Love green tea too matcha? Well, it could be worth switching up your tea game because you could be missing out on some potent benefits – but that doesn’t mean the former is a slouch in the nutritional department. Let’s compare these to antioxidants powerhouses to find out who comes out on top!
Green tea and matcha have both gained popularity for their potential health benefits, but is one really healthier than the other? We’ll be delving into the differences in production, nutrition, and benefits to find out.
Green Tea: Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. After harvesting, the leaves are quickly heated or steamed to prevent oxidation, then dried and rolled. This process preserves the natural green colour and flavour of the leaves.
Matcha: Matcha, on the other hand, is a type of green tea that undergoes a unique production process. Before harvest, the tea plants are shaded for several weeks to increase chlorophyll production and amino acid content. After harvesting, the leaves are steamed, dried, and ground into a fine powder. Unlike traditional green tea, matcha involves consuming the entire leaf, making it a more concentrated source of nutrients.
Green Tea: Green tea contains a variety of bioactive compounds, including polyphenols, catechins, and antioxidants. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is one of the most abundant and well-studied catechins in green tea, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the exact nutrient content of green tea can vary depending on factors such as growing conditions and processing methods.
Matcha: Matcha is prized for its vibrant green colour and potent nutritional profile. Since matcha is consumed as a powdered whole leaf, it contains higher concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals compared to steeped green tea. Matcha is particularly rich in chlorophyll, L-theanine, and catechins, including EGCG, which may offer enhanced health benefits.
Potential Health Benefits
Green Tea: Studies have linked green tea consumption to various health benefits, including improved heart health, enhanced cognitive function, and reduced risk of certain cancers. The antioxidant properties of green tea catechins may help protect cells from oxidative damage and inflammation, supporting overall health and longevity.
Matcha: Matcha offers similar health benefits to green tea but in a more concentrated form. The higher levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients in matcha may provide additional protection against oxidative stress, inflammation, and chronic disease. Some research suggests that matcha may promote relaxation, mental clarity, and metabolism due to its unique combination of compounds.
So, when it’s laid out like that, it’s clear to see that, aside from caffeine content – which, mind you, is absorbed less readily than in other caffeinated beverages – matcha may have the edge. Let’s take a look at what’s so good about this green stuff:
Exploring Matcha's Powerful Antioxidants
As we mentioned above, matcha contains a wealth of antioxidants that surpass those found in traditional green tea. Let's delve into the extensive antioxidants present in matcha and their potential health effects:
Catechins: EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate): EGCG is the most abundant catechin in matcha and is renowned for its potent antioxidant properties. Research suggests that EGCG may help protect cells from oxidative damage, reduce inflammation, and support cardiovascular health. It has also been studied for its potential role in cancer prevention and weight management.
Chlorophyll: Matcha owes its vibrant green hue to chlorophyll, a natural pigment found in plants. Chlorophyll is known for its detoxifying properties and may help remove toxins and heavy metals from the body. Additionally, chlorophyll has been studied for its potential to promote wound healing, freshen breath, and support liver health.
L-Theanine: Unlike steeped green tea, matcha contains significant levels of L-theanine, an amino acid known for its calming and mood-enhancing effects. L-theanine promotes relaxation without causing drowsiness and may help reduce stress and anxiety. It also complements the stimulating effects of caffeine in matcha, promoting a state of focused alertness.
Vitamin C: Matcha is a rich source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function, collagen production, and skin health. Vitamin C scavenges free radicals, protects against oxidative stress, and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Consuming matcha regularly can contribute to your daily vitamin C intake and enhance overall antioxidant status.
Carotenoids: Matcha contains carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lutein, which give certain fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors. Carotenoids function as antioxidants in the body, neutralizing free radicals and protecting cells from damage. Beta-carotene, in particular, is converted into vitamin A, which is essential for vision, immune function, and skin health.
Polyphenols: Polyphenols are a diverse group of antioxidants found in matcha that have been associated with numerous health benefits. These compounds help reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar control, and support cardiovascular health. Regular consumption of polyphenol-rich foods like matcha may lower the risk of chronic diseases and promote longevity.
Matcha contains a moderate amount of caffeine, providing a gentle energy boost without the jittery side effects associated with coffee consumption. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine in matcha promotes sustained energy and improved concentration. Enjoying matcha as part of your morning ritual can help you feel alert, focused, and energised throughout the day.
Ready to try this potent drink? We’ve got a simple, delicious recipe to get you onto the matcha train.
Matcha Milk Tea
- 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
- 1/4 cup hot water (not boiling, around 175°F or 80°C)
- 3/4 cup hot milk or dairy-free alternative (such as almond milk or oat milk)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon rice malt syrup – we recommend trying it unsweetened if possible, to appreciate the subtle grassy notes of the matcha!
- Sift the matcha powder: Place the matcha powder in a fine-mesh sieve or tea strainer over a small bowl or cup. Sift the matcha powder to break up any clumps and ensure a smooth consistency.
- Preheat your bowl or cup: Pour hot water into your matcha bowl or cup to preheat it. Let it sit for a minute, then discard the water.
- Prepare the matcha paste: Add the sifted matcha powder to the preheated bowl or cup. Gradually add a small amount of hot water (about 1/4 cup) to the matcha powder. Use a bamboo whisk or small whisk to mix the matcha powder and hot water together, forming a smooth paste. Make sure to whisk vigorously to dissolve any lumps and create a frothy consistency.
- Add hot milk: Heat the milk in a small saucepan or microwave until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot milk into the matcha paste in your bowl or cup.
- Sweeten (optional): If desired, add your rice malt syrup to the matcha tea and stir until dissolved. Adjust the sweetness to your taste.
- Whisk or stir: Use a bamboo whisk or spoon to thoroughly mix the matcha paste and hot milk together until well combined and frothy. Ensure that the matcha paste is fully incorporated into the milk.
- Serve: Pour the prepared matcha tea into your favourite teacup or matcha bowl. Enjoy your classic matcha tea immediately while it's hot!
- Optional garnish: For an extra touch, you can sprinkle a little extra matcha powder on top of the froth before serving.
- Take a moment to appreciate the vibrant green colour and rich aroma of your freshly prepared matcha tea. Sip slowly and enjoy the unique flavour profile and health benefits of this traditional Japanese beverage!
This type of wooden whisk is your ideal tool to get the perfect bubbly consistency of matcha, but a fork will do in a pinch. Whisk diagonally. Just don't tell the matcha purists in your life!
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