By Ava Aschettino
Move over, coffee! Matcha is taking the world by storm, becoming the trendier, healthier start to your day. Coffee enthusiasts across the map are dropping their cappuccinos and making the switch over to matcha for its distinguished taste and health benefits. But what exactly is matcha?
Matcha is a powdered Japanese green tea that is not only unique in taste, but rocks a distinguished shade of green. The Washington Post defines matcha as green tea leaves crushed into a fine, electric green powder. The powder is then whisked into warm or hot water, and it dissolves into a frothy drink. According to Healthline.com, Matcha contains the nutrients from the entire green tea leaf (coming from the Camellia sinensis plant), which results in a greater amount of caffeine and antioxidants than what is typically found in regular green tea.
What are the benefits of switching to matcha, you may ask? Well, there are many. For starters, matcha is high in antioxidants, according to Healthline. Antioxidants help manage harmful ‘free radicals’ which lead to cell damage or even chronic disease. Drinking matcha is also linked to reducing your stress levels by releasing alpha brain waves as well as giving you a caffeine boost that can take up to three hours to be absorbed, according to Medium.com.
Unlike coffee, which has a steep caffeine startup and drop off rate, the energy boost and decline from matcha is gradual, eliminating the jitters from intaking coffee. Healthline explains that when drinking coffee, “your body rapidly absorbs up to 99% of its caffeine, meaning that the compound may reach peak blood concentration levels as soon as 15 minutes after intake.”
Matcha is also linked to clearing skin and has powerful anti-aging properties. It protects against ultraviolet radiation and reduces the look of fatigue in skin. So, it seems as if matcha is the ‘Fountain of Youth’ of the caffeine world!
Additionally, matcha is linked to reducing the risk of cancer, triggering apoptosis in the cells (which is a process that kills cells, and in this case, harmful surpluses). This ‘miracle drink’ is also tied to improving digestion by lowering cholesterol and decreasing blood sugar levels as well as improving your immune system with an influx of vitamins, according to Medium.
Want to lose a few pounds? The antioxidants such as catechins actually improve digestion and result in an escalated fat burn rate. And one of the more noticeable benefits of grabbing a matcha over your morning cup of joe is the effect it has on your breath! Coffee is known to stain your teeth and coat your mouth in a foul odor. With matcha, not only do you not get ‘coffee breath,’ but it provides an “antibacterial protection for teeth, prevent[ing] teeth plaque from building up, and improv[ing] mouth cavity health,” according to Medium.
It seems as if matcha is the obvious choice to either start your day, consume as a ‘pick me up,’ or drink just because it's delicious!
Now there are cons to choosing matcha as your preferred caffeinator. Healthline claims that matcha is often more expensive, less commonly sold, could possibly contain metal contaminants (in very rare cases), and may increase your risk of liver damage. And, hey, coffee has its pros too; it is less expensive, can lower your risk of diabetes (type 2), and is highly accessible. However, drinking coffee can lead to dependence and often has unintended side effects, including insomnia, jitters, an increase in heart rate, headaches, anxiety, or even withdrawal. While both drinks have their flaws, the benefits of grabbing a matcha over a coffee far outweigh coffee in its entirety.
So, splurge! If you have a choice between a coffee and a matcha, matcha is the way to go. It not only has a laundry list of health benefits, but its earthy taste is paired with a vibrant green facade that is sure to brighten your day!
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