It is that time of year when a cozy cup of tea seems to be my constant companion. I have shared my love of tea with you in the past on this post, but I want to talk specifically about Matcha Green Tea and the benefit for women with PCOS.
What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha literally means “powdered tea.” It dates back to 1191, discovered by Zen monks in China and brought back to Japan for its medicinal powers. It also enabled monks to meditate for hours. For centuries, Matcha tea was the exclusive beverage for monks, the imperial court, and the Samurai class. Matcha is the most premium variety of shade grown Japanese green tea traditionally used in tea ceremonies in Japan for over 800 years. Matcha is actually tea leaves ground into a fine, beautiful green powder using granite grinding wheels. The entire leaf is used and includes key nutrients and benefits that most teas throw away. You ingest the entire leaf – not just an infusion.
Matcha green tea contains up to 5 times more L-theanine than conventional green tea. L-theanine is an amino acid that is capable of inducing alpha wave activity in the brain. Alpha wave activity can relieve stress, promote relaxation and even lower blood pressure. Stress is known to induce the brain’s beta wave activity, leading to a more agitated state.I also find that the L-theanine also provides mental clarity and natural levels of energy. When it the L-theanine in matcha combines with tea caffeine, our body absorbs it slowly, there isn’t the same crash as with coffee. During long hours of sitting, monks would drink matcha to remain alert yet calm.
Matcha is a wonderful source of antioxidants
In addition to providing trace minerals and vitamins (A, B-complex, C, E, and K), matcha is rich in catechin polyphenols – compounds with high antioxidant activity. These compounds offer protection against many kinds of cancer, help prevent cardiovascular disease and slow the aging process. They also reduce harmful cholesterol in the blood. In fact a 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that administration of green tea beverages or extracts significantly lowered serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Green tea also stabilizes blood sugar levels, help reduce high blood pressure and enhance the resistance of the body to many toxins. ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) test results have shown that 1 gram of matcha contains over 1300 ORAC units. Compare this to pomegranates at 105 units per gram or blueberries 91 units. Matcha has 2 times as many units as of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, and 60.5 times that of spinach. A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea.
I could go on and on about the benefits of green tea and matcha. It has been shown to increase metabolism, strengthen immune system, help with fatty liver disease, control appetite, reduce androgens, slows hair loss, help prevent cancer and more. But I drink it not only for the health benefits, but for pleasure as well.
Where to buy matcha
I purchase my Matcha from MatchaSource.com. I also like Pique Tea for when I am away from home. You want to use only organic matcha, as matcha that is not organic is often high in pesticide and herbicide residue and has often been fed with high nitrogen fertilizers. To make it fun, purchase a tea bowl and whisk too. This site has some beautiful handcrafted bowls.
Preparing matcha is a calming and centering ritual. You can’t rush it. It is time to slow down and become more mindful. – take in the beauty of the moment.
1. Sift about 1/2 tsp. of matcha with a small sifter into a tea bowl.
2. You don’t want to use boiling water. I usually boil the water and then let is sit for 5 minutes. Then I add to the tea bowl. If you add boiling water the tea will taste “grassy.”
3. Whisk vigorously with a tea whisk until frothy.