The thing about the keto diet or any diet in general is that you have to limit your food intake either by avoiding certain foods or simply by limiting their intake. This often leads people to think that their food options are limited, which is often considered a demotivator.
Due to this misconception, people often miss out on foods that are otherwise healthy, filled with nutrition and more importantly ideal for their diets. However, it's on the contrary, and there are plenty of healthy foods filled with nutrients that you can add to your keto diet.
Yes, you read that correctly! One example of such healthy food items is Matcha considering the recent rise in its popularity. It's a rich source of nutrients, especially antioxidants. But is Matcha keto friendly? Here’s a detailed insight into Matcha and its carbohydrates composition.
What Is Matcha?
Matcha is a type of green tea leaves but finely grounded into a powdered form. Similar to other types of tea, Matcha also comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant.
The green tea leaves used for making Matcha involves a specific growth process. Ideally, the green tea plants are covered in the shade for up to 21 – 28 days before they are harvested.
During the span of 3 – 4 weeks, the green tea plant produces a high amount of theanine and caffeine, which are the primary reasons why they are covered in the first place. Once harvested, the green tea plants are prepared for processing by removing the veins and stem part.
This allows the plant to be grounded into a fine powdered form easily, which can then be consumed by simply mixing it in water or milk depending on individual preferences.
In the early days, it was only consumed in the East Asian parts of the world, but with time, it has made its way to the other parts of the world as well due to its health benefits. In modern times, it consumed in a number of ways, including:
- Used as a natural flavoring for different foods
- Used as a dye for different foods
- Used as an ingredient in green tea or matcha ice cream
- Used in matcha lattes
In terms of taste, it has a non-bitter and different taste than regular green tea. Moreover, it also has a unique aroma, in fact, it's also considered one of the most aromatic forms of green tea.
Since Matcha has high levels of caffeine, you might be concerned about it leaving you with a buzzy rush like coffee. Interestingly, it isn’t anything like coffee. Despite the raised levels of caffeine, it doesn't have a buzzy rush and simply makes you feel more energetic and focused.
Considering how popular and in-demand Matcha has become, there are different brands offering their own variety of Matcha in terms of the quality. Some brands might even have added sugar to slightly enhance the flavor of Matcha.
However, the best way to consume matcha is still in its natural form, without any additives. So, make sure to get one without any sugars.
On a side note, you should know that Matcha doesn't last forever. It has a rather short shelf life of only 2 months once you open the container. It will give you the best flavor and color for the first two months and then gradually deteriorate.
If you intend to store it for longer periods, you should get smaller containers or boxes of matcha and preferably store it in the refrigerator to preserve its freshness.
Now that you have an insight into what Matcha is and how it is typically consumed, let reiterate our initial question, is Matcha keto? Let’s find out.
Is Matcha Keto?
For a food to fall in the keto friendly category of foods, it has to be low in carbs. Now, talking of the carbs composition of Matcha, a 1 gram serving of Matcha contains 0.385 carbs, which makes it almost carb-free.
Based on the carbs composition of Matcha it's extremely low in carbs thus making it perfect for keto diets. However, despite being low in carbs, Matcha is a nutritional super food and has high amounts of proteins, amino acids, lipids, and essential minerals.
Since Matcha is carb-free and low in overall fats, you can consume it almost every day without having to worry about Matcha bumping up your carbs intake. Furthermore, there is also no risk of Matcha taking your body out of ketosis.
What’s even interesting is that a single serving of Matcha tea is only 1g. It is more than enough to make one cup of Matcha tea while still retaining all of the nutrition.
Another reason why you may want to incorporate Matcha into your keto diet plan is how effective it is in terms of weight loss.
Other benefits of Matcha include substantial improvement in mental clarity, boosted energy levels, and improved regulation of blood sugar levels. More on the health benefits of Matcha are discussed in the later part of the article.
For now, let’s look at the nutritional values of Matcha.
Matcha: Nutritional Profile
A single serving of 1 gram or half tsp has approximately the following naturally existing nutrients. These include:
|Carbs||0.385 g or 385 mg|
|Caffeine (Tea-based)||25 mg|
|Dietary fibers||385 mg|
|Total Amino Acids||272 mg|
|Vitamin A (Carotene)||595 mg|
|Vitamin A (Retinol)||99.18 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.06 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.0135 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.009 mg|
|Vitamin C||0.6 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.281 mg|
|Vitamin K||29 mcg|
As you can tell, the list of nutrients in Matcha is substantial. Technically speaking, Matcha tea has over 10 times more nutrients compared to other teas like regular green tea, black tea, white tea, yerba mate and rooibos tea.
These nutrients are amongst the essential ones required by your body and will lead to an overall improvement in your health. More on the health benefits are discussed in the next section.
Health Benefits Of Consuming Matcha Tea On A Keto Diet:
Here are some health benefits you can receive from drinking Matcha tea while on a keto diet.
1. Rich Source Of Antioxidants:
Matcha is a rich source of antioxidants. The tea contains an excellent amount of catechins which is a plant based compound that serves the role of a naturally existing antioxidant.
