Let’s talk about matcha. You guys might know we like just about any fun ingredient that’s both healthy and turns our food green. Hello kale, spinach, and broccoli! The thing with matcha is, it’s quite easy to add to a variety of recipes. Oh, and you can just drink it as plain ol’ tea, but we’ll get to that shortly. Not many other greens can say the same thing. Plus, it’s not your typical green. While it has a great nutrient profile with loads of antioxidants, just like all of our favourite leafy contenders, it’s actually a form of green tea. This means alongside its benefits, it’s also a slightly caffeinated, naturally energising ingredient.
In Japanese culture – some of the longest-lived folks within a Blue Zone – matcha green tea is the real deal tea. It’s the best quality available, sourced from young leaves rich with nutrients and stored in a cool, dark place to preserve its vibrant colour. As its moved west over the years, it’s become something of a super food.
Benefits of matcha powder
It’s rich with antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods help manage free radicals in the body and flush out toxins, helping us to fight against things like UV radiation and skin damage. According to this study, matcha treatment – due to its antioxidant levels – may be associated with lower cholesterol, blood glucose levels, and triglycerides.
It contains catechin (EGCg). What’s that? Good question. Catechin is a type of natural phenol and antioxidant and a strong cancer fighter. This is the antioxidant that makes matcha unique, considering epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) comprises around 60% of the catechin content of matcha powder. Research shows its concentration is 137 times greater than the amount in China green tea, making it a superior choice. If you’re already drinking green tea, maybe it’s time to make the switch to matcha!
It’s can help calm you down. Green tea contains l-theanine. Despite its caffeine content, l-theanine makes it a much milder choice than coffee. L-theanine is actually a calming agent and reduces stress response. In humans, studies show it reduces blood pressure and provides some anti-stress benefits without making subjects drowsy. While matcha is energising and good at waking you up, its balanced effects will help you reduce coffee anxiety and jitters while avoiding the afternoon crash. If you need a pick-me-up later in the day, matcha tea is much more forgiving.
It can boost focus. We often reach for caffeine as a means of getting focused and getting to work, but for many of us, a little too much of it backfires. L-theanine has also been shown to play a role in critical aspects of attention span according to research, leading us to believe that drinking matcha tea may give us a good brain boost when it comes to focus and productivity.
Increases metabolism. Matcha tea makes a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to shed some weight as green tea has metabolism-boosting properties. Research links its thermogenic properties and promote fat oxidation – our body’s ability to efficicently break down dietary fats into smaller components for use by the body rather than storage.
Where to buy matcha powder
You can often find matcha powder amongst other teas and coffee drinks at the store. Many grocers are now carrying it, although it does often come at a hefty price! If you’re looking for a more affordable option, check your local Asian market or the bulk section at your neighbourhood co-op or health foods store. Sometimes, you can find a more affordable option if you choose a less vibrant matcha tea.
There is ceremonial grade at the top, culinary grade (specifically for blending with other ingredients), kitchen grade, ingredient grade (good for recipes with dairy/dairy replacements), cafe grade (with a strong flavour), and classic grade at the bottom of the list – the most economical choice. All contain the many health benefits of matcha, but will vary in taste and colour.
If you’re on a budget, this culinary grade organic matcha powder is a fantastic choice. You can use it in the following recipes, or simply blend it with hot water and/or milk using a bamboo matcha whisk. Here are 10 delicious matcha recipes to try at home.
Who doesn’t want to feel like a mermaid? These gorgeous ice pops are the most magical treat you’ll ever make basically, fulfilling all childhood dreams of living beneath the sea and memorising the lyrics to The Little Mermaid soundtrack. The matcha powder adds a little energy boost and some green for that under the sea look, plus a coconut cream layer and fresh blackberries strewn throughout. Dip in freeze-dried blueberries for extra mermaid power… and taste, of course.
One look at that dark chocolate drizzle and you’ve gotta be swooning over these! The fresh and zingy blend of matcha and lemongrass is a sure fire way to wake up on the right side of the bed, or get your afternoon energy boost in. These are chock full of fun flavour, healthy fats, vanilla and chocolate, and antioxidants. These bars are almost like a matcha fudge, and they include an AIP adaptation.
First, can we talk about how much fun thumbprint cookies are to eat? I always carefully eat the outer edges first and save the creamy filling in the centre for last. With these matcha bites, I’d probably do the same. A buttery matcha dough makes a perfect nest for a dark chocolate centre, and these cookies are easy to make low-carb by replacing the sweetener with a surprisingly small list of ingredients. Talk about a fancy tea time!
Looking to swap out your morning latte for something a little new? This dairy-free pistachio milk gets a green boost from healthy matcha. You can enjoy it on its own as a morning smoothie with the addition of good-for-the-gut collagen and a pinch of cinnamon. It’s also delicious hot or cold, so it shifts with the seasons.
If you have a blender, some bananas, and some matcha powder, you just have to make this! With just three ingredients, you have a healthy, dairy-free ice cream on the table for dessert in no time – no ice cream machine required. Frozen bananas blend to a deliciously creamy texture making your final result naturally sweet.
Here’s an excuse to plan your next party like, tonight. Or, you could just throw the party for yourself. Either way, this is the cocktail of choice and you can feel pretty good about indulging in one or two. Green tea serves as the base, mixed with tequila, some matcha powder, and lime juice. Jalapeno is a must because the spicy really balances out the sweet of the honey simple syrup. Margaritas have never looked so good (and green!).
Protein and matcha is the ultimate way to boost your energy and mood. Plus, the combination lends itself incredibly well to weight loss, helping you stay full for longer and boost the metabolism. These balanced bars are bursting with delicious coconut oil and coconut milk, matcha powder, collagen, and a splash of honey. Pack these for the gym whether you need a little something before or after your workout.
A green smoothie is a fabulous way to get a little matcha into your diet. It blends up easily, and powers up your greens intake by a notch. Plus, you can easily skip coffee if you opt for a matcha smoothie for breakfast. This smoothie is jam-packed with veggies from kale to cauliflower, so you can rest assured you’re getting in tons of fibre and nutrients first thing in the morning. Hemp seeds and collagen bring in the protein and healthy fats.
How gorgeous is this cream tart? Its base is made from a delicious mixture of nuts, dates, and raw cacao powder. The filling is a coconut and nut blend boasting creamy macadamia nuts, infused with refreshing mint. It’s made creamy with banana and avocado, so it’s both creamy and sweet without any refined sugar. Finish it off with a dusting of matcha powder, fresh blueberries, and a little more mint. Pure perfection in every healthy slice!
The perfect afternoon snack or lunchbox stuffer is just a few ingredients away with these chocolate-covered matcha bites. Coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut oil, and coconut shreds are used in the making of this, almost like a macaroon. The coating is a simple 2-ingredient blend with an AIP option. You’ll love these – even the kids will!
Matcha is such a fun ingredient as you can see. It’s easily incorporated into drinks, smoothies, cakes, and cookies for an easy energy boost, health benefits, and it could even help you shed a few pounds while keeping a few tasty treats in your diet.
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