Rich in antioxidants and pleasant in taste, teas of all sorts have become more popular in the West today, perhaps even surpassing its chief competitor – dark and bitter coffee. From old wives tales to legends, from shamans to scientists, for centuries now teas have been rumored to help combat cancer, strengthen bones, teeth and immune system, reduce stress, and even increase longevity.
Green teas especially are enjoying a newfound popularity due to its potent antioxidant levels. Even though it has less than half the caffeine of black tea, green tea offers the same level of alertness but with lesser impact on the central nervous system. It also metabolizes very slowly, over three to six hours, so the energy last longer.
The golden child of green teas is matcha. This antioxidant powerhouse is sold as green powder. It is made out of shade-grown, finely milled Japanese tencha leaf. Zen Buddhist monks have used matcha for nearly 1,000 years. The tea has high L-theanine levels which improve clarity of mind and offset the jittery effects of caffeine. Drinking just one cup of matcha a day will significantly improve skin tone and provide a jolt of energy. The tea is also credited with helping in weight loss, as it significantly speeds up metabolism. A favorite among athletes, especially bodybuilders, studies show that matcha improves resting metabolic rate and fat burning during exercise. The tea also lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.
While teas have always been known to have detoxifying properties, some believe that matcha is especially effective in that role. Because its tea plants are grown in a shade, matcha has higher concentrations of chlorophyll. Although studies have not confirmed it yet, there are reasons to believe that chlorophyll helps rebuild red blood cells and stops metabolism of some harmful chemicals within the body. Often touted as the “elixir of the immortals” by the Chinese, matcha tea fights oxidative stress of the skin, or inflammation. Inflammation is one of the most common factors contributing to adult acne and aging skin, including fine lines and wrinkles. One can buy matcha green tea in most health food stores and online.