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Matcha on Mark’s Daily Apple

November 24, 2011

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Mark Sisson blogs about primal living, a holistic approach to diet and excercise to control weight gain and maintain optimal mental and physical well being.  Recently he answered a devotee’s question about matcha tea. Read on…

matcha

Hi Mark,

I recently discovered “matcha” tea; a green tea concentrate. What do you think?

Thanks

Ben

Most people would agree that green tea is pretty dang good for you. My wife, Carrie, is a huge tea drinker. I like a cup or two every few days myself, when it occurs to me to brew it or if there’s any left over. Though I’m no connoisseur, I tend to go for the grassier varieties. But what about matcha?

Matcha green tea is made from powdered, shade-grown tea leaves. Well, “shade-finished” might be a more accurate descriptor; a few weeks before the harvest, matcha-designated tea plants are covered with shade. This slows the growth, sweetens and deepens the flavor, and increases the amino acid content of the leaves (specifically L-theanine). Pulverizing the tea leaves into a powder increases the surface area and makes for a stronger, more potent brew. Plus, when you drink matcha, you’re consuming the leaves and all their polyphenols and amino acids themselves. The powder doesn’t get strained out like normal green tea leaves.

This seems to increase the antioxidant activity. First, there’s more L-theanine available. I’ve discussed the stress-reducing benefits of L-theanine before. All good there. Plus, a 2003 study found that the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) was 137 times more bioavailable in matcha than a traditional leaf-based green tea, and more than three times as bioavailable as the “largest literature value of other green teas.” ECGC is the premier antioxidant on which everyone who raves about green tea focuses. There are EGCG pills, tinctures, and all sorts of supplements.

More EGCG, more L-theanine? Sounds good to me.

Learn more about Mark Sisson and Primal Lifestyle by visiting the Primal Blueprint 101 page.

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