Today's post is about green tea, and a delicious Coconut Matcha Smoothie I've been enjoying a lot lately. But before we get into all that, I want to talk about green tea's flashier counterpart: coffee.
Are you the kind of person who loves coffee?
Do you start the day with an elaborate coffee ritual?
Do you live for that sweet moment when the fresh coffee first passes your lips?
Coffee's our wake-up buddy. It smells good. It tastes even better. It's the life of the (morning) party.
Is it also true that sometimes coffee leaves you jittery?
Do you get a headache if you don't drink it?
Do you wonder if it contributes to stress, or sleep drama?
The truth is, coffee can be a mixed bag for some of us.
Sure, there are benefits — such as antioxidants.
But coffee's caffeine content and acidity can be too intense for many people, causing anything from headaches and stomachaches, to energy crashes and sugar cravings.
Wouldn't it be great to explore an alternative? Something that made our bodies feel better? Something that was quick to prepare and satisfied our hunger until lunchtime?
This is where matcha comes into the picture.
Today's recipe, the Coconut Matcha Smoothie, includes a teaspoon of matcha, which is a powder made from high-grade whole tea leaves. When made in the traditional Japanese method, the powder is whisked with hot water to make a frothy, vibrant beverage. Here in the US, though, you'll more commonly find matcha being used as the base for a latte or iced tea.
So what makes matcha so special?
Is it worth the hype?
Can it replace coffee's buzz?
The Goods on Matcha
Matcha, and green tea in general, is known for catechins, beneficial compounds believed to inhibit tumor growth and cause tumor cell death. It's also heart-healthy, because it reduces LDL (“L-is-for-lousy”) cholesterol, and increases HDL (“H-is-for-healthy” cholesterol. In addition, green tea has also been shown to help with high blood pressure, and stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics.
So you see, green tea is powerful stuff, even though many palates find it boring compared to coffee.
While matcha does include caffeine, it contains less than what you'd find in a cup of coffee — and many people report that matcha's energizing effect is less jarring or jolting than what you'd experience with a strong cup of coffee.
Part of the reason for the mellower buzz likely involves L-theanine, an amino acid that's likely responsible for matcha's famed good vibes. In fact, the Washington Post recently covered this aspect in an article quoting dietitian Vandana Sheth.
“L-theanine is an amino acid, and studies have shown it provides a stress relief; it produces a calm feeling in our body,” Sheth said. “But it doesn’t make us sleepy. When you combine that with the caffeine that’s in the matcha, you’re feeling more focused, you’re feeling alertness but without that jittery feeling when you consume a lot of caffeine from coffee.”
Alert without feeling jittery? Stress relief? A calm feeling? Easier on the tummy? Sign me up!
Make the Coconut Matcha Smoothie
If you want the benefits from green tea, but tea isn't really your thing, try this smoothie instead.
It's packed with fiber and antioxidants from the spinach, and it gets its nutty deliciousness from a combination of coconut milk, coconut water, and toasted coconut. Add in the matcha, and you'll be all set for an energized, empowered, and good-vibes kind of day.
Watch the Video on More Good Day Oregon
Each week, I offer up healthy lifestyle tips and recipes on the More Good Day Oregon show on Fox-12 Oregon. For a full recipe archive of the dishes I've prepared on the show, you can click here.
To watch the video of me making the Coconut Matcha Smoothie, just click on the graphic below.