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  • Writer's pictureKim Smolders

Matcha Power.

Matcha is my new best friend.

Drinking coffee every morning was not agreeing with me. I was getting headaches after drinking it on an empty stomach, and as I do time restricted fasting, I wanted to find a nutritious drink that kept me in a fasted state but that still gave me energy.

What is matcha?

Matcha is a green tea power house. It comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, grown in certain areas of Japan where the climate and conditions allow for the most nutritious matcha to grow. Twenty to thirty days before harvest, the matcha leaves are covered to avoid direct sunlight. The shade increases the amount of chlorophyll content in the leaves, which is what makes them bright green and full of nutrients and boosts the amino acid content. The leaves are picked by hand and the stems and veins are removed before they are ground up into a fine powder. Due to the fact that matcha contains the entire leaf, matcha has higher caffeine and antioxidant levels than regular green tea.

The best matcha.

Be sure to choose ceremonial grade matcha grown in Uji, which has a creamy texture and is bright green in colour, denoting the intensity of the EGCG.

The consistency of the matcha should be smooth and fine. It should not be grainy powder. When you smear it on a white piece of paper, it should leave a long, almost moist, clean line with no breaks.

When tasting the matcha, you should feel the balance of earthy flavours - vegal notes, a pleasant and soft bitterness, nuttiness and a smooth sweetness.

The benefits of matcha.

Matcha contains high levels of EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) which is considered a powerful polyphenol. It acts as a potent antioxidant, which we all know have numerous health benefits. Primarily it is anti-inflammatory. EGCG protects your cells from damage associated with oxidative stress and suppresses the activity of pro-inflammatory chemicals produced in your body. Inflammation is linked to many health issues and illnesses, so suppressing this is a main reason matcha is so great for you!

Matcha also contains high levels of the amino acid L-theanine, produced from its shade-growing environment. L-theanine is great for cognitive function as it increases serotonin and dopamine levels, which can improve mood, learning and memory. It has also been shown to increase glutathione levels, the body's natural and most important detoxification molecule.

Matcha's anti-inflammatory effect on the body is as far reaching as the brain, with observational studies showing a reduced risk of age-related decline in people consuming matcha. It is also thought to be kind to the heart with studies showing reduced blood pressure and a drop in LDL levels, the bad cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Even cancer has been shows to be suppressed.

Morning rituals.

Every morning I take time to make myself the perfect cup of matcha. A small teaspoon, add not-quite-boiling water, and whisk away until the top becomes beautifully frothy. That action alone is almost therapeutic and a moment of morning mindfulness, knowing you are caring for your mind and body.

For a variation to the pure matcha, you can also add it to your favourite plant-based milk or sprinkle it on your kefir or coconut yoghurt for a more exotic experience.

It can also be used in baking, sprinkled on ice-cream and in smoothies as a great healthy booster!


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