Matcha green tea is a vibrant green powder with a unique flavor and exceptional nutrient profile. It is packed with antioxidants and other healthy compounds with studied health benefits, from improving heart health and protecting your liver to helping you reduce stress and shed a few pounds. Most of the health benefits that come with those compounds are widely known. But did you know that this earthy and smooth-tasting infusion can also help you with cognitive health?
This article will explore the origins of matcha, how it's different from regular green tea, and how it works to improve your brain health and boost your mental focus. It will also explore the different grades of matcha green tea and give you some handy tips on using matcha green tea powder to boost cognitive function.
Where Did Matcha Tea Originate?
Matcha was initially cultivated in Asia from the same plant as black tea – Camellia Sinensis tea plants. For centuries, Chinese and Japanese culture has embraced the ritual of matcha tea during tea ceremonies. In Chinese culture, drinking this tea for health and enjoyment goes back to the Tang Dynasty, which was in power between the 7th and 10th centuries.
Tea is a timeless beverage that has remained popular for centuries – we recently dug into the fascinating history of matcha tea (and other teas) here.
To this day, premium Japanese matcha tea is a popular choice. You'll find it in health stores, coffee shops, and tea houses. With this superfood as the star ingredient, you can enjoy matcha lattes or matcha shots or even come across bright green baked goods. Or, if you prefer to keep things simple, enjoy the earthy goodness of matcha at home in a warm and satisfying cup of tea. Try Firebelly Tea's ceremonial-grade Japanese matcha tea for an ultra-smooth brain boost.
Green Tea Leaves vs. Matcha Powder
The difference between green tea leaves and matcha tea is how it is grown, harvested, and processed. Although matcha tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, the same plant that grows black, green, and white tea, it is grown in different conditions, harvested differently, and processed into a fine, vibrant green powder.
Green tea and matcha are grown in similar soil conditions, but other conditions, such as the growing location, are different. Tea farmers grow matcha tea leaves in the shade. They avoid direct sunlight for 20 to 30 days to boost chlorophyll production, which helps the leaves to retain antioxidants and amino acids and gives them a vibrant green color.
After the tea farmers harvest and dry the matcha, they grind the leaves into a fine powder. Instead of steeping the leaves in water to make green tea, the powder makes it easy to consume the entire tea leaf, resulting in more caffeine, antioxidants, and other wonderful nutrients, than green tea.
So when it comes to organic green tea, matcha may come from the same plant, but because it uses the entire tea leaf, it has more benefits for brain health. With all the amino acid content and all the antioxidants, catechins, and other healthy compounds in concentrated form, this magical powder has a wealth of health benefits. It can help with weight loss, protect the liver, and promote heart health. It will also keep your memory sharp and give you the brain boost you need.
Not All Matcha is Equal
You may have heard that there are different grades of matcha and wondered if one has better health benefits for your brain than the other. Let's explore the differences between grades and their health benefits.
There are two main grades of matcha tea: culinary and ceremonial. You can use the culinary, also known as kitchen-grade, variety in baked goods and other recipes like smoothies. The higher the grade, the smoother, sweeter, and more subtle the flavor. It is also finer, has a more vibrant green color, and is more expensive.
Ceremonial grade matcha is the highest grade. It is earthy and smooth and is perfect for drinking. Simply heat fresh hot water, let the water cool until steam has stopped rising, then add to your matcha powder and whisk well.
All grades have many health benefits. However, ceremonial-grade matcha is more concentrated and has a higher chlorophyll content. It's like a naturally produced green tea extract.
So if you're looking for the best of the best that's also tasty, premium-quality ceremonial grade matcha is your number one choice.
How Matcha Tea is Good For Brain Health
If you're impressed that matcha can promote heart health, help prevent chronic disease and help protect your liver, you'll be thrilled to know what it can do for your brain health. Here are some of the positive effects on your brain health you can expect if you consume matcha tea or matcha supplements regularly.
It will boost your brain function.
You'll notice increased alertness and reduced brain fog.
It can improve blood flow to the brain.
It will stimulate the central nervous system.
You'll enjoy an improved working memory.
It will help reduce anxiousness and improve your mood.
It helps prevent age-related cognitive decline.
Let's delve a little deeper into what's in this super healthy beverage that makes it so good for your brain.
It's a natural nootropic
Nootropics are drugs that give you a brain boost. You get synthetic nootropics that may have adverse side effects. Drinking green tea and matcha will provide you with the benefits of nootropics but without any nasty side effects. Matcha acts as a powerful natural nootropic that boosts cognitive functions like concentration, memory, attention, and motivation.
