Matcha green tea is an excellent choice for a caffeine fix in the middle of a juice cleanse... or anytime, really. What makes this ancient Eastern ceremonial tea superior to coffee, energy drinks, and other varieties of tea? Here's a breakdown of matcha's numerous weight loss, health, mood, and beauty benefits...
The Benefits of Matcha Green Tea:
- Boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight faster
- Provides calm, jitter-free energy
- Loaded with antioxidants
- Enhances concentration and memory
- Highly alkalizing
- Prevents visible signs of aging
- Fights inflammation
- Strengthens the immune system
- Provides 10 times the nutritional content of ordinary green tea!
Why I Started Swapping Out Coffee for Matcha
As a diehard coffee junkie myself, I feel fairly confident I’ll never say the words, “Don’t drink coffee”. Coffee’s been my most loyal daily companion since this one time circa 2002 that I had to pull an all-nighter finishing a book report on The Hobbit. I digress. Whether it’s more of a physiological dependence or just a neurosis, the day doesn’t start for me until I’ve had a cup.
Once upon a time, I was drinking 6 or 7 cups of coffee a day. As you might imagine, my sleep schedule was all kinds of f’d up, disproportionate anxiety was my baseline state of being, and I felt like a total spaz... more often than not. About six months ago, fed up with the multitude of ways chronic insomnia was screwing with the quality of my day-to-day life, I decided to get diligent about loosening coffee’s grip on my body and brain.
Enter matcha green tea. A cup of matcha has about half the caffeine content of a cup of regular black coffee but will do more for your mind than just providing an energy boost. A cup of matcha tea has ten times the nutrition of ordinary green tea.
The rich nutrient content in matcha green tea has a lot to do with the way it is prepared. Whereas other teas are made by steeping leaves in water and then discarding them, matcha is ground into a fine powder and prepared by whisking it with water (I like to blend it into my smoothies- see below). Thus, when you drink matcha tea, you consume the actual leaves and absorb a more concentrated dose of nutrition.
If you’re a slave to caffeine dependence like myself, you should consider giving matcha a try (especially if you struggle to balance your late-day caffeine cravings with your desire to fall asleep at a reasonable hour). Long story short, replacing my afternoon coffee with matcha has helped me to be less of a tweaker every day. But let's talk about matcha's other benefits...
Promotes Concentration & Mental Clarity
Unlike coffee, which can make you jittery and nervous, matcha green tea gives you a more relaxed, focused energy. This is due to high concentrations of the calming amino acid L-Theanine. L-Theanine not only slows the release of caffeine (minimizing the crash!), it enhances your mood, boosting levels of GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.
In other words, matcha increases the amount of happy neurotransmitters in your brain. Thus, drinking matcha helps you to feel chilled out yet alert. It’s no wonder it has a traditional history of use by Zen Buddhist monks and Samurai warriors!
Drink Matcha: Lose Weight Faster
- Increases thermogenesis = faster metabolism = burn fat faster
- Fights inflammation (chronic inflammation makes weight loss more difficult)
- Prevents new fat cells from forming
It's Great for During a Juice Cleanse...
If you're doing a juice cleanse and are a regular caffeine drinker, you shouldn’t give it up cold-turkey so as to avoid unpleasant caffeine withdrawal symptoms (unless you spend several days prior to your cleanse gradually weaning yourself off of it). Although black coffee is an acceptable option during your cleanse, it promotes acidity in the body. Energizing matcha green tea, on the other hand, promotes a healthier pH level.
Similarly to cold-pressed green juice, matcha doses you with detoxifying chlorophyll and is also highly alkaline. Alkaline-forming foods/beverages help to balance the body’s pH level. The better your body’s pH (ideally, you want to be neutral to slightly alkaline), the better you will look and feel. Alkaline pH = clearer skin, more energy, and faster weight loss! The better your body's pH, the better your results will be during a juice cleanse or anytime healthy weight loss is your aspiration.
An Awesome Dose of Antioxidants
Matcha green tea contains 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea! One of the primary reasons that matcha tea helps you lose more weight is its rich abundance of antioxidant polyphenols called catechins, most notably, EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate).
EGCG increases thermogenesis in the body, the process of burning calories in order to create heat. An increase in thermogenesis boosts metabolism, speeding up the rate at which the body burns off fat, regardless of physical activity level. EGCG has also been demonstrated to prevent the growth of new fat cells!
Anti-Aging & Skin-Beautifying Properties
Get a rich dose of skin-beautifying, cell-repairing antioxidants! Matcha's catechin polyphenols (like EGCG) are potent antioxidant compounds that defend against the free radical damage that wreaks havoc on your body’s cells. By preventing oxidative stress and inflammation, you get powerful protection against disease and signs of aging!
How to Drink Matcha
To make tea, just whisk 1-2 tsp. with hot water. Much like cold-pressed juice, it’s best to drink matcha on any empty stomach so as to maximize nutrient absorption. Bear in mind, some people experience nausea when they drink green tea on an empty stomach. I’m one of those people, which is why I put matcha in my smoothies instead of drinking it straight.
Instead of my typical all-day coffee binge (chugging from a 32-ounce thermos like my life depended on it), I’ve been limiting myself to 2 cups before noon. I make a smoothie with a spoonful of matcha powder and sip it throughout the late morning into the afternoon (I like to use frozen fruit so I can nurse my smoothies for excessive amounts of time without them getting warm). Not only does this keep me energized through the rest of the day without keeping me up all night, I suspect that a decrease in acidity in my body is to thank for a super noticeable improvement in my skin's appearance.
Blueberry Matcha Cooler
Add an energizing antioxidant boost to your juice cleanse (or whenever!)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups water (OR use a bottle of your favorite Raw Generation juice as your liquid ingredient)
- 2 tsp. Matcha green tea powder
- 1 Tbsp. Coconut oil
- A few dashes of ginger
- Optional- sweeten with a couple of dates
Puree ingredients in blender until smooth & enjoy!
Dairy-Free Matcha Latte
Try using our Satisfy & Sustain cashew milk in this recipe!
- ½ cup very hot water
- 1 cup cashew milk
- 2 tsp. Matcha green tea powder
- Optional - sweeten with 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or raw honey
Whisk matcha with hot water until the powder is fully mixed & dissolved. Then stir in your cashew milk & sweetener. Enjoy!
Written by Nicole Neuhaus