Matcha comes from green tea leaves that have been stone-ground to create a fine powder. In Japan and China, matcha is found in all sorts of food and drinks, from hot tea to a variety of desserts like mochi. It’s used extensively in Asian medicine and self-care, and is also a component of some facemasks.
Of course, it has become popular for many different reasons including its beautifying properties, as well as its many health benefits. Here are just a few reasons why you try matcha.
1. Matcha is rich in antioxidants
A paper published in the Chinese Medicine Journal noted that green tea in general has high amounts of catechins which are natural antioxidants. These compounds are known to prevent cellular damage that occurs due to the presence of harmful chemicals in the body or toxins. Matcha can help lower the risk of several chronic illnesses, such as cancer and diabetes.
2. Matcha protects the liver
The liver is responsible for flushing out toxins and keeping the body protected against damage. Some experts believe that matcha or green tea can help people with liver problems such as a fatty liver, inflammation, or cirrhosis that is a result of substance abuse or hepatitis—due to its catechin content.
3. It boosts heart health
Green tea lowers the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. This substance, AKA bad cholesterol, is present in a lot of meat, dairy, and processed food. Matcha contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which prevents plaque building up in the arteries. As a result, it helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes.
4. Matcha improves brain function
Matcha and other forms of green tea consumables also have the potential to improve cognitive function. A research team from the Third Military Medical University in China found that EGCG produces more neurons or brain cells. The more of these you have, the more synaptic connections you can make, which translates to better memory and improves the ability to process information.
5. Aids in weight loss
Matcha, or green tea in general, boosts metabolism and helps you manage weight better. It’s a great option when you want to have a smoothie.
Of course, don’t start filling your entire cupboard with matcha just yet! Moderation is key, as you shouldn’t consume too much of it, 1/2 teaspoon of matcha a day is enough to keep health problems at bay. Going overboard can decrease the amount of iron the body absorbs or even liver damage.
Matcha is gaining more traction here in the West because of the many health benefits associated with it. As a society, we are starting to understand the effects of our lifestyle on our overall health; and diets and superfoods are a huge part of it.
Thankfully, most of the claims are backed by ongoing research like the ones mentioned above. It helps that a lot of high-profile doctors and dietitians have also come out in support of matcha. It's important for fledgling healthcare professionals to be at the forefront of promoting trends like this.
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