Matcha – The Best Tea For Mind & Body
Matcha is slowly but surely making it’s way into every household, sometimes replacing coffee breaks, sometimes adding colour to baked goodies, creating new sauces and other culinary experiences.
For all tea advocates and matcha lovers, we dug to the bottom of this green rush. What is green tea and what are its health benefits.
Text by Elisa Da Rin
What is matcha?
Matcha is the most exciting discovery in the tea world of the 21st century. Over 800 years ago, matcha was used by Zen Buddhist monks as a meditation drink: today it is considered the healthiest, most precious and rare tea in Japan. Matcha has positive effects on body and soul. It is stimulating and exciting, but at the same time it relaxes the nerves and reduces stress.
Matcha’S aroma is sweet, creamy, light and slightly sour. The sweetness is given by the high concentration of amino acids, in particular the L-theanine, and vegetable fibers. Compared to cheaper imitations, the quality of a good matcha stands out clearly: the powder of simple green tea contains few amino acids, therefore the sour taste is very marked, and the very bitter taste is unpleasant.
Components Matcha tea contains amino acids, including L-theanine, which is formed during the long shading period. Amino acids have a relaxing effect and they give a note of delicacy to the lively character of the tea.
Usually hot water is poured on green or black teas leaves. The drink that is obtained is therefore an extract of the tea leaves. The real leaves are removed and eliminated. In this way, only a small part of the tea components are soluble in water, 10% or 20% depending on the tea variety and the type of tea.
Drinking Matcha, instead, means drinking the whole ground leaf, so it takes on a higher concentration of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals present in green tea.
Healthy elements contained in matcha
• Antioxidants: tea catechins, in particular EGCG (Epigallocatechin) belongs to flavonoids, a subgroup of polyphenols. It constitutes up to 30% of the dry substance of green tea and offers many beneficial effects. Matcha contains 70 mg per gram, which is considerably higher than that contained in green tea bags
• Amino Acids: L-theanine is an amino acid found almost exclusively in green tea. It has calming and relaxing properties, as well as an antagonistic action to that of the tea.
• Theanine: it is the caffeine of tea. Caffeine is known for its stimulating action
• Aluminum, Iron and other minerals: tea drinking accounts for a high proportion of aluminum in the human diet. The levels are safe, but there has been some concern that aluminum traces may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study additionally indicated that some teas contained possibly risky amounts of lead (mostly Chinese) and aluminum (Indian/Sri Lanka blends, China). Most studies have found no association between tea intake and iron absorption. However, drinking excessive amounts of black tea may inhibit the absorption of iron, and may harm people with anaemia.
• Oxalates: tea contains oxalate, overconsumption of which can cause kidney stones, as well as binding with free calcium in the body. The bioavailability of oxalate from tea is low, thus a possible negative effect requires a large intake of tea.
Matcha compared to common green tea and coffee
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