With the emergence of a health conscious society, a lot of research is going into the number of health benefits that a particular type of food can provide, giving rise to the term ‘superfood’ which essentially means foods which contain high antioxidant power measured in ORAC units. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorption capacity, which quantifies the antioxidant potency of different foods. Thus superfood is believed to help numerous people get into a healthier and fitter lifestyle. One such superfood discovery is the matcha green tea with an ORAC of 1384 units.
A list of superfoods with their ORAC unit is given below:
Name of SuperfoodORAC units presentMatcha1384Goji berries253Dark Chocolate227Pecans180Walnuts135Pomegranate105Blueberries93Acai Berries55Broccoli31Spinach26
The matcha is not a new discovery; it has been a part of the Japanese tea culture for more than 800 years now. It has been discovered by the western health conscious society only now, after finding out about its miraculous antioxidative properties. Traditionally in Japan, the matcha used to be consumed by the Buddhist Zen monks to build concentration for meditation, from then it went on to serve the royal and scholar communities where due to its focus building properties it helped people concentrate on long intellectual discussions.
So the Japanese have always cherished matcha and reaped its benefits over several centuries. We however have just come across the amazing matcha with its great health building properties. Well as the saying goes, ‘Better late than never’, we too have come to willingly accept the new forms of healthy options which tread our way.
In case of other regular green teas you end up drinking the brew and throwing away the leaves but in case of matcha, the drink is not a brew but a solution. So you end up ingesting the leaves as a whole, filling your system up with all the nutrients contained in them.
- The Matcha actually just means powdered tea. The tea leaves that are used are grown under shade right before harvesting to enhance its chlorophyll content which makes it a powerful detoxifier and helps eliminate harmful chemical and heavy metals from the body and gives it its rich green colour. After harvesting the leaves are steamed, air dried and roasted before going through an extensive process of pulverisation to grind it into a fine powder. This powder is then added to hot water and whisked (preferably in a W or M movement) to obtain a frothy concoction with little bubbles called the matcha green tea.
- The antioxidant present in matcha is known as catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) which is known for its cancer fighting properties. It basically eliminates the free radicals produced by the body which if left unattended may cause cancer. It also has anti-ageing properties and hence delays the formation of wrinkles on the face. It is known to fight inflammation caused due to various age related diseases like arthritis and auto immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, etc.
A basic breakdown of nutrients of matcha vs. nutrients of green tea is given below:
Nutrients/servingMatcha green tea (1g/80ml)Regular Green tea (2g/150ml)Calories2.76Kcal2KcalCaffeine34mg30mgPolyphenols99mg14mgCatechin- EGCG70mg68mgAmino acid- L Threanine16.84mg6mgProtein274mg300mgFiber314mg20mgCalcium3.23mg4.5mgIron0.13mg0.3mgPotassium20.5mg40mgVitamin A0.325mgNAVitamin C1.85mg1.2mgORAC units1573520
- When regular coffee consumers were given matcha in place of coffee to overcome their caffeine need (one cup of coffee provides around 60mg of caffeine), they found that the kick that matcha provided was that of a ‘calming alertness’ minus the jitters which sometimes accompany a coffee kick. That is because matcha contains an amino acid called L—Threanine which gives a calming and relaxing effect and slows down the release of the tea’s caffeine thereby providing the calm alertness for a longer period of time. L-Threanine is also known to promote the release of several neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which in turn alleviates mood, improves memory and provides better concentration.
- Polyphenols present in matcha have a preventive action and helps prevent the risk of coronary heart diseases and various cancers of the lungs, breast, colon, stomach, etc.
- It is rich in fiber and hence helps in improving digestion and relieving constipation. It also boosts the metabolism of the body thereby helping in losing weight.
- It also helps in building immunity, thereby preventing various diseases. It also has cholesterol lowering and blood sugar level balancing properties.
One cup of matcha green tea is said to be equivalent to 10 cups of regular green tea when it comes to providing health benefits.
Now that you know all there is to know about the 2015 – health sensation called the matcha green tea. Go ahead and try for yourself.