A few areas are essential to focus on when it comes to healing your skin from within – they include optimising gut health, balancing hormones, supporting liver function and mental health. Wouldn’t it be cool if something could target all those areas in one? Well, something can and that something is matcha!
What is matcha?
Matcha is a type of green tea where the leaves are ground into a fine powder which dissolves when added to water to create tea. Matcha has been a part of Japanese traditions since as far back as the 8th century and is still part of Traditional Japanese tea Ceremonies to initiate peace and support the mind. Now, let’s get into the benefits matcha can provide for your skin.
The benefits of matcha for skin health
A source of antioxidants and polyphenols
Because of how the matcha leaves are uniquely grown and processed, matcha packs a punch when it comes to antioxidants. It has 137 times the amount of antioxidants compared to regular green tea.
Matcha contains an impressive amount of polyphenols, which provide us with antioxidant benefits. Antioxidants work by ‘mopping up’ any damage caused by free radicals, helping to protect the body and slow down the ageing process. Our skin is prone to free radical damage because it’s exposed to the elements such as UV light and pollution. Free radicals can also be increased through inflammation, smoking, alcohol, exposure to certain chemicals, and stress. An increased intake of polyphenols through our diets also helps promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which has been shown to reduce inflammation within the skin.
Balance blood sugar levels
Matcha contains something called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been found to reduce high insulin levels and help stabilise blood sugar levels. If you’re unaware of how important blood glucose regulation is for healthy skin, you must check out this blog. But as a brief explanation, high levels of glucose and insulin, can increase hormones (such as testosterone) which contribute to blocked pores, inflammation and oily skin.
Androgens are a group of sex hormones considered ‘male hormones’, although women still have these hormones in lower amounts. Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) commonly have higher levels of androgens (including testosterone), which can cause oily skin, excess body or facial hair and acne. EGCG can help to block an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into a more potent form known as Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By blocking the enzyme, it helps to reduce acne and supports women with PCOS.
Promote a sense of calm
Matcha does contain caffeine, but significantly less amount than coffee. Matcha also contains theanine, an amino acid that helps promote feelings of calmness. This allows matcha to increase alert thinking without the crash or increased feelings of anxiety that can happen with coffee. Theanine is often used as a supplement to help promote focus and offer anti-anxiety effects. It does this through increasing chemical messengers that help to calm our nervous system and support mental well-being. Although matcha won’t provide the exact dosage as what’s used in supplements, it’s excellent to include small amounts of this amino acid in food.
I’m sold on the matcha skin benefits; where can I get some?
When buying matcha, it should be a bright green colour to indicate high quality. I use Hybrid Herbs for Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha. Jenki and Perfect Ted also have excellent quality matcha and all the necessary equipment to start your new tea ritual.
Matcha works in loads of recipes. I have mine as a latte in the morning (iced or warm, depending on the season), but if you don’t like the taste, you can add a teaspoon to your smoothie. I’m also a sucker for a matcha cookie!