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Power Smoothie Recipe: Drink Up Matcha Green Tea’s Benefits

March 18, 2014

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Green tea has long been a popular superfood, but to tap into its most nutritionally powerful form, you may need to think beyond the teabag. If you’ve never heard of matcha, it’s a fine green tea powder that has been used in Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries and by Zen Buddhists who valued the tea for its unique therapeutic properties. These traditions hold that drinking this tea is the ultimate path to clarity, energy and better health, and they just might be onto something! 

Although kombucha may seem like the rock star of teas right now, matcha might be taking center stage soon. Authentic matcha derives from the shade-grown green tea plant Camellia Sinensis, and the fine stone-ground powder is made from its carefully cultivated tea leaves, called tencha (as opposed to sun-grown sencha leaves). Because the plant grows in darkness, it produces leaves that are actually 10 times as potent as other green teas in its antioxidants, chlorophyll, and amino acid content. It’s also higher in vitamins and minerals, with some of the standouts of the group being fiber (both soluble and insoluble), beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C, and iron. 

Sure, you can get tencha leaves in tea bags, but with matcha powder you are actually consuming the entire tea leaf, because there is no steeping involved. This unique, nourishing super food is a great way to start off your morning or rescue you from a mid-day slump. Here are some other reasons to make a cuppa with this super-powder: 

It’s antioxidant-rich. One cup of matcha contains 70 times the antioxidants of a glass of orange juice. Plus, it is chock full of catechins, a type of polyphenol that has antiviral and immune-boosting properties. It’s particularly high in the cancer-fighting catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This compound is 137 times greater in matcha than in bagged green tea!

It’s low in caffeine.Matcha is totally energizing but surprisingly low in caffeine, containing only 35 milligrams a serving compared to the 100 ml in the average  cup of coffee. All you need is a ½ of teaspoon to a teaspoon of the powder for most drink recipes to enjoy its faintly sweet, grassy taste and flavor. 

It’s calming. Matcha contains a brain-stimulating amino acid, L-theanine, which has been found to reduce stress, relax the mind, and trigger alpha-brain wave activity that may help to boost your concentration and alertness.

It’s versatile.Beyond tea, try experimenting with matcha by adding it to yogurt, tofu dishes, pancake batter, sauces or salad dressings, and more. You can even infuse the cooking water of your rice or soba noodles with it, but be forewarned:Matcha turns everything it touches into a nice solid shade of green—quite fitting for a post-St. Patty’s breakfast drink!

Try this frothy, energizing, and earthy matcha frappe to get started. It’s one of my favorites!

Vegan Coconut Matcha Smoothie

  • ½ cup of coconut or almond milk-based yogurt (I like So Delicious and Almond Dream)
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • One small handful of raspberries or blueberries (optional)
  • 1 tsp matcha

Add ingredients to blender, mix and enjoy!

What kind of green tea do you like to drink? Share in the comments below!