One of my fav custom drinks at Starbucks is a Green Tea Caramel Latte. If it’s a rainy day or I want to treat that’s my go to order. Since summer has finally arrived, I thought I would take my fav latte and turn it into a fun summer drink!
We alll deserve a treat every once in a while, especially a cool one with the heat of summer – but of course in true culinary nutrition fashion I decided to pop in a healthy ingredient or two 🙂
This time it’s matcha
Matcha is a finely ground, high-grade, concentrated green tea that has been used traditionally in ancient Japanese tea ceremonies for hundreds of years. Its know for its brilliant green color and sweet flavor. Zen Buddhist monks drank it to remain alert and calm during long hours of meditation. It can also be a great alternative to coffee if you need a pick me up. For more coffee alternative ideas check this out.
What’s interesting about matcha is that it is grown in the shade to to slow down growth and increase production of amino acids, and it’s chlorophyll content. which produces a sweeter tea. Now you made of heard the word tencha in relation to matcha. In the final stage of producing matcha the dried tea leaf is ground into powder that dissolves in liquid using a stone mortar by a certified tea artisan.
After the grinding, it’s known as ‘matcha’. Everything that happens before this final grinding process [hand picking the leaves and laying them flat to dry] is referred to as the production of ‘tencha’.
VIDEO MORE YOUR THANG? CHECK OUT HOW EASY THIS RECIPE IS IN ACTION!
3 Health Benefits of Matcha
Matcha has been in the spotlight quite a bit recently because of its health benefits.
Since the leaves are dissolved in water rather than steeped in bags you benefit from all their antioxidant powers.
Matcha green tea has antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, 17 times that of wild blueberries and 60.5 times that of spinach!
The secret behind matcha’s super strength is found in its polyphenol compounds called catechins, a type of antioxidant found in superfoods like green tea, cocoa and apples. It’s also amazing for increasing your metabolism and increasing your energy.
Here are 3 powerful health benefits of matcha:
1) Increases Weight Loss
Matcha green tea contains the polyphenol EGCG, a thermogenic component believed to boost metabolism. A 1999 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming matcha increased thermogenesis (the body’s rate of burning calories) from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure!
Another study demonstrated that exercising immediately after drinking matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise.
Both studies suggest matcha green tea can enhance both resting metabolic rate and fat burning. I share more of these fat burning foods and metabolism boosting strategies in my weight loss program Metabolism on Fire.
2) Cancer Prevention
The potent antioxidants mentioned earlier called catechins, seek out dangerous free radicals in your body and encourages your body’s natural detoxification systems. You can learn about more detox foods here.
The most powerful catechin found in green tea is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen.
In study done by University of Colorado study in 2003 they found that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea.
3) Anti Aging
I talk about this more in my book but one of the locales in the world where people live the longest is Okinawa, Japan. These areas of the world are called Blue Zones. In addition to the food that they eat, and the close social bonds they have with their family and community, the Okinawan people’s longevity has been partly attributed to regular consumption of Matcha Green Tea.
4) Brain Booster
Matcha green tea contains L-theanine which is an amino acid with psychoactive properties. No it that doesn’t mean that you’ll get high but L-theanine is known to induce alpha wave activity in the brain.
Why should you care? Well stress is known to induce your brain’s beta wave activity, which leads to a more agitated state. Alpha wave activity can promote relaxation, relieve stress, and even lower blood pressure. Again, that’s why Buddhist monks drank it to remain alert and calm during long hours of meditation.
Although matcha contains some caffeine, the relaxing properties of L-theanine counterbalance the “jittery” effects of caffeine. Therefore, a cup of matcha green tea promotes concentration and clarity of mind without producing any of the nervous energy typically associated with coffee. Don’t forget to check out this post if you’re looking for some coffee alternatives to give you a boost!
Okay so as much as I looooove matcha there’s also another ingredient that I snuck into this tasty milkshake that will make this milkshake sticky and sweet. Dates!
Date Health Benefits
I can’t believe was a time that dates actually made me cringe. I just couldn’t do it. Then I started to get creative and learned that they’re a healthier way to sweeten treats. Dates are not only a great natural sweetener in your smoothies and desserts they’re also really high in fiber.
They’re great for adding sweetness in a natural healthier way without additives. Dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. These sugars are easily processed and utilized by the body for energy which makes dates a great natural energy booster as well.
I also included them in this energizing smoothie.
My go to are Medjool which are high in vitamins and nutrients are are also plumper and sweeter. Medjool dates have a deep brown color and my fav part is that they taste caramel-like! Hence the caramel in this milkshake!
When’s the last time a milkshake gave you all of THAT?!
Hey if you enjoyed this post, and want to learn more sneaky tips on how to make your favourite foods in a healthier way, check out this free healthy sweets guide so you can learn how to make healthy treats without sacrificing flavour!
- 1/2 cup Almond Breeze Coconut Milk
- 1 cup of PC Coconut ice cream
- 1 teaspoon matcha
- 2 tablespoons caramel sauce [recipe below]
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup ice
- 2 tablespoons toasted coconut [optional]
- 16 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
- Water to thin [if needed]
- Add all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until mixture is smooth and there are no date chunks. Add more almond milk if needed to help to blend more smoothly or to thin the caramel. Use immediately or store in the fridge for later.
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Drizzle caramel in glass. Pour milkshake in and top with toasted coconut and more caramel sauce if desired.