How Green Tea Nourishes Your Skin (And Your Whole Body)
It seems like green tea and matcha are just about everywhere these days, and for good reason. Did you know that a cup of green tea is also packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties? Green tea is not just a wonderful way to start the day but also an immune-booster that can nourish your skin and benefit your entire body.
Body and Skin Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
Like red wine and coffee, green tea contains large amounts of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a class of flavonoids, plant-derived antioxidants loaded with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. In fact, a recent study discovered that the main polyphenol found in green tea, a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), has a significant range of therapeutic properties for the whole body, including:
- Boosting the immune system
- Stimulating metabolism
- Lowering cholesterol
- Increasing energy levels
- Helping to prevent cancer
Scientists have gone as far as saying that green tea contains some of the most potent antioxidants known to mankind. Antioxidants combat the effects of free radicals in the surrounding environment known to cause damage to cells and tissues.
Plus, the antioxidants found within green tea have been shown to function as both anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents, proven to be effective against skin inflammation and cancerous changes in the skin caused by UV exposure.
Why Matcha is the Super Green Tea
Green tea is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a species of evergreen shrubs native to Asia. To make green tea, Camellia sinensis leaves are picked fresh off the plant, steamed, and dried. Matcha, on the other hand, harvests the young leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and grinds them into a bright green powder.
Where green tea uses dried segments of the Camellia sinensis leaf, matcha grinds the entire leaf fresh. This means that when you drink matcha, you’re consuming dramatically more of the Camellia sinensis leaf, along with all of its benefits. Just one cup of matcha contains up to 137 times more powerful polyphenols than a typical brew of green tea, along with more concentrated caffeine. In other words, matcha is like super green tea.
Caffeine in Teas: What to Know
If you’re looking into green tea or matcha for their caffeine content, you won’t be disappointed. An 8 oz. cup of green tea contains 28 mg of caffeine, compared to 96 mg for an 8 oz. cup of coffee. Matcha, however, packs 70 mg of caffeine in an 8 oz. cup.
Because matcha is made from the entire ground Camellia sinensis leaf, its caffeine is significantly more concentrated. Thankfully, the caffeine in matcha and green tea is balanced by the compound L-theanine, which slows the release of caffeine in the body and prevents the “crash” associated with coffee drinks.
How to Best Prepare Your Green Tea and Matcha
Green tea is typically brewed using delicately heated hot water not more than 80 degrees. Because the leaves used to create green tea are picked fresh and dried, these lower temperatures help ensure the tea maintains its potency and unique flavor. Allow your green tea leaves to infuse in water for three to five minutes, then remove. Duration of infusion is a personal preference—I like a much shorter brewing time as I feel the flavor is more fresh and vibrant, instead of overdone and burnt.
For matcha, sift your powder into a bowl or mug to remove any clumps. Heat water until it’s near boiling (but not yet boiled!) and whisk into matcha powder until a foam develops. To prepare matcha on the go, I have to have my T2 Matcha Flask, which makes it a breeze to whip up a matcha latte in minutes! Simply add matcha powder, water, or milk of choice and shake.
Make Time to Reap the Benefits of Green Tea
We’re so busy trying to multitask throughout the day, that drinking green tea or matcha is basically supercharged water with antioxidants and health benefits. I love green tea and matcha for the age-defying benefits in both longevity (would love to stay on earth as long as possible for my kids!) and visible skin health.