrients that are dominant in coffee, in overall terms, matcha still has the edge and beats coffee in 9 out of 15 essential nutrients, in terms of quantity.
It's also easier to prepare matcha at home. And you don't have to worry about the breath of coffee too- not everyone appreciates its aroma. Matcha tea does not leave any odour in the mouth.
So, apart from health factors, there are a couple of other reasons for you to shift to matcha.