What’s this bright green wonder drink that’s been growing in popularity in recent years? It’s matcha, an extract of tencha, or the green tea leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Because matcha is carefully processed from the whole leaf, a large share of the beneficial nutrients remains intact. For this reason, special health benefits are ascribed to the drink – from boosting the immune system to slowing the aging process and assisting with weight loss.

Where does matcha come from?

Its green color and creamy, tangy taste make matcha tea one of a kind. The tea plant is specially cultivated to be rich in important substances like chlorophyll and caffeine.

The knowledge of how to prepare the tea plant was brought from China to Japan by a Zen master who was convinced that the plant had life-extending properties. Buddhist monks used matcha tea to increase their alertness and be more focused during meditation.

What to look for when buying matcha

The brighter the green, the fresher the tea. The brilliant color of the tea leaves is preserved through gentle steaming before they are dried and ground into a fine powder.

Three special ingredients and their effects on your health

Matcha wakes you up and helps you concentrate and be productive. If you drink it regularly, it can give your overall metabolism a boost. These three substances are responsible for these effects:

 1. Caffeine

Gives your circulatory system a kick and increases your powers of concentration, keeping you awake. The difference between the caffeine found in tea and other forms is that it is first released in the intestine, which makes its effects milder and longer-lasting.

 2.  Tannins

Tannins are astringents with soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that cleanse the gastrointestinal tract.

 3. Catechin

Catechin is a bitter substance that regulates cholesterol levels, which can help you prevent arteriosclerosis. Because it protects against UV rays, it can slow skin aging and protects cells.

In combination with a balanced and healthy diet, matcha can also help you lose weight, because your basal metabolic rate is increased through the production of body heat and the tannins stop your craving for sweets. Studies show that matcha can be used to regulate cholesterol levels and therefore prevent overweight.

Here’s how you can use matcha to boost your health

As a dietary supplement, matcha can have a lot of positive impacts on your health. However, it is important to only use the green powder to supplement your diet. To make best use of matcha’s health benefits, you should also pay attention to balanced nutrition.

Matcha can also be a good alternative to coffee. The caffeine takes effect more slowly, which can lower the risk of the irritability that can set in when caffeine levels sink abruptly.

Last but not least, a matcha recipe

Matcha shakes are usually made using simple basic recipe that can be varied according to taste.

You’ll need around 300 milliliters of milk or plant-based milk, one or two grams of matcha green-tea powder, ice cubes, and sugar, stevia, honey, maple syrup or your preferred sweetener.

Stir the matcha powder into two or three tablespoons of the milk until smoothly blended. You can use a regular or immersion blender to puree the rest of the ingredients. At this point you can add a banana, mango, or another type of fruit if you wish. The matcha shake is ready when it gets foamy. You can decorate your shake by sprinkling a bit of matcha powder on top of the foam.

All clear? Now that you know the theory, you should be ready for the practice!