Matcha Matters: Why Matcha is Better Than Coffee
Matcha lattes have become the new “it drink” everywhere from your large chains like Starbucks to your favorite neighborhood cafe. The western world has become hip to what the Japanese have known since the 12th century. Green tea is better for you in every way! It is well documented in scientific literature that the catechins in green tea have many beneficial health properties that far exceed that of other teas and coffee. Catechins are a type of natural phenolic compound very abundant in tea, cocoa, and berries that are associated with potent antioxidant activity, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is the most abundant catechin in green tea.
Matcha is a special powdered green tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony and has greater nutritional value than traditional green tea. A 2003 study found that the concentration of EGCG available from drinking matcha is 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from China Green Tips green tea, and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas. Therefore, matcha has 137 times more antioxidants than a low-grade green tea. In fact, just one cup of matcha green tea provides over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other known food on the planet, 6.2 times that of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, 17 times that of blueberries, and 60.5 times that of spinach.
all matcha = green tea but not all green tea = matcha
There are different grades of matcha powder, which are determined by the quality of the appearance, processing method, and ingredients used.
Ceremonial grade matcha is the highest quality green tea powder available. The tea leaves are shade grown, the youngest leaves are hand picked, and hand ground into a fine powder.
Culinary grade matcha is is most often used for cooking and baking. Culinary grade matcha isn’t necessarily a lower quality product, it’s just prepared differently for a different use. You can definitely drink it! It has a more robust flavor than ceremonial grade matcha and is slightly less sweet, with more bitter notes. The culinary grade matcha can be further broken down into 5 main sub-types: premium grade, cafe grade, ingredient grade, kitchen grade, and classic grade.
The skincare benefits of matcha are best achieved with daily consumption and consistent topical application. It will not only make you feel good and protect your health but give you youth radiant skin by:
Boosting elastin production. EGCg and other catechins counteract the effects of free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. The chlorophyll can protect your skin from sun damage and reduce photo-aging, which means less wrinkles and less sun spots.
Reducing sebum production. EGCG gives the powder great anti-bacterial and antibiotic properties that help with acne prone skin.
DIY Matcha Skincare/Haircare
Matcha Calming Mask (courtesy of Sarah Lee, co-founder of Glow Recipe): Combine matcha, honey, yogurt, and one egg yolk in a bowl and brush the mixture over your face. Leave it on for up to 40 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry. Continue with your preferred skincare routine.
Matcha Scrub (courtesy of OneGreenPlanet): Mix one tablespoon of matcha, one quarter cup of coconut oil, and around three quarter of a cup of organic white sugar to make a natural face scrub. Scrub with gentle pressure for 1 minute, then leave one for 5-10min. Rinse off the scrub with lukewarm water and pat dry. continue with your preferred skincare routine.
Anti-Acne Matcha Mask (courtesy of OneGreenPlanet): Mix one tablespoon of matcha powder with a few drops of lemongrass oil and apply to affected areas. Aside from killing acne causing bacteria, this mask will also help heal existing scars. Leave for 10-15min. Rinse with lukewarm water and put dry. Continue with your preferred skincare routine.
Matcha Glow Mask (courtesy of Hello Glow): Mix 1 tablespoon Matcha green tea, 1 teaspoon honey, pinch of cinnamon, ½ tablespoon boiled water, and 5 drops of sandalwood essential oil in a bowl. Apply to face (avoiding the eye area) and neck and relax for 20 minutes. Rinse off, tone and moisturize.
Matcha Facial Cream (courtesy of Say No Sweet Anne): Mix 0.25 oz pure bee wax, 1 oz almond oil, 1 oz coconut oil, and ¼ tsp rosehip seed oil in a double boiler or chocolate melter. Allow everything to melt together. Add 1 tsp matcha powder. Mix well. Let the mixture warm and extract from the tea for 15 minutes. Strain oil mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a deep cup. Whip the mixture with your hand mixer, periodically scraping down the sides, until lotion is room temperature and creamy. Store green tea face cream lotion in a cool dark place.
Matcha Hair Butter/Pre-poo/Deep Conditioner (courtesy of JB Bardot): Mix finely ground green tea powder with either Shea butter, virgin coconut oil, or a blend of hydrogenated vegetable oils. Apply it generously to the scalp, and gently massage it in to allow it to penetrate deep into the hair follicles. Leave on for at least 30 minutes to stimulate hair growth, reduce inflammation of the scalp and help with conditions such as dandruff. Continue with your wash day routine.
Commercially Available Match-based Skincare
David J. Weiss, Christopher R. Anderton, Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography,
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