Matcha Green Smoothie – Health Benefits and Recipes
Are you wondering what all the fuss about matcha green tea is? Are you looking for some delicious matcha green smoothie recipes?
You’re in luck because I finally got around to trying this popular “superfood” and I have some delicious recipes for you to try.
What Is Matcha?
Matcha is essentially green tea powder. But it’s more than just dried tea leaves ground into powder. The tea plants destined to become matcha are specially grown by being shaded for three weeks before harvest, then the leaves are dried and stone ground using very specific, traditional methods. The stems and leaf veins are discarded.
Matcha tea is popular in Japan and China, and is growing in popularity in the United States and other parts of the world. It is typically consumed as a tea with hot water added to the powder, and then whisked to produce a warm, frothy beverage.
Matcha comes in two main grades – ceremonial grade and culinary grade. Ceremonial grade matcha is best for making matcha tea. Culinary grade matcha is a little less expensive and perfect for using in green smoothies, or incorporating into other recipes.
Matcha Health Benefits
Matcha powder is said to provide a host of health benefits ranging from anti-aging to weight loss. Two specific, health-promoting compounds in matcha include theanine and EGCG.
Theanine, an amino acid analog, has been shown to reduce mental and physical stress 1, improve cognitive function 2, and work with caffeine to boost mood 3,4,5,6,7,8, and possibly boost immune function 9.
The other well-studied component of matcha is epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. While anti-cancer properties have been associated with this compound found in green tea, with more potent levels in matcha, there is not enough clinical evidence yet to make any sort of claim about the anti-cancer affects of EGCG in matcha. More research is needed. 10
EGCG in green tea has been studied for its effects on weight loss. Quite a few published studies have shown that EGCG may work with the caffeine in tea to have a positive effect on weight loss. 11 While the research is limited, it is possible that green tea, and to a greater extent, matcha, may add a slight boost to a weight loss diet.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough studies to prove a link yet between matcha consumption and lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, or lower blood glucose levels.
Matcha is essentially a concentrated form of green tea, so it does contain caffeine. In fact, a two gram serving of matcha powder has about 68 milligrams of caffeine – about double the amount that is in a cup of green tea, but less than in a cup of coffee. If you are sensitive to caffeine, or you are prone to anxiety, use matcha sparingly.
Caffeine can have negative effects on a variety of health conditions including IBS, glaucoma, liver disease, and osteoporosis. Check with your doctor before taking any foods or beverages that may contribute to an increase in caffeine consumption. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are on any medications.
How To Use Matcha In A Green Smoothie
Matcha powder can be added to green smoothies easily. Start by adding 1 teaspoon to your favorite recipe. You can always add a little more, but I get the best flavor results in my blends when I add between 1 – 2 teaspoons (about 3 – 5 grams).
Matcha has a distinct flavor that, to me, is a combination of bitter, highly concentrated spinach and very strongly brewed green tea. Use sweet fruit like pineapple, oranges, and kiwifruit to complement the flavor. Use mild-flavored leafy greens like fresh baby spinach or leaf lettuce if you are new to using matcha. Blending matcha with kale or dandelion greens may be too much for some people.
Where To Get Matcha & What To Look For
Matcha powder can be purchased at health food stores, Asian markets, and some tea shops. You can also order it online. Culinary-grade matcha is perfectly fine for using in green smoothies.
Matcha should be a bright, deep green color and smell fresh and “green”. Pale, brownish, or dull matcha powder that smells more like hay is oxidized and no good.
The brand I used for this write-up, and the recipes below, is Nature’s Blueprint, which is available on Amazon.com. (Disclosure: I was sent a sample of Nature’s Blueprint Matcha powder.)