While many cultures around the world adore green tea for its flavor and spiritual meaning, most Americans seek out green tea for health – at least at first. The many types and varied flavors of green tea keep us coming back for more…and if you’re like me, you enjoy steeped green teas as well as ground green teas. It just depends on the day! Still, I hear a lot of questions, such as how much matcha to be used to make a cup and how to include green tea in your diet for health.
While all green tea contains antioxidants and other healthful compounds, ground green tea (like Matcha tea and Edible Green ground Sencha) has much higher concentrations of these health-giving elements. Since the key antioxidants are not 100% -soluble, most of the health value of steeped green tea is thrown away with the spent leaves.
Ground green tea like matcha tea allows you to consume the whole leaf, rather than throwing it away, so it has much higher concentrations of catechins – powerful antioxidants that have been shown to help prevent cancers, strengthen the immune system, reduce cholesterol, and help the body regulate blood sugar.
So, we know green tea is REALLY good for you — but how much green tea should you consume, to realize health benefits?
Most nutritionists recommend a total daily consumption of 1 to 1 ½ tsp of ground green tea per day. Most adults can tolerate up to 5 servings (½ tsp each), as long as caffeine is not a problem. You may want to consume more Matcha earlier in the day if you are at the higher end of the spectrum, to avoid any sleep concerns.
Speaking of caffeine, you might be surprised to find out that most green teas have less caffeine than you realize! Although matcha tea has a reputation for having ‘lots’ of caffeine, the caffeine content per cup is actually pretty modest.
Each ½ tsp serving of Matcha has 35 mg of caffeine — about half of one shot of espresso (between 65 and 75 mg), and only a quarter of the caffeine in an 8 oz cup of coffee (125 – 155 mg). Most people who can tolerate one small cup of coffee per day will experience no ill effects from 2 cups of matcha per day — in fact, the moderating and relaxing effect of L-theanine in matcha tea may completely offset any ‘buzz’ from caffeine.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, Sencha ground green tea may be a better choice for daily use, since sencha has only 10 mg of caffeine per ½ tsp serving, and contains higher concentrations of polyphenols, including the powerful antioxidant EGCG. Of course, Sencha is available in a decaffeinated version if you need to avoid caffeine altogether.
Personally, I like variety, and finding many ways to get an average of 1 ½ teaspoons of ground green tea per day. Some days, I start the day with a Matcha Shot, sprinkle a little matcha tea powder over my granola, and then snack on a Matcha-Coconut energy ball in the afternoon. Another day, the whole 1 ½ tsp goes into a giant Matcha smoothie!
For me, adding matcha to daily foods and treats is a delicious way to boost my baseline nutrition – sort of like an all-natural multivitamin that fills in the gaps in my daily diet.
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