Japanese matcha tea is a form of green tea that is powdered during preparation. The tea also varies from normal green tea in that it is deliberately shaded from the sun in such a way as to alter the chemical composition. There is evidence that matcha tea is higher in L-theanine, caffeine, chrolyphyl and certain catechin flavonoids, compared to normally grown green tea. The main catechins in green tea include (−)-epicatechin (EC), (−)-epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), (−)-epigallocatechin (EGC) and (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Of these (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate is the most abundant, and is particularly concentrated in matcha. Matcha is considered the highest quality tea because not only does it provide higher levels of health giving nutrients, it also has a unique taste and flavour that is prized among tea drinkers. The tea is particularly high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients and may confer significant protection from Western lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
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