Used for centuries as part of Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha tea is having a moment thanks to its vibrant, Instagrammable color and its host of health benefits. (In fact, more research seems to be released every month about the health benefits of matcha tea.) Discover what distinguishes matcha from other green teas, why matcha is good for you, plus how to incorporate it into your menu. You’ll be “going green” in no time.
What is Matcha?
Camellia sinensis is the plant that produces the potent green tea leaves used to make matcha. Unlike most other green teas, matcha is grown in partial shade, which increases the chlorophyll content of the leaves. These whole leaves are called “tencha.” The stems and veins are removed prior to packaging, then its stone-ground into a powder and deemed “matcha.” Common practice calls for whisking it into water to form a frothy, green, mild- and earthy-flavored drink.
What are the Health Benefits of Matcha?
“All tea leaves contain antioxidants in some amounts,” says Jenna A. Werner, R.D., creator of Happy Slim Healthy. “But matcha tea has been noted to have larger quantities of antioxidants compared to other green teas.”
“EGCG is specifically linked to preventing cancer cells from replicating, but it’s linked to a whole host of other benefits as well, including improving blood flow and preventing inflammation linked to rheumatoid arthritis,” Batayneh says.
A study from Consumer Labs found that on average, one serving of matcha contained 73 to 119 mg of EGCG, compared with 20 to 80 milligrams per serving of regular green tea.