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Cha Cha for Matcha

By Lauren Peller

Tired of suffering from the side effects of drinking coffee in the morning, but need the caffeine boost? Some people are giving a green cup of Matcha tea a try and banking on the health benefits of its vitamins and antioxidants to give them the extra burst of energy they crave.

Matcha uses green tea leaves and grinds them into a powder, which you can dissolve in hot water. It looks like a cup of vivid green froth. In actuality, you are ingesting the whole leaf as opposed to traditional tea in which leaves are merely steeped in water. Therefore, you directly consume the health benefits including the amino acid L-theanine which studies have shown to provide a calming effect. Combine L-theanine with caffeine and you may feel alert and focused without the jitters and stomach issues from many cups of coffee.

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The use of Matcha has been recorded since Asia’s 12th century and was most prominently guzzled by the monks during their meditation and by Samurai warriors before going into battle.

According to Vandana Sheth, a registered dietician, Matcha has caffeine effects that last longer because they are slowly released into the body, possibly over 3 to 6 hours.  Instead of the quick and short-lived boost of energy from coffee, Matcha produces a more gradual and more prolonged benefit.

If you are courageous enough to try this trendy drink, you will also be discovering another potent source rich in antioxidants. Whether it provides protection against heart disease, cancer, blood sugar regulation, or blood pressure reduction, the fact is that there may be long term health benefits that you find compelling.

If I have captured your attention, and you want to run and buy Matcha at the store, you may be wondering: will it taste like freshly mowed grass? I’m not going to lie. You may need to sweeten it up and give yourself time to develop a taste for it. Aficionados recommend that you will need to pay for high quality Matcha to guarantee the best tasting teas. If that doesn’t do the trick, many have incorporated Matcha in their foods, concocting delicacies such as Matcha muffins, puddings, pancakes, and guacamole. As always, try Matcha in moderation until you know that it is something you want to include regularly in your diet. Once you’ve made that decision, the only limit to fully incorporating it into your diet is your imagination.

I tried Matcha and thought it tasted similar to a concentrated form of green tea. Until I experiment with it a bit more, I am reserving my judgment on the Matcha trend.

Photo by Lauren Peller

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