Switching from coffee to green tea was the best choice I’ve ever made. Mornings felt impossible without my coffee. Throughout my first two years of University I practically had coffee coursing through my veins. My nights were dedicated to assignments and papers; I would sleep between one and four hours every night. Due to this, my mornings were extremely exhaustive and called for a cup of Joe – or three. My sleep cycle was fueling my reliance on coffee. It became a requirement just to get me through the day and all throughout the night.
When the shaking, anxiety and caffeine crashes got out of hand I had to stop. It wasn’t sustainable, my body was screaming at me. I would get dizzy, faint and at times, thought my heart would give out to hypertension. The more coffee I drank in an attempt to combat fatigue, the more drained and sick I felt. It took me a while to figure out coffee was making me feel this way. I didn’t fathom the anxiety was linked to my caffeine consumption, and I thought the other physical symptoms weren’t and couldn’t be related either. Once I began to suspect coffee might’ve been the culprit I cut it out of my life for a while. It was a bittersweet goodbye. But guess what! I felt so much better when I didn’t feel like I was dying. I’m not even exaggerating, my body had some seriously awful reactions to caffeine.
I was still exhausted though. I started searching for alternatives to coffee. Energy drinks were pretty much the same as coffee, but worse. It didn’t take long for me to choose matcha green tea. I’ve been a long-time drinker of tea – earl grey, black, white, English breakfast, pekoe and green tea, amongst others. However, I only drank tea sporadically and only in their bagged forms. After doing my own research, I was surprised to learn about the benefits of matcha green tea over regular green tea. Long story-short, I started to drink matcha green tea regularly in place of coffee. I’m at a place now where I can enjoy a coffee now and then, but I’m no longer reliant (and I drink way less). Matcha green tea has been a much better alternative. I feel awake without feeling crazy anxious, I experience a clean focus instead of a manic focus and no longer feel ill. The switch over has made me feel good, both inside and out!
Green tea has been a much better alternative. I feel awake without feeling crazy anxious, I experience a clean focus instead of a manic focus and no longer feel ill. The switch over has made me feel good, both inside and out. Now if only I could get my diet on track and actually exercise (does taking the stairs at every opportunity count?). With my personal shortcomings aside, as a long time drinker and lover of tea, I want to share that love with you. So, let’s get into the 13 health benefits of matcha green tea that just might jumpstart your matcha journey! Below that I review the Tenzo Tea matcha green tea.
So, What is Matcha Anyways?
Matcha is a fine powder of specially grown and processed Green Tea leaves. The powder is made by stone grinding the young and nutrient rich leaves of the green tea plant. The green tea plant, called the “Camellia Sinensis”, comes packed with naturally occurring caffeine in the structure of its leaves. Drinking matcha green tea allows you to completely ingest the leaf unlocking the full caffeine content and health benefits of green tea. Matcha has the highest antioxidant rating of all major superfoods and naturally comes with a perfect dose of caffeine for a clean and focused energy boost. The best Matcha Green Tea in the world comes from Japan. The Japanese have spent the last 1,000 years refining the process of growing green tea and have perfected the art of producing Matcha.
1. High in Antioxidants
Matcha Green Tea has the highest antioxidant rating of all major superfoods. Antioxidants are compounds naturally found in many foods – especially plants – that stop or delay damage to the cells. They help ward off cell damage by “cleaning up” or removing waste products in our cells, called free radicals, before they can do harm. Free radicals are highly reactive, which means that that can attach and bind to normal cells in the body and damage them. Antioxidants are molecules that bind to free radicals. Once a free radical is bound by an antioxidant it can no longer bind to anything else [cells]. Therefore, antioxidants can potentially reduce harm to molecules such as DNA, for example. The concept of antioxidants is fairly complex, but this article explains it in layman’s terms.
2. Prevent Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between production of free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify them through neutralization. Oxidative stress – literally just mental and physical stress like lack of sleep or work related stress impede on the body systems from doing their jobs efficiently and effectively (like balancing free radical production and providing defence). For example, experiencing everyday stresses releases the hormone adrenaline. Adrenaline increases oxidative stress that negatively impacts your immune system. So how does matcha green tea help? Matcha green tea calms and relaxes. That L-theanine we mentioned in the beginning of the article works to reduce stress levels thereby preventing oxidative stress.
3. Detoxification Optimization
As already mentioned, your body systems are responsible for detoxifying your body. These are your circulatory, respiratory, immune, renal, endocrine, nervous, digestive and lymphatic systems. A vital task, your body’s systems work to eliminate harmful internal or external toxins and/or substances. Matcha green tea doesn’t actively detox toxins on its own. Rather, matcha green tea aids and improves your body’s ability to do so. Matcha green tea is loaded with polyphenols that positively impact the liver. You know, the body’s major detox organ.