Caffeine, the right way
When you use it in moderation, caffeine helps increase energy and oxygen flow to your brain, increasing alertness and giving you a feeling of well-being. The antioxidative effects of this compound can also help protect brain cells against free radicals, and it helps with concentration and improves your mood. It's important to note that too much caffeine can increase anxiety levels and interfere with sleep patterns - neither are good for brain health! This risk is particularly prevalent for coffee drinkers.
The good news for tea lovers is that the caffeine content in matcha tea is less than a quarter of the same quantity of coffee, and it works differently from coffee. Matcha's caffeine works synergistically with the calming effects of L-theanine to give you a slowly released, small caffeine kick without the caffeine crash or the jitters that some people experience with coffee. Combining these two excellent compounds is what makes green tea consumption so special for the brain.
Research shows that L-theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses, making it excellent for reducing anxiety and improving mood and cognitive performance. It leaves you feeling calmer and more focused.
This amino acid relaxes us because it increases calming neurotransmitter levels while reducing neurotransmitters that activate neurons. Another great thing about this natural constituent is that it calms the mind without causing drowsiness. With a cup of matcha tea, you can be relaxed but focused at the same time!
Antioxidants, including EGCG
Catechins are some of the most incredible brain-boosting compounds found in matcha tea. They act as antioxidants and have significant health benefits. EGCG is one of the most potent antioxidants in green tea powder. Officially known as Epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG is a super brain-friendly compound with proven benefits. It has the most powerful antioxidant activity, and matcha tea contains as much as 237 times more EGCG than green tea.
According to studies, drinking green tea powder daily enhances cognition and reduces the risk of cognitive impairment. Another study revealed that the nutrients found in matcha tea could help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
Further research and animal studies revealed that EGCG in organic green tea has massive potential in treatment protocols for Alzheimer's disease. It also helps preserve and improve working memory, which is invaluable in treating age-related disorders like dementia.
Although more research is needed, this study showed that the compounds found in matcha and green tea extract could improve cognitive function in old age.
How to Use Matcha Tea for a Brain Boost
The best way to enjoy matcha tea is to use premium Japanese matcha tea to whisk up a smooth, earthy, and refreshing cup of tea. The Meet Your Matcha bundle is the perfect way to incorporate the relaxing ritual of matcha-making into your daily routine. But tea drinking is not the only way to get a brain boost from this magical green beverage.
Although we love everything about tea, you don't have to limit yourself to only having this superfood with hot water as a beverage. Because matcha is a fine powder, mixing it into smoothies, juices, lattes, and anything else makes it easy. Here are a few ways to boost your brain power with this fine green powder.
1. Make matcha tea
The traditional way to have matcha is arguably the best way to include it in your daily diet. Simply combine the powder with hot water and whisk until smooth and frothy. More tips on making the perfect cup here.
2. Use matcha in baking
Using your favorite recipe, you can make muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, cakes, or scones with matcha green tea powder. Replace some flour with the powder, and you'll have gorgeous green baked goods - kids love it.
3. Add matcha to your breakfast
Stir some matcha into your morning oatmeal or granola to boost your brain health first thing in the morning.
4. Add matcha to green smoothies
If you want your morning green smoothie to boost your brain health, make it even greener. All you need is a teaspoon or two of matcha powder.
5. Make matcha salad dressings
Matcha's earthy flavor is perfectly balanced in a tart vinaigrette, and its creaminess makes it an excellent ingredient in a honey and mustard salad dressing. The natural honey flavor pairs wonderfully with the nutty matcha taste.
6. Try a matcha latte
Add two tablespoons of matcha powder to your mug or the Firebelly Matcha Bowl. Fill around a quarter of your mug or bowl with hot water (wait until steam stops rising) and whisk vigorously. Then, add foamed plant or dairy milk for a decadent, dreamy, and super creamy brain boost.
7. Sprinkle matcha on popcorn
Make movie night matcha night by sprinkling a little powder onto your popcorn for an earthy flavor and a health boost.
Experiment and have fun with it, and you'll soon see how easy it is to enjoy this tea's many brain health benefits.
Make Matcha Green Tea Your Go-to Tea For Brain Health
Matcha green tea powder is the healthiest, purest way to consume green tea extract. It is grown to maximize its nutritional qualities and is packed with compounds that can protect your cognitive health, keep your memory sharp, and help you focus.
Matcha is a super healthy drink you can enjoy daily for sustainable energy and improved cognitive power. It will help you look after your brain health and can help prevent age-related cognitive decline. And all of this without the jitters you may get from the caffeine in coffee.
If you want to incorporate premium-quality matcha powder into your daily health routine, look at the Firebelly Tea subscription options. It's the smartest way to tea.