Have you heard of matcha?
Personally, I think it’s one of those ingredients that two years ago everyone was like “matcha what?” Now over the past year, matcha smoothies, lattes, teas, and oats are popping up nearly as often as pumpkin. But unlike pumpkin, matcha might be your next key to a really killer workout.
Typically grown and processed in Japan, matcha is a form of green tea, derived from green tea leaves. The difference is that matcha is delivered and consumed in powder form, making it a bit more versatile for consumption by allowing you to blend it into your drink or food of choice. While green tea bags still deliver antioxidants, matcha gives you a bit more bang for your buck.
Consider matcha a superfood thanks to its extremely high antioxidant levels (nearly 10 times stronger than green tea) and metabolism-boosting properties. Matcha is also high in amino acids, specifically containing high amounts of L-Theanine, which is a unique set of amino acids found exclusively in green teas, and known to help the body to relax, be more calm, and reduce stress levels. Because it is so concentrated, matcha has a strong earthy taste, and the taste can vary depending on the type you purchase.
I also recommend a bit of label sleuthing as a lot of matcha is sold sweetened (VERY sweetened), which adds on a ton of excess and unnecessary calories and sugar. It’s better to buy an unsweetened, pure matcha and then add the amount of sweetness you prefer through options such as honey, maple syrup or stevia leaf.
Ways to Use
Try replacing matcha for your morning prerun coffee. Using a frother or whisk, blend 1 teaspoon matcha powder into 8 ounces (1 cup) warmed almond or coconut milk and sweetened to your liking. You can also incorporate matcha into your prelong run meal. I love a smoothie before a long run, thanks to its easy digestion, but oatmeal is also a great option, and both complement matcha really well. A really easy smoothie is one like this Banana Matcha, which is literally protein powder, banana, matcha powder and nondairy milk. It’s so tasty! For oats just stir 1 teaspoon into your oats as they cook.
Do you drink matcha?