EVERYONE and their mother has been drinking matcha tea — whether hot or cold, it's a coffee shop favourite for the health conscious, and the wanna-be health conscious. But is there any merit to its popularity?
Yes, says Herbalist Kenute Harrison, who explained that matcha powder, with that vivid green appearance, is made from grinding dried Japanese green tea leaves.
"Matcha contains antioxidants, and have compounds that help fight cancer," Harrison said. "It will also help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even promote weight loss when combined with exercise."
Harrison pointed to several studies that support the weight loss claim, including a 2018 study, Matcha Green Tea Drinks Enhance Fat Oxidation During Brisk Walking in Females, by Willems at al, and published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, which shows that intake of catechins and caffeine, which are contained in matcha powder, has been shown to enhance exercise-induced fat oxidation. Catechins are a substance found in tea that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
The study examined the effects of matcha green tea drinks on metabolic, physiological and perceived intensity responses during brisk walking, with 13 women. It found that the women recorded enhanced fat oxidation by drinking matcha green tea and engaging in 30 minutes of brisk walking.
"It is possible that the components of matcha provide a synergistic effect on exercise-induced fat oxidation," the authors said. "Drinking just four cups in 24 hours enhanced fat oxidation during brisk walking in healthy females. The composition of matcha green tea leaves is sufficient for habitual matcha drinking to provide beneficial metabolic responses during brisk walking."
Harrison said you can add matcha powder to beverages and foods outside of hot or cold teas, to include your milk, like almond milk, soy and oat milk. You can also sprinkle the powder sparingly in your porridges and cold cereals and add to your cupcake, cake or pancake batter.
"It's one of those supplements that's proven to be good for your heart, and it very cleansing," he added. "No matter what you use it for, you're bound to find it beneficial in improving your health."
For women, he said weight loss is always the big draw, but they should also know that it will help their skin too. "It cleans you from the inside, and you can also apply the powder topically as a mask for clear skin," he advised.
"What you do is mix the powder with water or aloe vera gel, then apply the mask to your face, leave it on for about 15 minutes, then rinse off and moisturise," he explained. "It's a good acne treatment too."