Why I just love matcha
As many of you will know by now, I’m a huge fan of ‘food as medicine’. But as a Naturopath, I know that sometimes whole food supplements and herbal medicine are essential to correct imbalance or support the body to be the healthiest it can be.
The biggest challenge that many people face health wise today, is oxidative stress. The process of oxidation is very normal – it happens continually in our bodies and free radicals are produced as a normal by-product of regular oxygen metabolism. However these days, free radical production is extensive due to pollution (environmental and air), stress, radiation (from electronic devices, microwaves, air travel), smoking, alcohol, excessive exercise and many pharmaceutical medications.
Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants. To date, science has discovered that oxidative stress may very well be the cause of over 70 well-known, widely-spread degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. At the very least, you can think of oxidative stress as accelerating the ageing process.
The very best antidote to oxidative stress and reducing the impact free-radicals have on your health, is to ensure you have adequate anti-oxidants to neutralise free-radicals so your body is able to excrete them without harm. Anti-oxidants are substances or nutrients found in our bodies and food that help to stop or slow down oxidative damage.
Our bodies do make some antioxidants, however as our level of oxidative stress increases (due to the world we live in), so to does our requirement for dietary antioxidants to counteract harmful free radicals. We know with certainty, that people who eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables (which is high in antioxidants) tend to live longer, healthier lives than those who don’t. So a diet that includes a wide range of fresh, organic plant based foods is the very best way to protect the body against oxidative damage and the diseases associated with it.
Matcha is by far my favourite herb for when the body requires supplementation with a potent antioxidant, which for many of us, is daily. Known for invigorating the mind and body, matcha is made from nutrient rich green tea leaves, ground down into the finest of powders. With less than one teaspoon of matcha you are consuming the whole green tea leaf and all of its nutrients. You can find out more about matcha’s potent antioxidant activity (compared to other antioxidant-rich foods) and how it enhances energy, concentration and the metabolism here.
It’s really important to choose a good quality matcha as not all matcha is created equal. Don’t waste you money on inferior matcha, my personal favourite is Matcha Tea Haus for both quality and taste. You can find more about how to choose and buy the best quality matcha here.
I often start my day with matcha in my smoothie. I also love a matcha latte or iced matcha – it has actually replaced my daily coffee and I can’t tell you how much better I feel for it.
Matcha Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Raspberry Ice
So now for a cracking Christmas recipe. I thought I’d share a beautiful dessert that not only tastes fabulous, but will also help to protect and support your body through the festive season. You have a choice of making it with dairy (by choosing the cream and yoghurt) or dairy-free (by choosing to use the coconut milk and coconut yoghurt). Either way it is a delicious, nourishing dessert because not only is it a fabulous source of antioxidants (via the Matcha and berries), but it also supports your digestion too (via the gelatin and probiotics in the yoghurt). Food as medicine!
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
80g (⅓ cup) water
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup or maple syrup
1 tablespoon lime juice
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