You must have often heard that green tea aka green tea has many health benefits, such as being good for improving heart health and helping to lose weight. No wonder, people are turning to green tea. However, after green tea was widely discussed, lately matcha has started to attract attention. Unlike green tea, which is usually available in the form of brewed leaves, matcha usually comes in powder form. The question is, is matcha the same as green tea? The following is a full explanation of matcha vs green tea.
Matcha vs green tea, what’s the difference?
These two drinks actually come from the same plant, namely Camellia sinensis, which comes from China. Although the plants are the same, what makes them different is the way they are processed and grown. Making matcha is deliberately prepared differently. The tea plant is covered about 20-30 days before harvesting, to avoid direct sunlight. As a result, the tea leaves become darker in color, and this can increase the production of amino acids due to a large amount of chlorophyll present in the dark leaves.
After going through the harvesting process, the stems and fine veins are separated from the leaves. Both are ground with stones until smooth and become a bright green powder. Because of this process, matcha has a higher substance than regular green tea. In contrast to regular green tea, the tea leaves in matcha are dried for a short period of time, to maintain their green color. Since the tea leaves are ground, and not just brewed, if you drink matcha, this means you are drinking the entire content of the tea leaves.
The difference in content in matcha vs green tea
Regular green tea has only about 63 mg of antioxidants compared to matcha which has about 134 mg of catechins – a type of antioxidant that is strong and contains many health benefits. This means, one cup of matcha contains the same antioxidants as 3 cups of green tea.
The antioxidants in matcha are even higher than all other fruits and vegetables. However, the content in green tea is no less good, it’s just that the benefits produced by matcha are greater than ordinary green tea. Regular green tea also contains polyphenols that can prevent inflammation and swelling, although the content is higher in matcha.
However, keep in mind that in addition to being high in antioxidants, matcha also contains higher caffeine. One cup of matcha consisting of half a tablespoon of matcha powder contains about 35 mg of caffeine.
What are the benefits of drinking matcha?
Matcha and green tea have the same health benefits, only their effectiveness is different. Here are some of the benefits that result from drinking matcha:
The body gets the antioxidant intake
Antioxidants function to prevent free radicals that are formed in the body. Free radicals can cause tissue and cell damage. As explained above, the antioxidants in matcha are known as catechins, a derivative of catechins is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). According to several studies, this substance can prevent inflammation in the body, form healthy arteries, and help repair cells.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Heart disease can cause death. Drinking green tea and matcha can reduce this risk, because green tea and matcha can change cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. Researchers showed a 31% reduced risk of heart disease in green tea connoisseurs, perhaps even more effective in matcha connoisseurs.
One of the reasons people drink green tea is the ‘weight loss’ claim, matcha has that claim too. In fact, you can find green tea extract in some weight loss supplements. Research cited by Authority Nutrition, shows green tea can increase calorie burning by increasing metabolism, but not all studies agree with this opinion.
Provides a relaxing effect
Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine. Matcha contains more L-theanine than any green tea. The benefit of L-theanine is to increase alpha waves in the brain. These waves can help you find calm, as well as fight the symptoms of stress. This substance is also able to change the effects of caffeine in the body, thus making us alert, not causing the drowsiness that usually appears after drinking coffee. Caffeine in matcha is thought to provide a longer alert effect than coffee, but the effect is mild, does not cause heart palpitations. In addition, several studies have also shown that green tea powder can improve brain function and prevent cognitive decline due to age.
Are there any side effects from consuming matcha?
Eating matcha powder means that you digest the whole leaf, no matter what’s in it. During the development period, matcha leaves can be contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides, and fluorine. In addition, more nutrients are not always good for the body. The body’s tolerance for a substance varies, high levels of this substance can cause nausea, symptoms of liver or kidney poisoning. So, it is not recommended to drink matcha more than 2 glasses/cup a day.