You may have seen countless matcha latte’s and even the odd batch of green cookies on your Instagram feed but what exactly is Matcha powder and why exactly is it so superior to coffee?
For many people, waking up and grabbing a cup of the black stuff has become a ritual – something on which many people depend upon ‘just to function’ in the mornings and many claim that they wouldn’t be able to live without it. But that might be about to change as there’s a new kid on the block – and a much superior kid at that.
I’ll be the first to admit that Coffee tastes great, but does anyone ever stop and think about the negative consequences that it’s having on our health? There’s so much emphasis on what we eat and how it affects our bodies – but what about what we’re drinking? Studies have long shown that Coffee has a number of negative impacts on our health, including:
- Stimulates the production of stomach acid, resulting in heartburn
- Irritates the small intestine and is a major contribruting factor to stomach problems such as IBS and even ulcers
- Coffee negatively effects mineral absorption, making it difficult for the body to absorb vital vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc
- Promotes the release of stress hormones and increases tension
- Can cause insomnia and restlessness
- Acts as a natural diuretic, making you more likely to become dehydrated
- Highly addictive due to the high levels of caffeine
Matcha powder on the other hand exhibits none of the side effects that coffee does. This finely milled, powered green tea has been consumed for centuries in the far east and is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, and thanks to its abundance of benefits now ranks as one of the worlds most popular superfoods. But don’t be fooled into thinking that all green tea was created equal – whilst regular green tea bags still exhibit many of these benefits, they’re in a much less concentrated form whereas with Matcha powder you’re consuming all of the valuable nutrients directly from the leaf, rather than it going straight in the bin! From its abililty to boost energy levels, increase metabolism and protect against ageing, matcha is a delicious way to kick the caffeine addiction.
- Increases Energy Levels without Side Effects We all know that coffee contains high levels of caffeine and whilst this may help you feel more awake, it also comes with several drawbacks. Coffee causes a spike in the bodies adrenaline, glucose and insulin levels which will leave you feeling awake for a short period of time but is then followed by a crash and as a result, many of us are left feeling tired, nervous, jittery and craving another cup of the black stuff. Matcha on the other hand doesn’t cause the same spike; whilst it still contains caffeine, it also contains the phytonutrient L-Theanine which allows the caffeine to be released in the body over a slower period of time, leaving you feeling energised for longer. And as for the jitters, the same phytonutrient helps to calm the brain and relieve feelings of stress – so you get all of the energy with no side effects!
- Naturally Detoxifies The Body Chlorophyll may be what gives matcha its pretty green colour, but don’t underestimate it’s power. This powerful substances qualifies matcha as an effective detoxifier, helping to naturally remove chemicals and toxins from the body.
- Rich in Antioxidants Matcha is an incredible source of antioxidants and packs in more per gram than any other food source including goji berries, dark chocolate, acai and spinach! Matcha contains an array of antioxidant compounds including flavonoids and polyphenols but the most prominent are catechins, of which the most abundant is EGCG. Catechins are the most potent and powerful form of antioxidant and possess both anti inflammatory and anti ageing properties, along with the ability to prevent diseases such as cancer. This concentrated powder packs in 137 times more catechins than ordinary green tea – pretty amazing, right?!
- Boosts your metabolism For years green tea has been renowned for its metabolism boosting effects and this is only maximised when consuming matcha powder. Matcha increases thermogenesis (the rate at which your body burns calories) by up to four times and also increases fat oxidisation whilst reducing fat absorbtion too.
- Supports Brain Health The catechins found in green tea have shown to protect the brain’s nerve cells and reduce decline in brain function, which is specifically beneficial in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Matcha has also shown to improve concentration and focus by increasing secretion of serotonin and dopamine – both of these hormones are essential neurotransmitters which prevent depression and stabilise mood.
- No coffee breath Whilst coffee will leave you with stained teeth and a nasty taste in your mouth, matcha does the exact opposite; several studies have proven green tea to have powerful anti bacterial effects, thus helping to fight bacteria that causes both gum disease and tooth decay. And as for that lingering taste and smell, green tea’s natural disinfectant properties help to ward off bad breath.
- Increases Bone Strength Matcha has shown to be beneficial for increasing bone strength by raising the number of osteoblasts (cells that build bone) and decreasing the number of osteoclasts (cells that break down bone). This can be particularly beneficial for those suffering from menopause or nutritional deficiencies.
- Clearer Skin It’s no secret that coffee is the cause of many skin conditions including outbreaks of acne whereas matcha’s anti-bacterial properties can help to clear and ward off ane breakouts, leaving your skin glowing. For this reason Japanese women have used matcha as a face mask for centuries.
- Boosts your immunity If you’re looking to strengthen your immune system then Matcha is the answer; it offers a powerful combination of iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A & C, all of which work in tandem to strengthen the immune system and ensure that it is functioning properly.
- Anti-Ageing There are thousands of products targeted at anti-ageing but what if all of those useless lotions and potions could be replaced by a certain green powder? The abundance of antioxidants found in Matcha powder work at fighting free radicals which are a key cause of ageing. The active ingredients in Matcha also prevent harmful UV damage, thus reducing wrinkles and improving skin elasticity.
This is not me in any way telling you that you can never drink coffee again, in fact I’m quite partial to the odd flat white or mocha protein bar myself but where possible, I think that we should all move towards making positive changes and nourishing our bodies with healthier alternatives. At the end of the day, life is all about balance – just know what’s good for you and makes sure that you’re enjoying a range of delicious food and drink at the same time. And if you want coffee, then have a damn coffee – I’m in no means advocating that you deprive yourself! But when it has so many benefits and tastes delicious, why wouldn’t you want to whip yourself up a matcha latte?