Matcha. It's the new green tea. It's the new coffee. Hell, it's even the new rosé. And in the famous words of Biggie Smalls, "if you don't know, now you know."
As a dietitian, I'm always wary of excitement around a new food or drink. Fads and trends are perfect ways for food and beverage companies to capitalize on consumer susceptibility. We are all victims of marketing ploys, myself definitely included!
So when matcha hit the scene, I was undoubtedly skeptical. Matcha tea has been around since the ancient Zen Buddhists were using it in their tea rituals. Why only now are we singing its praises?
Being the trusted dietitian (read: closet nerd) that I am, I decided to do my research. Turns out, this green powder is actually packed with tons of healthy goodness. Green tea is loaded with phytochemicals that have been shown to help reduce bad cholesterol and control, or even reduce, weight. In fact, with matcha we get even more of these phytochemicals and their benefits than we would with regular green tea because with matcha, we are drinking the actual leaves, whereas with regular green tea, we are simply steeping those leaves it and throwing them away.
Matcha is definitely a fad I can get behind. (Love it when that happens!) And hopefully, it will be a fad that is here to stay. (Which, I guess by definition would mean it's not a fad after all!)
Not only that, but it's so versatile...
- You can drink it as tea – hot or iced.
- You can turn it into a latte – hot or iced. (see my iced version above with almond milk)
- You can even add a scoop to your morning smoothie for an extra nutrient boost.
So many options, so little time! Keep in mind, matcha does contain caffeine, so if you are sensitive to caffeine, pregnant, or just trying to cut back – you might want to take that into account.
As for why it took us so long to wake up and smell the matcha...I'm not quite sure.
Maybe we were satisfied steeping our generic cups of green tea. Maybe we were stuck in our routine of brewing our morning coffee. Or maybe, we were just too busy sleeping through our rosé hangovers. Whatever the case, matcha is back, and I'm on board!
One last note before I go:
Just because matcha is healthy, that doesn't mean your matcha flavored doughnut, cookie, or cake is healthy too! While the matcha may add some nutritional value to those treats, in the grand scheme of things, it is minimal relative to their generally high sugar, fat, and refined carbohydrate content. That's not to say that you cannot, or should not indulge every so often. By all means, go ahead – live a little! But just do it knowing that the matcha-green facade on your matcha-flavored doughnut is just that – a facade.