Today I’d like to speak about a very special type of green tea characterized by incredible properties: the matcha tea. We’ll see the benefits for the health of this kind of green tea and the best way to drink it by preserving its properties.
The matcha tea doesn’t look like the other green teas that consist of leaves to be infused, matcha tea is instead a green powder that should be dissolved in water.
This is the strenght of matcha tea, obtained from the best qualities of Gyokuro, one of the most valuable Japanese green tea. The matcha powder is drunk together with water and not filtered as it happens for green tea leaves. In this way, by drinking directly all parts of matcha tea, it is possible to obtain all the benefits. This doesn’t happen with infusion because a lot of elements that are important for our health remain on the leaves, which are filtered and removed from the tea.
But what are the health benefits of matcha tea? First of all we are speaking about antioxidants, 100 times more than “normal” green tea. For this reason this kind of green tea is a powerful ally against aging and has a detox effect, matcha tea should always be present in our daily disease prevention like diabetes, cancer or problems related to the cardiovascular system.
Matcha tea is rich in vitamins C, group B and K. In matcha tea it is possible to find also minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper. Matcha tea, thanks to these features, is able to lower the sugar level and the cholesterol in blood and to improve the ability to concentrate. And matcha tea helps us to lose weight! But what I’d like to underline that green tea in general, but matcha tea in particular because of the way we drink it, should be preferred drinks for those people who want to keep health and to prevent diseases like cancers with diet and life style.
A lot of studies are published about the benefits of green tea, in this post I’d like to mention one of the most recent studies performed by dr. Wai-Nang Lee and coworkers of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed): they studied the behavior of the EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), an antioxidant found in green tea, in presence of cancer pancreatic cells. EGCG was able to kill an enzyme associated with the cancer. But we should not forget the statements of the French doctor David Servan-Schreiber in his book “Anti cancer”: green tea is rich in polyphenols able to decrease the vascularization that causes cancer cells to grow. My advice is to read this book.
But how can we prepare a good matcha tea? First of all it would be better to buy an organic tea, in case of matcha tea it is even more important than other green teas because all parts of tea are drunk, so we need the completely absence of pesticides. Then, the matcha tea you want to buy should be tested through analysis about the presence of heavy metals and radionuclides, especially after Fukushima. It is obvious that such elements should not be present in a green tea of high quality. Where can you buy matcha powder? It is purchased in the best organic food shops or specialized tea shops.
In addition to this, you should always prefer the best quality of matcha tea, that obtained from the buds of the early crops, it will be a little expensive but will offer all the benefits. And, if matcha tea is of high quality, you should just take 2-3 teaspoons of powder, be careful that the spoon should not be made of metal, and dissolve it in two liters of water, even cold or at room temperature. Mix it and you’ll see that your tea will become of a dark green color and ready to be drunk. The strength of matcha tea is that it should not be heated and in this way there is no risk to destroy the nutrients inside it! But, if the quality is not very high, you should heat water in order to dissolve the powder of matcha tea, but do not exceed 60 °C.
Matcha tea is a wonderful way to fight thirst also in summer, when outside it is so warm that hot tea isn’t a good idea at all. Remember that, once you open matcha tea, keep it in the fridge, protecting it from light and for a period of time not longer than 2 months.
Then, matcha tea contains caffeine, so avoid drinking it in the evening and do not exceed three/four cups of matcha tea a day.
At the end of this post I have for you a couple of curiosities: thanks to its green color matcha tea is often used to prepare ice creams, cakes and biscuits. But in this way the healthy aspect and the ability to prevent diseases of matcha tea are lowered, or even lost. So, if you use matcha tea in order to make your dishes nice and colorful ok, but in this case don’t consider matcha’s benefits.
And finally, matcha tea is used in Japanese tea ceremonies. I remember that some years ago I attended to a tea ceremony thanks to a Japanese lyrical singer who was visiting my town, and it was something special for me. It was fascinating to observe the girl, dressed in traditional kimono, adding and mixing the powder of matcha tea until it was completely dissolved in water. All the scene was full of serenity and harmony far away from stress. Ok, we are not Japanese and we don’t know the ritual but I think that a cup of matcha tea is able to let us relax and have a few minutes just for us.