It’s funny the rituals you adopt when you assimilate into a particular society. In little over a year I’ve gone from a stereotypical Londoner who believed the answer to any of life’s problems could be found at the bottom of a mug of Earl Grey, to a New Yorker with a serious coffee dependence. Work cannot commence without a cup of joe. My wallet is stuffed with dog-eared loyalty cards in various stages of hole-y completion, and my infatuation has progressed the way all steady drug addictions do – via the gateway introduction (milky, frothy and preferably with some sort of sugary syrup) to the harder stuff (straight black-as-night and searing hot). Despite relishing the fact that I can genuinely meet friends for a coffee (not the socially-acceptable-hot-chocolate-for-grown-ups that is mocha) there is something about it that leaves me feeling…yucky. Thankfully there is a way to get that sweet caffeine pick-me-up without the teeth-tainting, heart-palpitating side-effects of coffee. Enter matcha! Imagine a regular cup of green tea, with all it’s virtuous health benefits and fortuitous natural caffeine injection, and supercharge it. That’s matcha. In fact one single cup of this stuff is equivalent to consuming 10 cups of regular green tea. Some friends of Yoga 216 have just launched their own blend of organic powder, Panatea, and here’s what they have to say about the health benefits of matcha:
Antioxidant Activity Matcha is rich in antioxidants. As the body’s cleanup crew, antioxidants provide protection from harmful free radicals, which are the molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage and even some inflammatory diseases. Antioxidants are also known to increase metabolism, control blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, or ORAC, is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities. The ORAC value of PANATEA’s ceremonial grade matcha, on a per gram basis, is 1384. To put this into perspective, our matcha has over 14 times the antioxidant activity of wild blueberries on a per gram basis. As you can see in this chart, our matcha has more antioxidant activity on a per gram basis than ALL of the other popular antioxidant-rich foods listed here, combined! Zero Sugar Oh yeah, and matcha is sugar-free and virtually calorie-free (less than 3 calories per serving)! Sustained & Focused Energy Matcha contains a large number of important amino acids. L-theanine in particular is an amino acid that stimulates the production of alpha wave activity in the brain, resulting in a state of calm alertness. This duality of L-Theanine naturally promotes relaxation while heightening concentration. The amino acid is also known to reduce anxiety and enhance mood. When combined in matcha, L-Theanine and caffeine work together to produce a sustained and focused energy, lasting up to six hours. It’s no wonder Buddhist monks have historically used matcha before meditation, and samurai warriors before battle! Additionally, as matcha is digested, the caffeine molecules bind to more stable larger molecules, like catechins. This binding slows the breakdown of caffeine in the bloodstream and therefore counteracts the usual negative side effects of caffeine. No jitter. No crash. And no cortisol production. Metabolism & Weight Loss Matcha is full of catechins, which are a super class of antioxidant that help fight bacteria and infections. One specific catechin in matcha is especially know to boost metabolism. It’s called the EGCG catechin, or epigallocatechin gallate. In fact, the concentration of EGCG in matcha is 137 times greater than your average green tea. In addition, caffeine is known to have a synergistic effect with the catechins in matcha to further increase metabolism. Fortunately though, there is not enough caffeine in matcha to promote production and excretion of cortisol, the body’s stress and fat storage hormone. Natural Detoxification Matcha’s lush color is due to its abundant chlorophyll, which is known to be a natural detoxifier. Chlorophyll increases the blood’s capacity to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to cells within the body. It therefore regenerates and cleanses the body at the molecular and cellular levels. Matcha also contains dietary fiber, a detoxifying agent that controls blood sugar and appetite, as well as eases digestion.
What’s not to love? If you’re curious stop by Foragers (there’s one round the corner from our studio) and try a cup in their cafe. You could even try a milky-sweet latte version if you generally aren’t keen on green tastes. If you’re already sold and ready to revolutionize your morning routine, you can purchase a tub at PanateaGreen.com You won’t regret it! Coffee, you’ve met your matcha (sorry, I couldn’t resist).