The Complete Guide to Matcha Tea for Athletes

The Complete Guide to Matcha Tea for Athletes

One of the most consumed beverages in the world is tea. It is second only to water in many societies. There is one tea that's considered a powerhouse among its peers, providing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and acting as a fat burner, brain-enhancer, and performance booster. 

We're talking about matcha. 

So, how can matcha tea benefit athletes? Read on to find out.

What Is Matcha?

Grown in a traditional Japanese manner, matcha is powdered green tea. During the growth period, cultivators shade the plant to enhance the development and accumulation of the plant's active biological compounds. The unique chemical composition of the tea leaves gives matcha its prized flavor and sets it apart from other teas. 

To make matcha powder, green tea leaves are steamed, the stems and veins removed, then dried and ground into a powder. This process yields a tea powder that's potent and pure and has a striking green color.

Matcha Tea vs. Green Tea

Is there a difference between matcha tea and traditional green tea? They both come from the same plant as other teas, but there are differences between the two.

When comparing matcha and green tea, the main differences are found in their production processes and the resulting end product. The growth and extraction processes that matcha goes through are more careful and help control the production variables that give matcha its unique flavor and characteristics. Manufacturers grow matcha tea in the shade to protect the plants from oxidation, a process not used by most. 

The processes a tea goes through vary, from drying and heating to rolling after harvest. The result is the difference in flavor between matcha and green tea. Matcha is known for its rich, strong, grassy flavor, while green tea usually has a light, refreshing flavor. Another difference is found in the caffeine content of the teas. Green tea averages a caffeine content of 11 to 25 milligrams per gram. Matcha averages a caffeine content of 19 to 44 milligrams per gram. 

Nutritional Values in Matcha

If matcha is part of your healthy dietary routine, the nutritional values it provides are important to know. Matcha is low in calories and is not a good source of vitamins, minerals, or macronutrients. It is a rich source of a variety of antioxidants. 

Many recipes use one teaspoon of matcha powder to make a single matcha latte. This amount of matcha provides the following nutritional values:

  • 7 calories
  • 0 g of carbohydrates
  • 6 mg calcium, or 1% of the daily recommended value
  • 0 g of fat
  • 0 g of protein
  • 0.28 mg of iron, or 1% of the daily recommended value

An important value in matcha's nutritional content is the antioxidants found in the powder. These support detoxification, reduce inflammation and may help protect cells from damage that is known to lead to aging and disease.

Benefits of Matcha Tea for Athletes

What matcha lacks in vitamins and minerals, it makes up for in high antioxidant content. 

Improved Brain Function

Regular consumption of matcha tea, or other green tea products, may reduce the risk of cognitive disorders that are common after the age of 65. This includes conditions that affect the ability to focus, learn, and move and those that impact memory, attention, language, and problem-solving. Conditions potentially impacted range from mild cognitive impairment to recognized disorders such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. The more green tea or matcha consumed, the greater the benefit to brain function.

Support for the Immune System

Matcha tea is rich in antioxidants, especially catechins, which may help reduce inflammation by fighting against free radicals. Certain types of catechins found in matcha may be up to 137 times as concentrated as in other green teas. These catechins work in conjunction with the immune system to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Protection from Free Radicals

Free radicals are compounds that can damage cells and cause chronic disease. Tea made from matcha powder contains the nutrients normally found in the entire leaf of the tea plant. It will have more catechins and antioxidants by mixing the powder with hot water to make tea than steeping green leaves in water. You'll increase your antioxidant intake when you add matcha to your diet.

Improved Workout Recovery

Part of a healthy lifestyle includes getting the workout your body needs to remain in peak shape. Hard training can leave you with lingering soreness. You may find yourself searching for supplements to decrease the pain and help torn muscles heal. Matcha tea has a powerful antioxidant that can help you out with that.

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG, is a catechin that targets the stress which comes with sports training. EGCG may work to prevent the destruction of muscle mass after a workout. Adding matcha to your workout routine may help improve endurance by helping to regulate your heart rate and blood pressure.

Ways to Add Matcha To Your Diet

What's the best way to enjoy your matcha supplements? Try these different ways to serve up matcha.

  • Keep it simple by adding your desired serving size of matcha to a cup of hot water and whisking until dissolved.
  • Add a teaspoon of matcha tea to your favorite smoothie or latte.
  • Add your desired serving size of matcha to oatmeal or baked goods such as protein bars or energy bites.
  • Whisk a serving of matcha into your favorite salad dressing. It blends especially well with flavors like ginger or citrus. 
  • Experiment with spoonable servings by mixing matcha with chia seeds or yogurt.
  • Replace one or two tablespoons of flour in your cookie recipe with matcha for a tasty green cookie. 
  • Blend matcha with powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze for cookies or pastries.

If you prefer, you can get the benefits of matcha tea through daily oral supplements in capsules or gummies. 

Add Matcha To Your Diet Today

Ready to get started on matcha tea as an adjunct to your healthy fitness routine? All your supplement supplies are just a click away. Browse through the wide selection of supplements available from Tiger Fitness

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