Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world; in fact, it is the most widely consumed beverage after water. The main types of teas are green, black, white, and oolong, and Pu’erh. All tea varieties come from the plant Camellia sinensis, but the leaves are oxidized and processed differently. Herbals teas, also known as tisanes, do not come from the same plant source and instead originate from spices, flowers and leaves of plants including fruits and herbs.
Green tea has very high levels of antioxidants since its leaves have not been fermented. It is especially high in flavonoids, which have been shown to have many health benefits, including a decreased risk of heart disease, lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, decreased inflammation, improved memory and reduced risk of cancer.
There are may different types of green tea, but matcha green tea has been getting a lot of recognition for its health benefits, especially as a fat-burner and cancer-fighter. It is finely concentrated ground up tea leaves that possess more nutrients that steeped green tea. Additionally, it has a higher level of chlorophyll and amino acids since the tea plant is covered for 3-4 weeks and is not directly in the sun.
Matcha is known to be high in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a catechin, which is a type of antioxidant. Some research shows that may promote weight loss, as was shown in a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It may also boost exercise performance, and help to protect against diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Additionally, matcha is high in L-theanine, which is an amino acid shown to help with anxiety and induce calming.
While matcha green tea has more caffeine than other green teas, it still has less caffeine that coffee. It is high in many beneficial compounds and is worth adding to a healthy diet.
Denise Groothuis MS RD CFMP