The Superfood Lowdown: Matcha
Matcha always divides opinions in pollen HQ: some love the taste and can't get enough, others avoid it at all costs, comparing it to swamp water at best - matcha's basically the new marmite. And although we all have to agree that getting a little over excited with the portion size never ends well on the taste side of things (or if you want to get an early night), adding the right amount with certain complimentary ingredients makes for a delicious outcome. Creamy matcha latte's have almost become a daily ritual, our raw matcha square is as popular as ever and London truly seems to be in a matcha craze - every good cafe, deli and eatery now has at least one matcha offering on the menu. And the best part, it's actually completely worth the hype - we take a look at the health benefits below.
About: A long standing tradition, and used for over a millennium in Japanese culture, matcha powder is made from the nutrient dense young leaves from the tips of shade-grown Camellia sinensis plants. They are steamed, stemmed and de-vined then stone ground into a very fine powder, which is then stored away from light and oxygen to preserve the bright green colour we associate with matcha powder. Meaning simply 'green tea', matcha powder comes from the same plant used for green tea - the only difference being that you are consuming the actual leaves rather than brewing them in water.
Nutritional Breakdown: Matcha powder is a great source of antioxidants - the highest of all the superfood powders, which helps prevent ageing and chronic diseases. Matcha is also the only source of EGCg which helps counteract the effects of free radicals from pollution, radiation, UV rays etc, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. It is also rich in fibre and vitamins, as well as being a key source of chlorophyll which helps detox the body.
Why it's good for you:
Energy Boosting: Containing caffeiene, as well as L-Theanine, matcha provides a steady and prolonged energy boost without and notable peaks or 'comedowns'.
Detoxing: Due to the high levels of chlopryphyll (the same element that gives it it's green colour), matcha helps to naturally cleanse and detox the body of harmful elements and chemicals.
Calming: Although matcha is great for boosting energy levels, due to the rich levels of L-Theanine, it also provides a state of relaxation by promoting alpha waves, which lead to a state of relaxed alertness - which is why it is used by monks and popular within meditation.
Promotes Clarity: Again down to the L-Theanine which also promotes the release of dopamine and serotonin, matcha provides concentration and clarity of mind without any of the nervous energy associated with other caffeinated drinks, as well as improving overall mood.
Metabolism Boosting: Matcha powder has been proven to increase the metabolism and help burn calories faster if consumed regularly.
Immune Boosting: The catechins in matcha powder have been shown to have antibiotic properties which promote overall health, as well as providing substantial quantities of potassium, vitamins A & C, iron, protein, and calcium.
Away from our daily frothy lattes, we also add a heap of matcha to our raw matcha squares, which we also keep date free for a low fructose sweet and to enhance the matcha's flavour profile - pick one up London-wide to try for yourself.