venerdì 2 dicembre 2011

Is Matcha Healthier Than Steeped Green Tea?

matcha-tea.jpgMatcha has been around for centuries in Japan, but over the last couple of years it's been gaining popularity in the west.

If you've tried matcha, you probably noticed that it comes with a high price tag compared with regular green tea. So, is it worth spending the extra money on?

Green tea has been studied quite a bit and its antioxidant content and the amino acid L-theanine are primarily responsible for its health promoting properties. The antioxidant ECGC has been shown to prevent cancer and L-theanine has been shown to have mood altering properties helping with relaxation.

There is also some evidence that green tea aides in weight loss, but its antioxidants are by far the best benefit it has to offer.

Most people consume green tea by steeping the leaves in hot water for a few minutes, however, matcha green tea is prepared differently. In this type of green tea, the whole leaves are ground down to an extremely fine green powder. This powder is then disolved in the hot water. Therefore, drinking matcha is consuming the whole green tea leaf and not just what is released by brewing the leaves.

Green tea leaves contain the following nutrients; caffeine, tannin (flavonols), theophylline, theobromine, fat, wax, saponins, essential oils, catechins (EGCG), carotene, vitamin C, vitamins A, B1, B12, and P, flouride, iron, magnesium, calcium, strontium, copper, nickel, and zinc.

Matcha tea would contain slightly more concentrated levels of each of these components, especially those that wouldn't be water soluble.

Overall, matcha seems to be a healthier choice primarily because it's a whole food. People that don't enjoy the taste of green tea may like matcha better because it has a rich, naturally sweeter flavor.

Just be sure to purchase high quality matcha powder to get the most benefits out of it and keep matcha in an airtight container as air quickly degrades it. Matcha is also finding its way into other products in the west such as ice cream and coffee house specialty drinks.

Have you tried matcha? What do you think of it?

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