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Game, Set, Matcha!

Game, Set, Matcha!

How the All-Natural Power Beverage Outplays Other Energy Drinks

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Although it was not originally touted as a power drink in the same breadth as bottled or canned stimulants and quick-rehydration tonics, matcha has been steadily gaining grounds in the sports and fitness beverage market. Not only is matcha more cost-efficient as you only need a small amount of green tea powder (about half a teaspoon for every 8-oz. of water) to fill up a handy sports bottle to bring along to games, practices, gym sessions or even at work but also a great all-natural vitality enhancer.

In stark contrast, not only do most energy drinks in the market contain controversial and potentially harmful components, a huge chunk of its selling price can be ascribed to its packaging that will just be discarded later on. So in effect, you are practically throwing away both money and lasting health benefits with synthetic pick-me-ups.

The match-up between matcha and energy drinks in general, goes beyond value-for-money considerations. Like pitting contenders for the ‘ultimate power drink’ title, let’s check out the tale of the tape between them in three categories: Perk Up Effect, Properties (Dietary) and Palatability.

I. Perk Up Effect

Undoubtedly, energy drinks are potent physical and mental stimulants. That’s of course, the high dose of caffeine and sugar content talking. Not only that each bottle or can of the said beverages contain 4 to 10 times higher caffeine than a cup of matcha, they can also flood your system with the vitalizing substance in a jiffy.

Speed of delivery may be highly desirable for say, parcels or fastfood orders, but not so with caffeine. For one thing, it stresses our adrenal glands and kidneys. It may also cause arrhythmia and elevated blood pressure. Fact is, there have been an increasing number of energy drink-related ER cases recorded in the USA during the last decade. There were even some documented cases of death among athletes in Europe that are attributed to over-consumption of synthetically formulated stimulants.

On the other hand, a regular serving of matcha contains an ample amount of caffeine that can boost our physical vitality and mental acuity for several hours. Its other healthy nutrients help regulate the delivery of the substance in our bloodstream, thus prolonging its energy and mood enhancing effects. And since its 100% natural, there is no entailing system shock, agitated feeling, or addictive tendencies associated with manufactured energy drinks. There is also no ensuing sugar crash, a typical outcome when energy drinks loses its stimulating effect.

II. Properties (Dietary)

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Although energy drink-makers heavily advertise about the many purported health benefits of their products, there has been no unanimity of medical studies yet that supports those assertions. While some individual components found in their formulations such as vitamin B complex and taurine are known for their nutritive properties, we can actually absorb those substances from our daily intake of whole foods such as meat, fish, fruits, nuts and vegetables anyway.

The actual cause for concern lies on the fact that although the basic ingredients in energy drinks like glucose (sugar), L-carnitine, guarana (its source of caffeine), etc. are listed on the bottle or can, but their individual amounts are not specified. Instead they are collectively listed under the guise of an ‘energy blend’. There were various studies that equate energy drinks to psychoactive drugs, as some of its unregulated components are of extremely high dosage that can trigger psychological and cardiovascular distress.

On the opposite corner, matcha stands as an all-natural dietary supplement that packs a wallop in terms of nutritive properties. In fact, you can just mix it with plain potable water and you already have a power drink. Besides coming from a naturally polyphenol-rich plant specie Camellia Sinensis, the special method involved in growing, harvesting, drying, and grinding the leaves to a fine powder makes matcha several times more potent than other green teas.

Moreover, matcha has a higher chlorophyll concentration than kale, spinach and other highly nutritious green foods, as well as containing more antioxidants than broccoli, pomegranate or any berries. It is also teeming with amino acids and cathecins including EGCg (epigallocathecin gallate) that helps in ridding our body of harmful free radicals that causes cancer and other diseases.

III. Palatability

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Energy drinks definitely lacks the versatility when it comes to taste. Because of its predominantly synthetic components, energy drinks are mixed with high amounts of sweeteners to neutralize the medicine-like taste thus making it more palatable. As a result, not only do they become more appealing to younger demographics, but they also cause cases of hazardous over-consumption and even addiction.

What is even more alarming is that hard-partying young people have a tendency to ingest energy drinks along with alcohol, thus confusing their nervous systems with the simultaneous and opposing effects of a stimulant and a depressant. This may lead to heart palpitation, anxiety, aggressive and hostile behavior, paranoia and at times, serious health complications or even death.

On the other side of the imaginary net, matcha is poised to unleash a barrage of diverse flavors. High quality powders naturally possess a fusion of subtle sweetness and pleasant savory taste, otherwise known to the Japanese as umami. It also has a malty and creamy quality when mixed with plain hot or cold water or liquid dairy products. Although matcha can also be used as an ingredient for ice cream, cakes, and more, we will stick to its use as a beverage as not to go astray from our topic.

Unlike one-note energy drinks, matcha can be enjoyed in many different ways, and its natural flavor can further be enhanced to suit anyone’s preferred taste and texture. It can be mixed with sweeteners, citrus juices, creams, spices, and more. You can have it hot, iced or even as a smoothie, blended with fresh fruits, ice and milk. It can even be infused into refreshing alcoholic cocktails. In fact, there is a growing trend of matcha-suffused cocktail creations served in various bars and restaurants across the globe.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no contest between the two contenders. Whether the subject is taste, nutritional benefits, energy and mood enhancing effects, or even value-for-money, matcha definitely trumps energy drinks in all fronts. No wonder, more and more athletes and fitness enthusiasts are now filling their sports bottles with the good green stuff.

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