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Video: Matcha Green Tea: Is This The Secret To Japanese Longevity?
In recent years, in the photos of the paparazzi we see models and celebrities having in their hands a mysterious drink of green color. No, it's not a smoothie anymore! The fruit and vegetable smoothie is officially dethroned by matcha green tea! Add this green powder to anything you can imagine: from lattes and brownies to soups! Traditional Japanese matcha has become a real “must have” element for leading a healthy and zen life. The cult for this traditional Japanese green tea motivated us to seek the reason for this craze for the drink. If you're into the idea of taking your first sip of matcha, take a few minutes to read everything we found out about this amazing Japanese tea.
Matcha tea - origin and history
In Japanese, "cha" means tea, and "ma" means powder. Once reserved for the nobility of Japan, nowadays the world has discovered the benefits of matcha tea. In fact, the origins of this unique drink can be traced back to China, and more specifically to the time of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 CE). It was around this time that Zen Buddhists began to pick and dry the leaves of green tea called “Gyokuro” to grind them into powder.
Over the years, Matcha tea has gradually lost its popularity in its country of origin. But after being introduced to Japan in 1191, the Japanese embraced it, giving it an important place in the rituals of Zen monasteries. Integrated into their culture, under Japanese influence, the tea preparation process has evolved. Zen Buddhists were the first to discover the benefits of tea. They believed that this drink gave them clarity of mind, mental focus and calm. This is how matcha tea became an integral part of their meditation.
The preparation process itself has become a codified ritual, an art in its own right, where every movement, the sentences to be said, the outfit, everything is prescribed down to the smallest detail, respecting the fundamental principles of the tea ceremony. Japanese: tranquility, purity, harmony and respect. The tea ceremony, lasting approximately four hours, is a celebration of the profound beauty of simple things.
Conversation is kept to a minimum. Guests relax in the atmosphere created by the sounds of water and fire, the smell of incense and tea. Custom is an expression of the idea that every encounter should be seen as unique, a treasure that can never be repeated. The choice of matcha tea as the focal point of the tea ceremony is perfect and logical, as it stimulates clarity of mind, calm and meditation simultaneously, and allows ceremony participants to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the moment, of the here and now.
How do we grow it?
The real matcha comes from Camellia Sinensis. To ensure the quality of the tea, producers protect the tea plants from the sun for the last three weeks before picking. This practice slows down photosynthesis and slows down the transformation of theanine into tannins. What gives the tea this unique flavor, vegetable and fruity at the same time.
Matcha tea benefits
Before becoming a drink consumed daily, this tea was considered a remedy by the samurai. What sets this tea apart from the thousands of existing teas? First of all, it should be noted that this one beats the records for the concentration of antioxidants with an ORAC index (measuring the antioxidant power of a food) equal to 1573, the second place being occupied by the goji berry (ORAC = 253). The antioxidants EGCG (epigallo-catechin-gallate) it contains oppose free radicals responsible for cellular aging.
In 2012 researchers at the University of Chicago found that EGCG in green tea may have anti-cancer benefits. Meta-analyzes performed in 2014 confirmed the benefits against breast and prostate cancer in particular. Even brief treatment with EGCG could significantly reduce serum markers such as PSA, VGF, and VEGF that predict prostate cancer progression.
Apart from its anti-cancer properties, several studies have suggested a reduction in the risk of heart disease thanks to the role of antioxidants in blocking the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol and reducing the aggregation of blood platelets and therefore reducing the arterial pressure. Matcha green tea boosts energy. But, unlike coffee, which causes an energy boost that lasts for only 3 hours, followed by a sudden drop, the energy provided by matcha tea on the other hand is more stable, without dramatic fluctuations, and lasts. from 4 to 6 hours.
This incredible drink works wonders for the skin too! Perhaps you are already very familiar with the benefits of antioxidants for the skin. They protect the epidermis from premature aging which is expressed by the appearance of wrinkles through the degradation of collagen. The catechins in matcha can also promote oral health and prevent the onset of periodontitis.
Matcha is rich in L-theanine, a cognitive enhancer that improves alertness, attention, memory, which may reduce Alzheimer's symptoms to some extent. In addition, Japanese researchers have discovered that this agent (L-theanine) contained in green tea leaves reduces the stress response without inducing drowsiness. Scientists at the University of Toledo have found that EGCG reduces inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.
Matcha tea for weight loss
Catechins are known to encourage thermogenesis. This is the rate at which the body burns calories. It not only promotes weight loss, but also drainage of the body, which makes it a great way to combat water retention. In short, far from being a panacea, traditional Japanese tea can have a positive effect on several aspects of health.
Does matcha green tea have any side effects?
Like any other drink that contains caffeine, tea can trigger unwanted effects. Abuse of matcha green tea can cause headaches, insomnia, diarrhea in some, or constipation in others. Doctors advise against consuming more than five cups of green tea per day. Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid it.
How to choose and where to find matcha tea?
Pay attention to the country of origin! Experts recommend choosing organic matcha green tea from Japan, where the traditions of tea production are respected. If the traditional tea harvesting method is not followed, it leads to a change in color and degradation of its quality. The color should be very bright green. The brown color means the leaves were harvested too late.
Indeed, it has a particular taste, slightly bitter. It not only tastes like grass, it tastes like it too! In any case, it leaves no one indifferent! Some people love it, others don't like it. The tastes of people are very diverse and there are plenty of scientific theories that explain the cause for this phenomenon. It should be noted that to keep its optimal taste, your matcha must be stored in an airtight package in the refrigerator for a maximum of 6 months.
How to make matcha green tea?
There are many methods and utensils for preparing this tea that you will find on the Internet. The most important, in short, is that the ceremonial matcha is beaten with hot water (70-80 ° C) until it becomes homogeneous and sparkling. The necessary utensils are a bowl and a bamboo whisk.
To prepare ceremonial matcha tea, you need a teaspoon of ceremonial matcha powder and 80 ml of hot water. Experts recommend to start with just a small amount of cold water to homogenize the foam and add hot water afterwards. Avoid whipping too fast. Instead, adopt a flexible movement. Continue like this for at least a minute. And since there are several methods of brewing matcha green tea, it should be noted that in the tea ceremony in Japan, some schools do not froth matcha at all!
Since there are several grape varieties of matcha from different terroirs, each with a different fineness of the powder and a different way of being produced (artisanal or industrial), it makes sense that each matcha foams in a different way.
If you want to practice this ritual, there are several video tutorials on the internet that you may find helpful. If you are already convinced to take a first sip of matcha tea, all that remains is to wish you a good tasting!