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Green tea may be one of the healthiest beverages you can drink, except, perhaps, for matcha tea. The healthy compounds found in green tea are even more highly concentrated in matcha, a bright green powder made from green tea leaves. Learn how to use it in everything from your morning cereal to your afternoon snack to get the most of these matcha powder benefits for your health.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a powdered form of green tea, used traditionally in Japan. The green tea used to make matcha is grown and processed in a particular way; plants are grown in the shade before harvest, and stems and veins are removed before it is prepared. These special preparation techniques give matcha its unique, bright green coloration. Today, matcha is used to color and flavor a variety of products; you can find matcha lattes in coffee shops, green tea ice cream with matcha in the grocery store, and more.
Matcha Powder Benefits
Green tea is well known for its many health benefits. It is high in a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is an especially potent and beneficial catechin, a type of polyphenol. Components in green tea, may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and other effects in the body. The caffeine in green tea may improve memory and attention. Some studies have found that green tea may reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.[1,2,3,4,8,9]
Green tea and EGCG may also possess cancer-fighting properties, but there are not enough studies yet to prove this benefit. The American Cancer society does not recommend green tea to reduce the risk of any type of cancer.
Matcha Tea vs. Green Tea
So what’s the difference between matcha tea and regular green tea? When you drink regular green tea, you are drinking a water extract, which leaves behind many beneficial compounds in the green tea leaves. When you eat or drink matcha, on the other hand, you are actually consuming the leaves themselves. This allows you to get much more of EGCG and other health-promoting compounds. Matcha preparations may have as much as three times more EGCG than the most potent green teas. The special preparation process of matcha leaves also may help boost its beneficial properties.
How to Use Matcha Powder
If you have never used matcha powder before, try these seven ways of getting more matcha in your diet.
1. Make matcha tea.
The traditional preparation of matcha is a simple green tea. To make matcha tea, simply combine two teaspoons of matcha with hot water in a mug and stir to dissolve.
2. Put it in your baked goods.
As it is powder, matcha can be easily incorporated into baked goods like muffins, scones, healthy cookies, and more. Replace a small amount of flour with matcha powder. Try making matcha pancakes or waffles for breakfast. The powder will color your baked goods green, which can be fun for kids or for special occasions.
3. Mix it in your morning oatmeal or bowl of granola.
One of the easiest ways to add matcha to your diet is to simply stir some into your breakfast.
4. Use matcha noodles.
Find premade matcha noodles (or look up recipes to make your own) to use in soups, noodle salads, or other fun recipes for a unique and healthy meal.
5. Give a boost to your green smoothie.
It’s already green, so why not make it greener? Adding a few teaspoons of matcha powder to your green smoothie recipe will make it even healthier.
6. Make a matcha latte.
Place a few teaspoons of matcha powder into a cup. Fill about a quarter of your cup with hot water, then top the rest off with steamed milk (try non-dairy options like almond or coconut milk if you prefer).
7. Put it on your popcorn.
If you are looking for a fun and healthy snack for movie night, sprinkle a little matcha powder onto your popcorn.
Get started taking advantage of the possible health benefits of matcha today. Visit your local health food store and experiment with different brands to find your favorite. Matcha powder can be included in almost any meal, so it is easy to start a new healthy habit with this powerful super food.
Green tea as a beverage is considered safe in moderate amounts. Liver problems have been reported in a small amount of people taking concentrated green tea extracts. Although there is no definite link, you should check with your health care provider if you have a history of liver disease. Green tea and its extracts have a lot of caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine look for a decaffeinated form. [8,9]
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This article was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated.