I prefer Matcha

In the summer of 2010, I attended the IFT (International Food Technologists) conference and trade show in Chicago. At that time, I was introduced to Matcha Green Tea from Japan.  Up until that point, I was not a fan of the taste of green tea, however, I had only tried super market brands. After the introduction of Matcha, enjoying the taste and how I felt after drinking it, my interest for green tea grew.

Matcha green tea is the whole Tencha leaves ground into a powder. As a result, matcha boasts more health benefits than green tea alone. Matcha, shade grown tea, is rich in theanine (an amino acid) and catechin (an antioxidant) which helps the body stay energized and the mind stay alert. One of the reasons it is my favourite.

Tea 101

There are 5 basic types of tea: black, green, oolong, white and pu-her which are all derived from the camellia sinensis plant in some of the most exotic places all around the world, India being the largest tea producer and exporter. The type of tea you decide to enjoy is determined by the processing methods used once the leaves have been plucked from the plant.

Green tea is less processed than black and oolong teas meaning once they are plucked, they are steamed or pan fried as opposed to fermented. Green tea also has less caffeine than black tea and is packed with powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Green tea has been consumed throughout the ages in India, China, Japan, and Thailand and now more recently in Canada.

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of polyphenols. The polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. Scientists believe that free radicals contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. Green tea is high in potassium, iron, magnesium and dietary fibre. Decades of research shows the effectiveness of green tea in raising HDL cholesterol (the ‘good cholesterol’) while lowering LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad cholesterol’) and in slowing the aging process of our skin. Another sought-after benefit of consuming green tea daily is its role in reducing the risk of some cancers. More research is being conducted on the relationship of green tea and weight loss.

Include Green Tea Today in your Meal Plan

The best way to enjoy green tea on a daily basis is to boil a cup of water and allow a tea bag or loose leaves to steep for one minute. Or for Matcha, add a ½ teaspoon of the vibrant green powder to a small amount of hot water in a mug, whisk until foaming, then add a full cup of hot water and stir.

For more enthused green tea fanatics, why not try this simple on-the-run recipe…

Peach Green Tea Smoothie

  • 1 green tea bag (or a tsp of matcha green tea)
  • 1 large peach, sliced and pitted
  • ½ a banana
  •  1 cup of skim or 1% milk or almond beverage
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp honey

Preparation:
Brew ½ cup of green tea and chill with ice cubes. Blend the brewed green tea (or a teaspoon of matcha green tea and ice), banana, milk and peaches until smooth meanwhile adding honey for sweetness and ice for consistency.

Do you have a favourite way to drink and eat green or matcha green tea?