I don’t know about you, but by the time the mid-afternoon rolls around every day, I could really use an extra energy boost to get me over that slump. While coffee may be most people’s favorite beverage for getting a pick-me-up, there’s another delicious drink that’s become increasingly popular in recent years for providing the same alertness but without the negative side effects. In fact, one cardiologist says it may be even better for those afternoon energy lifts than your typical cup o’ Joe. Say hello to matcha.
Cardiologist Alejandro Junger, MD recently told mindbodygreen that matcha is actually his go-to for bringing back the pep in his step as the day wears on. Matcha is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, and its health benefits are truly endless. It’s full of antioxidants to fight cell-damaging free radicals, improves cognitive function, regulates liver enzymes, lowers your levels of “bad” cholesterol, reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke, and speeds up metabolism. Talk about a beverage working overtime!
However, Dr. Junger says that what makes it a particularly great afternoon drink for an energy buzz is the fact that it contains more caffeine than the typical mug of green tea but less than your average cup of coffee. “Matcha creates a unique relaxed-and-alert effect because it contains L-theanine, an amino acid,” he explained. “Research suggests L-theanine may help reduce anxiety and stress but also increases focus and attention. In the end, you have the alertness benefit of coffee without the downward energy crash.” In other words, you’ll get all of those long-touted benefits of coffee without the jittery, restless sensations after you drink it.
Not sure how to make matcha? It’s easy: Once you’ve got your matcha powder, slowly stir in boiling hot water to prevent it from clumping. Then, add milk, cream, or whatever other additions you usually include for your afternoon brew. That’s it!