For thousands of years, Asian cultures have used green tea as a source of necessary nutrients, energy and healthy life. Japan has the highest life-expectancy and is one of the most productive countries in the world. Some researches this remarkable longevity to the well-known tradition of tea consumption. Rich in antioxidants, green tea provides just enough caffeine to stay alert, but not so much to cause a “crash” later in the day.
In the West, one of the new green teas gaining in popularity is matcha. The Japanese tea plants grow in a shade for several weeks. Right after harvest, the leaves are steamed to stop fermentation. After drying, they’re ground into a fine powder. The matcha tea can be quite expensive because this process is very slow and deliberate. Some sources maintain that it can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of the powder.
The nutritional value of this green tea is very high, because one actually consumes the leaf instead of just water flavored with tea leaves. One cup of the tea powder equals ten cups of traditional green tea in terms of antioxidant and nutritional content. Very high in L-theanine and EGCG, this tea has anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. It also lowers blood-pressure and bad cholesterol. Matcha is touted as an excellent addition to a weight-loss program. It speeds up metabolism during and after exercise. It also has detoxifying capabilities. This green tea contains 100 times more Vitamin C than oranges, has more antioxidants than blueberries, and more beta carotene than spinach. With such a high nutritional and vitamin content, it is a perfect remedy for a cold.
Matcha can have a slightly grassy taste, so it is best to mix it with other beverages and foods. The Matcha green tea latte is one of the most popular drinks with the potent powder. Adding one teaspoon of the powder to one-fourth cup of hot (not boiling) water and three-fourths cup of milk, with some honey to taste, should result in a tasty treat for any time of the day. The powder can also be added to smoothies and shakes.