In a study on the impact of green tea polyphenols on the liver with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) conducted with rats, researchers found the polyphenols improve the condition. Why is this important? It means that green tea helps in keeping the liver healthy. A healthy liver that performs optimally can detoxify your body extremely efficiently. Polyphenols are also just one of the many lovely antioxidants matcha green tea has to offer to fight the free radicals. When toxins reach the liver, they’re chemically altered to reduce their toxicity, then they’re sent to the kidneys for elimination through urine.
4. Burn Calories
Matcha Green Tea is a great addition to your weight loss program. The antioxidant EGCG and caffeine work together to naturally boost your metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.
5. Appetite Suppressant
If you struggle with cravings and hunger pangs despite having a meal or a snack an hour ago then try drinking green tea as a natural and healthy appetite suppressant. Hormones cause hunger. Ghrelin, is the hormone that your stomach produces to stimulate appetite. Green tea’s amazing phytonutrient called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) increases the hormone CCK (cholecystokinin), which is responsible for making you feel full. Drinking matcha green tea between meals will help you feel more satisfied or full which in turn, will help you resist the urge to snack unhealthily.
6. Cardiovascular Health
Matcha Green Tea can help protect you from a heart attack or a stroke. Some of the latest research in this area confirms cardiovascular health benefits of green tea. After analyzing 25 randomized controlled trials, the systematic review, published in the British Journal of Nutrition in October concluded that long-term tea intake significantly improved blood pressure.
“After 12 weeks of drinking tea, blood pressure was lower by 2.6 mmHg systolic and 2.2 mmHg diastolic. Matcha tea had the most significant results, while black tea performed the next best…
Reducing systolic blood pressure by 2.6 mmHg ‘would be expected to reduce stroke risk by 8 percent, coronary artery disease mortality by 5 percent and all-cause mortality by 4 percent at a population level…’”
While it’s still undetermined exactly how much tea you need to drink to receive these benefits, a number of studies suggest the ideal amount lies around three to four cups of matcha per day. Including Matcha Green Tea as part of your regular diet may significantly lower your risk of having a stroke or heart attack and improve overall cardiovascular health. It’s important to bare in mind that Matcha isn’t all you need for a healthy heart. Eating right and exercise are not only key to a health heart, but overall health!
7. Boost Immune System
Drinking Matcha Green Tea fortifies the Immune System and limits the invasion and growth of viruses and bacteria in the body. The special catechin antioxidant called EGCG is effective in fighting and protecting the body against various bacterial and viral infections. EGCG binds to cells in the body and inhibits the growth of many disease-causing microorganisms including influenza A virus, Hepatitis Virus, Herpes Virus, and the bacteria that causes Strep Throat.
8. Brain Health
A study titled, “An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance” by Dietz, Dekkar and Piqueras-Fiszman assessed and measured brain performance. Twenty-three participants consumed either matcha tea or a bar containing four grams of matcha, while the control group consumed placebo tea or bar. The participants then performed a set of cognitive tests assessing attention, information processing and memory. The findings suggest matcha improves attention, reaction time and memory in comparison to the placebo.
A study performed by the University of Basel, Switzerland found that green tea increased the working memory performance of participants and increased the brain’s effective connectivity which led to improvements in cognitive performance. The results of the study showed that those who drank the matcha performed better on the short-term memory tests and showed higher brain function in the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobe is responsible for the majority of advanced thinking while the parietal lobe in the back of the brain handles the cognitive understanding of speech. The MRI scans revealed that those who drank matcha had more interaction between the two areas, boosting information recall and the speed of which they processed information.
Green tea polyphenols are now being considered as therapeutic agents in well-controlled studies, aimed to alter brain aging processes and to serve as possible neuroprotective agents in progressive neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Another study showed that consuming two grams of green tea powder daily for two months helped improve brain function in elderly people. After drinking 2 grams of matcha green tea every day for 3 months, the participant’s mental state examination scores improved significantly.
9. Reduce Inflammation and Arthritis
Tea is one of the most-studied drinks when it comes to its benefits for arthritis patients. Green, black and white teas are all rich in polyphenols. Studies have shown that green tea also helps preserve cartilage and bone.
Polyphenols are believed to reduce inflammation and slow cartilage destruction. Studies also show that EGCG blocks the production of molecules that cause joint damage in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Antioxidant-rich green tea may be useful in preventing arthritis and reducing the severity of arthritis in arthritic people.
10. Improves Cholesterol
Researchers aren’t entirely certain how Matcha Green Tea has such a positive effect on cholesterol, however, studies of different populations have shown that people who drink Matcha Green Tea on a regular basis have lower levels of bad cholesterol while at the same time displaying higher levels of good cholesterol. Good cholesterol sweeps away bad cholesterol from arteries, preventing atherosclerosis. The clogged arteries that result from atherosclerosis can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The first human study to show that green tea reduced bad cholesterol was conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2003. During a 12-week trial, study participants took 375 mg capsules containing an extract of green tea. The levels of polyphenols in the capsules were equivalent to the amount found in 35 cups of green tea or 3.5 cups of matcha. The results showed a 16 percent reduction in cholesterol – an effectiveness that surprised the researchers.
