I’ve just discovered a secret weapon for cyclists: Matcha tea! I’ve been drinking My Matcha Life tea (their Barista’s Matcha) for the last three weeks – and during that short time, my number of miles cycled per week has doubled. And I am feeling happier and calmer. So I did some research to find out what this Matcha tea stuff does, and the answers surprised me. I thought I would spread the good news!
Why Cyclists Should Drink Matcha Tea
Turns out that Matcha tea has a whole range of benefits that are perfectly suited to cycling. In brief, these benefits have to do with energy, mood, focus, weight loss and fat burning.
Weight Loss and Matcha Tea
Matcha tea is a superior type of green tea. Studies have shown that green tea can help with weight loss. One study followed 132 obese adults who were put on a diet and exercise regime. Half of them took green tea extract and half were given a placebo. After 12 weeks, the group using the real green tea had lost significantly more abdominal fat.
In another study, researchers found that green tea extract increased fat oxidation (burning fat). Participants cycled at 60 per cent intensity. Those who took green tea extract burned 17 per cent more fat than those who took a placebo. This is especially important for long distance and competitive cyclists, because if they can burn more fat while cycling, they can preserve their carbohydrate stores for later in the ride. And of course, pretty much ALL cyclists are happy to burn off some fat – leaving less weight to be carried on the bike!
Why Commuter Cyclists Should Drink Matcha Tea – Fight Free Radicals!
Matcha tea contains powerful antioxidants to fight free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that develop in the body due to oxidation; even just breathing causes oxidation. Unless we have high amounts of antioxidants in our bodies an imbalance of free radicals vs. antioxidants will occur. Free radicals can increase due to exposure to toxins in our environment and food, and mental and emotional stress. Even exercise such as cycling can increase free radicals. Free radicals attack healthy cells, leaving them damaged and unable to perform at optimal levels, and leaving you susceptible to disease and premature aging.
Think of it: you’re cycling hard, sure that you are making yourself healthier. But you’re breathing polluted air, and breathing lots of it because you are expending energy and breathing deeper. The environmental toxins and the exercise cause free radicals to form – and they attack you!
So how to make sure your cycling does not do more harm than good? That’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants fight off and neutralize free radicals.
Matcha contains catechins, which are powerhouse antioxidants. One of these important antioxidants is the EGCG catechin. Studies have shown that Matcha contains three times more EGCG than regular green teas.
Better than Blueberries!
The ORAC scale is used to measure antioxidant power (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – the ability of a substance to destroy free radicals). Matcha tea scores higher on this scale than blueberries and most other fruits and vegetables. It can destroy 1,583 units per gram, while the much-touted blueberries destroy only 24 units per gram. I was quite shocked to read this – I try to eat blueberries almost every day because I know they fight free radicals, but I had no idea Matcha tea is way better than blueberries.
Save Your Helmet Hair!
Did you know that matcha tea can actually help to stop hair loss? Read more about that in this interesting post about the scientific research that shows how matcha tea can actually help to save your hair.
Another Reason Commuter Cyclists Should Drink Matcha Tea – To Stay Focused!
Anyone who has ridden a bike in traffic – or in pretty much any public place – knows that it is essential to stay very focused. Two days ago I was cycling in broad daylight on a road with absolutely no cars, wearing a high visibility vest. Yet a motorist suddenly came roaring straight through a stop sign towards me. I was approaching his left side, while he was gunning his way across the stop line, focused on clenching his cigarette between his teeth and looking to the right as he did a left turn.
Then just today, I was on a quiet bike route with lots of bikes and almost no cars – and yet I almost had a head-on collision with a car that was coming the WRONG WAY around a traffic circle. Luckily, on both occasions I was focused and wide awake (hey, I now drink Matcha tea before every ride) – so I was able to take rapid evasive action and yell, and avoid collisions that could have done me a whole lot of damage. The short video below shows this event. Once I started yelling, the motorist turned his vehicle away to avoid me. (There is no sound in the video because I was not terribly polite.)
L-Theanine in Matcha Tea Boosts Focus
L-Theanine is an amino acid found almost exclusively in tea leaves (except for very small amounts found in certain mushrooms). Studies have shown L-theanine plays a role in improving cognitive performance, boosting mental focus, and aiding in stress reduction.
