Nutritional properties and uses of matcha tea

A mainly plant-based diet is the type of diet that helps us achieve good health. It provides us with all the antioxidants, micronutrients and prebiotics that our body and our microbiota need to be fully functional. For this reason, drinks and foods derived from matcha tea can help us complete the supply of these valuable substances.

Beverages such as tea, coffee and mate also provide us with caffeine, which helps us reduce fatigue and improve concentration. This would be one of the main reasons why millions of people in the world make daily use of them. However, it is matcha tea that may have the most concentrated health benefits.

What is matcha tea? 

Matcha tea originates from Japan and is obtained by grinding green tea leaves (camellia sinensis) in marble or granite mills until a very fine powder is achieved. Green tea leaves are cultivated very carefully as it is done in the shade of protective fabrics to make the leaves acquire a more intense green color and a greater amount of amino acids . They are then harvested during the fall and go through a steam treatment. Finally, drying is carried out, which will allow grinding and obtaining a good quality product.  

There are basically two types of matcha tea: traditional (first and second harvest) and daily matcha (second and third harvest) which is the one that concentrates the highest amount of antioxidants.

Currently, due to the great interest that matcha tea arouses, it is easy to buy it in establishments dedicated to tea and other types of infusions, in some large supermarkets and in specialized online stores such as Matcha & CO .

matcha tea

What are its nutritional properties?  

As matcha tea is made with the same tea leaves converted into powder, the contribution of fiber and especially antioxidants  is exponentially greater than if we consume the leaf contained in a bag or in an infuser. Matcha tea is characterized by a high level of antioxidant substances (flavonoids 1968.8 mg/L; polyphenols 1765.1 mg/L; vitamin C 44.3 mg).

Being a food with high antioxidant power due to its richness in epicatechins,  it helps us mitigate chronic inflammation, which keeps us away from premature aging by counteracting free radicals generated by both external and internal stress. In fact, antioxidants from food and not from supplements are the ones recommended for good health and to delay the onset of chronic diseases. These diseases present with systemic inflammation , as occurs in metabolic syndrome, which increases cardiovascular risk and occurs when three of the following risk factors coincide: high blood glucose, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides. 

There are many other chronic diseases that also cause generalized inflammation and that would benefit from the consumption of foods and beverages rich in antioxidants and fiber . Although the ideal is to work on preventing them and thus build a daily diet that allows alleviating the phenomena of inflammation and aging that take place daily in our body and that increase as time goes by. 

Matcha tea also contains L-Theanine , which is an amino acid that helps relaxation and calm, without having a sedative effect; in other words, it stimulates concentration and attention, synergistically with caffeine. Specifically, L-theanine behaves as an inhibitor of glutamate reuptake in the brain and also has a neuroprotective effect.

As for caffeine , matcha tea provides about 35 mg per glass, while a cup of coffee provides around 125 mg, so even if we consume about three glasses of matcha tea daily, we will not exceed 3g/kg of body weight. caffeine, which are considered adequate to reduce fatigue and increase concentration , but without causing insomnia, tachycardia or muscle tremors. 

When there are gastrointestinal problems and also in sports nutrition, these generally recommended doses can be considerably reduced, even recommending momentarily suspending the consumption of stimulant drinks. For this reason, dietary and hydration guidelines should always be personalized, especially when there are underlying health problems. 

matcha tea pastry

How is matcha tea used? 

In Japan it is used especially for the traditional tea ceremony , diluting matcha tea in water. In the rest of the world it is also the most common way of consuming it, although the matcha latte is gaining more and more followers and basically consists of diluting the powder in milk or a vegetable drink. However, it can also be used in different sweet or savory preparations for the purpose of coloring and flavoring products such as moci and soba noodles , green tea ice cream , and a variety of wagashi sweets .

Healthy recipe ideas with matcha tea

Matcha tea and pineapple smoothie

Ingredients: 250 ml. soy drink, 100 gr. of fresh pineapple, 15 gr. matcha tea powder

Preparation: add all the ingredients in the blender and blend until you get a homogeneous mixture and serve.

Oatmeal, apple and walnut cake

Ingredients: 2 medium apples, 120g oat flakes, 4 medium eggs, 5-6 walnuts, 1 dessert spoon of pumpkin seeds, 1 soup spoon of vanilla essence and 1 dessert spoon of matcha tea . 

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 200º. Dice the apples, add cinnamon to taste and place on a baking tray. Bake the apple for 10 minutes to enhance its sweet flavor. Separately, mix the oat flakes, the eggs, 5 chopped walnuts, the vanilla essence and the matcha tea in a blender glass. Blend everything until there is a homogeneous mixture. Later, add the apple and crush everything. 

Add the mixture to the container that you are going to put in the oven. On top add the pumpkin seeds, 1 chopped walnut and apple slices. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 170º. Let cool for 10-15 minutes at room temperature. Store in the fridge

Watermelon gazpacho and matcha tea

Ingredients: 3 ripe tomatoes, ½ kilo of watermelon, 100 gr. of red pepper, half a clove of garlic, 50 ml of olive oil, basil, 1 dessert spoon of sherry vinegar and another of matcha tea and salt.

Preparation: Place all the ingredients in the blender, except for the oil, and blend until you obtain a homogeneous mixture. Finally add the olive oil and stir until smooth again. Plate and decorate with basil leaves. 

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