11. Skin Health and Glow
Matcha is not only good for internal health, but external health too! You can use matcha powder to create a face mask. for one. It can be used in all sorts of ways for beauty and skin care. The catechins in green tea help trap and inactivate free radicals in the skin, thus thwarting many of the signs of aging. Applying matcha directly to the skin, like in the form of a mask, is extremely effective in helping to treat the symptoms of rosacea and acne.
12. Energy (No jitters, anxiety, crash)
Caffeine is generally great for improving concentration, attention and focus but it has it’s downsides like increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and creating an anxious / jittery feeling. That’s where Matcha green tea stands apart from the rest of it’s caffeinated competitors. There’s a special “feel good” amino acid in green tea called L-theanine that works with caffeine to reduce stress and anxiety while promoting a relaxed state that doesn’t make you feel tired. L-theanine takes the edge off of stimulants and provides an extended (4-6 hour) energy boost with improved cognition and attention. L-theanine is a large part of the reason that people feel so good after drinking Matcha green tea!
There’s a good amount of caffeine in matcha, since it’s a powder, you can control how much caffeine you can add. One teaspoon in 8 fl. oz. will give you 70 mg of caffeine. A regular 8 fl. oz. coffee contains 95 mg.
13. Oral Hygiene
Green tea prevents bad breath due to its antimicrobial properties. Green tea can also prevent cavities (so long as you drink it without any sweeteners). So, next time you need to freshen up your breath, think about reaching for the matcha! Coffee, on the other hand, is highly acidic, which allows bacteria to breed and multiply quickly. When you add milk, creamers and even non-dairy creamers to your coffee, the overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth continues to get worse.
As a matcha enthusiast, what I look for in matcha is quali-tea, authentici-tea and environmental and social responsibili-tea. Other important practical considerations are ease of mixing, aroma, freshness upon arrival, value, color, texture and honest labeling. Color and texture are accurate indicators of both freshness and quality. Bright green, powdery tea is the result of high-grade plants, healthy soil, and careful grinding. Tenzo Tea powder is very fine, bright green and easy to whisk. This delivers a smooth, non-bitter vegetal taste on the first swallow. Initially, the aftertaste is slightly sweet, followed-up with the nutty, grassy original flavor. The aroma is delightfully pleasant: light, and sweet, akin to the faintly sweet smell of freshly cut grass.
*Hey, full disclosure: I was provided with a free sample of TenzoTea’s premium matcha green tea in turn for my honest review. All thoughts, opinions and experiences herein are my own.*
Aside from the practical considerations. As mentioned, environmental initiatives are important to me, they’re aspects I try to consider when making purchases in my day to day life. As consumers we have the ability to choose where we spend our money and how we spend it. On an individual level the decision to support a brand that is socially and environmentally responsible may seem insignificant but collectively our choices make an impact. This is what separates Tenzo from other matcha green tea brands. Tenzo Tea is grown organically. Their farms utilize eco-friendly methods that encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Most importantly, they keep Tenzo Tea pesticide and chemical free. Tenzo grows Organic Matcha Premium in Kagoshima on the southern tip of Japan’s southernmost island.
Farm to Cup
- Tea From Kagoshima (farm) to Uji (teahouse) to LA, to you (your cup).
Organic Farming Practices
- It relies on fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Biological pest control, mixed cropping and the fostering of insect predators are encouraged. In general, organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances.
- Re-sealable, sleek and easy to store, keeps tea fresh for longer and it’s pretty! Tenzo uses the most recyclable packaging possible for matcha – the most recyclable packaging for a matcha product that does not harm the actual product (i.e. no light or air).
Unique Tea Ware
- Tenzo Tea offers tea ware that is traditionally used in Japan: a bamboo whisk, a porcelain holder for the whisk and a bamboo scooper to measure out the tea.
I was really excited when Tenzo reached out because I’d never heard of it before. Only founded two years ago, I’ve now had the privilege to taste and add another favorite to my shelf of tea!
At the end of the day, matcha green tea is tastier, smoother, more versatile and beneficial than regular, bagged green tea. You can do so much with matcha green tea because it’s a fine powder. If you’re not big on drinking tea on its own, then reap the benefits of matcha green tea in the form of desserts, smoothies, lattes and shakes. There are tons of delicious recipes (keep a look out for our article on recipes, coming soon)!
Meet Matcha Connoisseurs, Tenzo Co-Founders Steve & Robbie
Steve and Robbie, like myself, found that they too were tired, sick and enslaved by coffee. Both professional athletes, they felt the detrimental effects of coffee far more than the average person. Their athletic performance became negatively impacted because all they were doing was fuelling the very familiar cycle. Steve and Robbie sought out a change. That’s when they discovered the benefits of matcha green tea. They found matcha by googling healthy caffeine. Of all the alternatives, matcha was their favorite and the healthiest, so they ran with it!
Simply put, these two built matcha into their life, and felt good. Matcha green tea worked for them and they just wanted to share the love.