I’ve been a big fan of green tea for years so you can guess how excited I was when I recently found out about a type that is even more potent (and healthy) than even traditional green tea!
I couldn’t wait to start taking advantage of the extra benefits so I started looking around for ways to include it in my smoothies.
I wasn’t sure what kind of smoothies to use it in to begin with but soon found out it’s actually pretty versatile and works well in a lot of different recipes.
Adding matcha green tea to your smoothies is a really easy way to take advantage of its impressive qualities.
In this post I’m going to share some of the healthiest and most delicious ways to enjoy its goodness as part of your smoothie habit, as well as what to beware of when using Matcha.
Before we dive into the recipes, let’s take a look at what matcha is and exactly how it can help you to get healthier and lose weight.
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What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and has been popular in Asia for more than a thousand years. It’s specifically grown in the shade and this is what gives it such a vivid green color.
For centuries, Japanese monks meditating for long hours, used matcha tea to remain alert while keeping calm.
Researchers have confirmed that matcha can aid in achieving this “relaxed alertness state” and concentrating better, which is beneficial if you’re studying or meditating.
The reason for these benefits of matcha tea is high contents of the amino acid L-Theanine. Matcha has 5 times more L-Theanine than usual green or black teas.
Unlike other green teas, you ingest the whole leaf, which is crushed into a fine powder, and not just the leaves brewed in water. This brings a whole heap more health benefits!
Health Benefits of Matcha Tea
Matcha green tea is one of the healthiest things you can add to your smoothies and here’s why:
- Full of antioxidants: Green tea is known for having lots of antioxidants but matcha is in a league of its own, particularly when it comes to Catechin (a really powerful type of antioxidant) called EGCG. Matcha has a staggering 137 times more EGCG than what we typically think of as green tea.
- It can fight diseases: Catechins such as EGCG have a big role to play in fighting diseases and can be more effective than vitamins C and E in reducing oxidative stress on cells.
- It can protect against cancer: Studies have shown that matcha can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, notably bladder, colon and rectal, breast and prostate cancers. It’s thought that this is another effect of the high levels of EGCG in matcha.
- Antibiotic: The high amount of EGCG also gives matcha tea anti-infective and antibiotic qualities.
- Improves cardiovascular health: EGCG has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and green tea catechins can also reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels.
- Reduces diabetes risk: Studies have shown that green tea can reduce insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose levels.
- Improves mental health: The high concentration of L-Theamine in matcha has been shown to help treat anxiety.
- May be able to treat chronic fatigue: Matcha is known for providing an energy boost but studies on mice have suggested that it can even treat chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Detoxes the body: Matcha contains high levels of chlorophyll, which is believed to have detoxifying qualities.
How Matcha Tea Helps Lose Weight
Matcha has been found to help you to lose weight in two important ways:
- Reduces body fat: Consuming tea that contains lots of catechins has been shown to reduce body fat much more effectively than tea that has fewer catechins. In other words, matcha tea has real fat loss advantage over regular teas.
- Reduces appetite: EGCG can reduce appetite by quite some margin, which means it can help you reduce food quantities and cravings.
How Much Should I Consume a Day?
With matcha, you’re drinking the whole leaf and this makes the effects a lot more potent.
This means you don’t need to go overboard with how much you drink and one cup a day is enough when it’s drunk as tea.
This goes to adding it to your smoothies as well - if you add the same amount of matcha powder to your smoothie as you would add to a cup of tea, you should limit it to a single matcha servings per day.
Precautions - Can Matcha Be Unhealthy?
I’ve introduced you to some of the reasons why matcha is so highly regarded as a health food but there are some potential downsides to be aware of too:
- Not all matcha has the same qualities; some products vary in terms of the catechins and caffeine they contain and this can affect how healthy your matcha really is. Teas with fewer catechins won’t have the powerful benefits that I’ve talked about in this post - go for the reputable brands.
- Some matcha products contain a fair amount of lead, which is naturally absorbed by the plant leaves from the environment. The report suggests this is more the case with some Chinese sourced matcha, while Japanese sourced teas were cleared.
How Long Can I Store Matcha Tea?
Matcha needs to be kept away from heat, light and air. If it’s exposed to these elements, the nutrients will degrade quickly.
Storing the matcha container in the refrigerator before you start using it can help it to stay at its best for longer. Once it’s open, transfer the matcha to an airtight container and keep it in a dark cupboard or in the refrigerator.
For the most part, matcha will last for at least 6 months and sometimes up to a year but it will usually be past its best after that.
What are the Different Types of Matcha?
Matcha powder comes in two main types, and several varieties.
When you compare them to one another, you’ll notice not only a difference in color and fineness of the powder, but also in the intensity of taste.
1. Ceremonial Grade
The highest grade and the most expensive type. The major tea schools and Buddhist temples in Japan are using Matcha of this grade, but outside Japan it is rare to find it.
Ceremonial Matcha is made from the youngest tea leaves which are stone ground. You'll recognize it by the bright green color and thick texture of the tea.
2. Culinary Grade
The more readily available version, and the one used for drinking, cooking and baking.
It isn’t necessarily of lower quality than Ceremonial Grade, it is just prepared in a slightly different way.
There are several varieties of Culinary Grade Matcha:
Quality is usually high, but at a lower price than ceremonial. It is suitable for drinking as well as a high quality addition to smoothies and other recipes.
There have been reports that some companies label their powder as “Ceremonial” when it is actually Premium grade. Since there’s no regulatory body controlling these labels, we advice to buy only from reputable brands and from a reputable source.
This brand is one of the most reputable and highest quality we know.
This variety is made from less delicate leaves and features a very strong flavor. That's why it is often used for cooking and baking, where its smell and taste can shine through more clearly.
A lower quality grade, but works very well for recipes that contain milk and other dairy products such as smoothies, cakes and ice cream.
However, for use in smoothies many still prefer the better and fresher tasting Premium grade.
Made from the least delicate leaves, which is why it is the cheapest. It has a sharp flavor, and is often used for experimenting with new recipes before applying finer matcha powders.
Delicious and Healthy Matcha Tea Smoothie Recipes
Matcha tea powder can be used in lots of different smoothies but there are some ingredients that it works particularly well with.
Keep reading to discover some of the best matcha green tea recipes we’ve found!
Which recipes will you be trying out next? I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments.
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