L-Theanine is found in high quantities in Matcha tea because of the way it is grown. The tea leaves destined for Matcha production are shade covered, which blocks the sunlight, causing a number of chemical reactions. One of those reactions is the increase in L-theanine content, especially in the leaves at the top of the shaded plant. The higher the L-theanine content in the tea leaf, the smoother tasting the resulting Matcha will be. The difference in the amount of L-theanine between a better quality Matcha tea and a lower quality one can be as high as 50%. That’s why it’s essential to choose a really high quality Matcha tea, such as My Matcha Life’s Barista’s Matcha.
Interesting fact: Monks used to drink Matcha tea to enhance their meditation!
Matcha Tea Gives Cyclists Energy
As I mentioned, I have been cycling a lot more since I started drinking Match tea. That is likely due to the stimulants in Matcha tea.
Matcha contains three types of stimulants: caffeine, theophylline and theobromine. They are more accurately known as derivatives of xanthines called methylxanthines. Caffeine is the most well known of these stimulants, but they all contribute to the uplifting effect experienced by many Matcha consumers. In comparison to the effects of the stimulants in coffee, Matcha’s stimulant properties are quite different. Matcha users proclaim a gentler and more sustained stimulatory impact on body and brain, perhaps due to the synergy of the methylxanthines and L-Theanine synergies. I definitely agree that Matcha tea stimulates me without causing the adverse effects that I sometimes experience from caffeine.
I down Matcha tea before my morning and my evening ride. The stimulants in the Matcha tea are useful in the morning because I haven’t had any coffee, so I need help waking up fully and becoming focused. And they are useful in the evening because I have been sitting for hours and I’m often feeling tired – my Matcha tea gives me a much needed boost of energy.
A half teaspoon of Matcha tea provides about 30 mg of caffeine (compared to a cup of coffee that provides about 100 g). I cannot drink coffee after noon (unless I actually want to stay up all night), but a half teaspoon of Match tea at 5.00 p.m. does not impact my sleep patterns at all. However, it does give me the energy to get back on my bike. In the morning I use a full spoonful to get me going.
Matcha Tea Makes Cyclists Happy
We all know that cycling can give you a great feel-good glow. But I have to admit that has been waning a bit for me, due to a whole lot of stresses in my life. The other day I had a weird feeling as I was cycling home, and then remembered what that feeling was – I felt happy! It could have something to do with the L-theanine in my Matcha tea, as L-theanine can make you feel happier by increasing the dopamine levels in your brain.
I can definitely attest that I am feeling happier since I have been drinking Matcha tea twice a day. I honestly don’t know if it is a direct result of the Matcha, or if it is because I am cycling more, and exercise improves your mood (some studies suggest that it is more effective than medicinal antidepressants).
My Matcha Life’s Barista’s Matcha is a Superior Product
Barista’s Matcha is a good combination of L-theanine, catechins including EGCG, and caffeine. Lower quality Matcha has much lower levels of L-theanine, so it does not help as much with focusing and de-stressing. And Barista’s Matcha has a good amount of the EGCG catechin to help fight the destructive free radicals that are caused by exhaust fumes, air pollution, and exercise.
For many people, Matcha tea is a delicious drink, and is often part of an entire ritualized process of preparation. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. In fact, I have to admit that I have not yet acquired the taste for Matcha tea. Hopefully, that will come with time. In the meantime, I mix it into my morning smoothie, and then before coming home just mix my half spoonful of Matcha tea with water, and chug it – fast. One user recommended blending it with warm almond milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon – I will try that one of these days – when I am feeling brave and adventurous.
I also have to admit that I did not believe the hype about Match tea before I tried it. But after trying it, I highly recommend that you try a good Matcha tea such as My Matcha Life’s Barista’s Matcha – see if it increases your cycling mileage, keeps you more focused and safer, and enhances that feel-good feeling on the bike!
Matcha Tea Experts
The owners of My Matcha Life have many years of experience of the health food industry in general and Matcha tea in particular – they know their stuff! My Matcha Life Products was founded on the principles of the Japanese tea ceremony: harmony, purity, respect and tranquility. The owners added authenticity, community and fun to those principles. Here, CEO Calli O’Brien demonstrates how easy it is to make matcha tea:
My Matcha Life CEO Calli O’Brien is an internationally acknowledged expert on Matcha tea. She has picked tea leaves, worked with Matcha Tea Masters, and toured the Japanese mills where the world’s finest Matcha tea powder is stone-ground to perfection. Calli has delivered a guest lecture on Matcha tea at the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. She is also an expert on the usefulness of Matcha for athletes, as she is a keen athlete who has won multiple awards.
For a limited time, use this exclusive coupon for Average Joe Cyclist readers to get 20% off My Matcha life tea: ajc20
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