You may have heard that certain teas, especially green teas, may have what can only be described as magical powers. It comes from a plant, so it’s extremely healthy. It has the potential to discourage you from snacking on sweets you shouldn’t even be thinking about. However, adding cream and sugar to your tea all but totally cancels out all its benefits. That’s why you need to try matcha. This green tea is unlike any other green tea you’ve tried before.
Matcha tea is made from the leaves of tea plants. These leaves are finely ground and added to hot water. Whisking this mixture together creates a creamy, slightly foamy drink you won’t believe is made up of only leaves and water.
But it isn’t just simple to make: it’s extremely beneficial to drink. Here are eight benefits of your new favorite drink.
1. Matcha is good for your heart
When you eat certain foods, various materials end up in your bloodstream. Your blood then transports these materials to cells that need them. Sugar, for example, needs to go to cells in your body to give them energy. So does fat. Cholesterol is also present in the bloodstream, as it is necessary in your body to make certain hormones.
When you have too much fat and/or cholesterol in your bloodstream, it can gradually begin to accumulate in your arteries, forming a hard substance called plaque.
Your heart’s arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to your organs and tissues. Think of them as your body’s “pipes” that carry blood from the heart to where it needs to go, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Now imagine what would happen if, over time, the sides of those pipes started to collect gunk left over from whatever has been passing through them. It would become harder for those pipes to transport materials from one place to another. They would become much narrower, slowing down transport significantly. They might even become clogged.
That’s what happens when your arteries fill with plaque — and it can have terrible consequences, like heart attack and stroke.
Matcha could help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries. Drinking matcha regularly can help keep your arteries clear to make sure they can distribute your blood to your body’s various systems without delay. Clear arteries significantly lower your risk of developing certain types of heart disease.
2. It promotes weight loss
Let’s clear something up before we go any further. Drinking tea alone will not magically cause sudden weight loss. Green tea can play a role in a healthy weight loss plan (more on that in a second). But drinking matcha, and making no other lifestyle changes, is not going to get you the results you want. Incorporating matcha into your day can, however, contribute to much bigger, positive things going on inside your body over a period of many months.
Matcha contains an antioxidant called EGCG, which could convince your body to break down fat over time. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that drinking more matcha tea will cause you to burn more fat. It doesn’t really work like that. But depending on how much weight you have to lose, a single cup of matcha per day could eventually start to make a difference.
This tea is also made strictly from the leaves of a plant. Plants are naturally high in fiber, which is one reason why this is definitely the tea to drink if you want to lose weight. Fiber is a slow releasing carbohydrate. This just means that it releases sugar into your bloodstream slowly. Without any sudden spikes or drops in blood sugar, you are much less likely to feel intense cravings toward certain foods, especially junk foods. Eating less than you normally do — especially when you are cutting out junk food — becomes an almost effortless endeavor.
On another note, matcha is extremely low in calories. You’re basically just drinking tea leaves. As long as you aren’t adding anything else to it, you are not drinking anywhere near the amount of calories you might find in, say, a Starbucks Frappuccino. This tea does not contain any added sugars, syrups, or any type of milk. It’s literally just ground leaves whisked into water to create a delicious, seemingly miraculous green formula of wonder.
3. It can make you feel calm
What is your natural reaction when you are stressed to the point of no return? Do you lay your head down on your keyboard and count to 100? Reach for the nearest bag of chips after a particularly unproductive conference call? Make a steaming hot cup of matcha tea before bed? If you are already doing that last one to combat stress, props to you. Whether you knew it already or not, matcha actually has a natural calming effect on some people. There are actually chemical compounds in it that can relieve your stress — even though we’re not exactly sure yet how that happens.
Matcha contains an amino acid called L-theanine. According to research, the combination of caffeine and L-theanine in matcha could actually have a legitimate calming effect on you. Scientists still are not entirely sure what causes this effect. Especially since caffeine is best known for its stimulating effects. It would normally have the opposite effect on your mind and body. Self-reported results aren’t always the most reliable, so more future research may or may not confirm the possible science here.
Still, what we do know for sure is that opting for a cup of matcha instead of a candy bar or a glass of wine acts as a much healthier alternative. You can de-stress and unwind without having to completely ruin your diet or your inhibition.
4. It could reduce your cancer risk
Over time, your body breaks down. This is simply part of the aging process. The longer you spend on the planet, the more subtle damage your body suffers just due to existing. While you can’t prevent this, you can take small steps — like drinking green tea — to protect yourself from its potentially harmful effects.