Antioxidants are a crucial part of your body as they help fight off harmful free radicals from your body. These free radicals would otherwise lead towards substantial cell damage which becomes the basis of a wide number of chronic diseases.
Furthermore, when compared to traditional green tea leaves, Matcha powder contains all of the nutrients that you can receive from the entire leaf. Moreover, it will also have a greater amount of these catechins, and naturally existing antioxidants compared to green tea.
Statistically speaking, according to a study, Matcha contains over 137 times more catechins compared to other green tea types.
Thus, adding Matcha to your keto diet plan would increase the number of antioxidants in your body which can then lower the chances of chronic disease.
2. Matcha Can Help Protect The Liver From Toxins:
Liver is a crucial part of your body which essentially helps your body in the following ways:
- Removing toxins from your body
- Aiding in the metabolizing of drugs
- Processing nutrients
When you consume Matcha as part of your daily diet, it will substantially improve your liver function and help maintain optimum liver health. It can help lower the liver enzyme levels in your body which is an indication of liver damage.
Lower the number of enzymes in your liver, the healthier your liver will be.
3. Significantly Improves The Brain Function:
Matcha contains high amounts of L-theanine which is basically an amino acid. It helps lead towards increased mental alertness and increased cognitive ability.
In simpler terms, Matcha can increase your attention span, your memory, and lead to a better reaction time. In addition to this, L-theanine found in Matcha can increase the activity of the alpha wave in your brain which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and lowering stress.
Summing up, drinking Matcha tea can help you feel more focused, energized and relaxed.
4. May Help Prevent Cancer
Matcha is an excellent source of naturally existing nutrients including some that can effectively lower the risk or even prevent cancer in your body. Matcha tea contains a high amount of epigallocatechin gallate or (EGCG) which is a type of catechins.
1 gram of Matcha tea contains over a whopping 17. 5 mg of EGCG compared to 0.05 mg in green tea. Consuming high amounts of EGCG will help in terms of protecting your cells from DNA related damage and suppressing the growth of tumor cells.
This ultimately detoxifies your body and lowers the risks of any type of cancer in your body. So, simply drinking Matcha tea can keep you safe from cancers thus ensuring a healthy life.
5. Matcha Can Help Promote Heart Health:
The antioxidants and nutrients present in Matcha can substantially improve your heart health and substantially lower the risks of cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, heart diseases are amongst one of the top reasons of death throughout the world.
Matcha helps reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol which is considered the bad type of cholesterol. Furthermore, it can also help lower the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which also helps in protecting you against cardiovascular complications.
In addition to this, Matcha helps in lowering your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. It helps keep your blood pressure levels regulated thus ensuring your heart stays healthy regardless of how old you are.
6. Matcha Can Aid In Better Weight Management:
The catechins present in Matcha are associated with better weight management in terms of fat reduction and weight loss. These catechins lead to an increase in your metabolic rate and boost your caloric and fat burning specifically during exercises.
Keto Friendly Matcha Recipes:
There are plenty of keto friendly Matcha recipes available online. Here are some recipes just to get you started on your Matcha journey.
Keto Matcha Latte:
- 1 teaspoon of Matcha powder – Any brand would work as long as there are no added sugars or extra ingredients.
- 1 cup warm water – to dissolve the matcha powder without lumps.
- Heavy cream – Although it is a dairy product, but it is keto friendly. If you are on a dairy-free diet, you can use coconut milk or coconut cream instead for adding flavoring to your matcha latte
- Almond milk – must be unsweetened so that they do not affect your carbs intake
- Keto-friendly sweeteners – If you want an added touch of sweetness, you can add erythritol or allulose in small amounts. Or, if you can source vanilla extract (stevia based), it would also work.
- Start by heating water in a small saucepan. Wait till it is lukewarm or medium warm and then add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder in it. Using a small whisk, mix the matcha powder in the water until it is fully dissolved. This will allow you to avoid lumps in your tea.
- Next, add the heavy cream and a half cup of almond milk (unsweetened) into the mix.
- Set the temperature to medium heat and let the saucepan sit for a maximum of 2 to 3 minutes. Wait until bubbles are formed on the edges of the saucepan and turn off the heat immediately.
- Serve while hot and enjoy!
Optional steps – If you own a milk frothier, add ¼ cup of almond milk to the container, let it froth and then finally add it to your keto Matcha latte. Or you can also top it off with a blob or squirt of whipped cream for an added aesthetic touch!
Is Matcha tea keto friendly? Yes, it is almost carb free and only contains 0.385 mg of carbohydrates in a single cup serving. It is a rich source of nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help improve your health substantially.
When you add Matcha tea to your regular keto diet plan, it will lead to an increased brain function, improved state of relaxation, better weight management, and lowered risk of life-altering health conditions like heart diseases and cancers.
So, not only will you be under your daily carb limit, but you will also get to benefit from the superfood containing essential nutrients!
If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, click on one of the links below: