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The Wholefoodie: Susan Jane White on how to fuel your brain with Matcha

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Susan Jane White

Susan Jane White

Susan Jane White

Our brains are crazy special. Every second of every waking day, our brains undertake an unquantifiable number of tasks. It's our own private internet service, organising and annotating tens of billions of synaptic connections, allowing our brain cells and brain domains to tango. Groovy, huh? I'd like to give my noggin all the help it can get, and am looking into matcha green tea powder as the power station du jour.

So what's the difference between regular green tea and matcha? It seems that the whole tea leaf is ground into a powder - as opposed to soaking inside a teabag - which helps explain why matcha has significantly more antioxidants and swagger than regular green tea. Then there's the Gaba-bombing feels. Matcha is particularly rich in L-theanine, an amino acid thought to help improve sleep and reduce anxiety.

L-theanine tickles the release of a neurotransmitter called Gaba, which is responsible for calming the brain. There's also some evidence to suggest our favourite feel-good chemical, dopamine, is triggered by L-theanine. So you get a hit of caffeine, followed by a Gaba riff and maybe even a dose of dopamine. What's not to love?

Instead of going to the trouble of making the fresh almond milk in this recipe, below, you could absolutely cheat by whizzing up your matcha powder in a blender with some oat milk or ready-made nut milk. But, for goodness, you can't beat freshly made nut milk. Lately I've become an insufferable doyenne of all things dermal, and let me tell you that raw almonds are phenomenal for the skin. All that vitamin E has me dizzy with desire. Otherwise known as the patron saint of youth, vitamin E is a maestro antioxidant that helps many other antioxidants up their tune. And if that tune means less UV damage this summer, sign me up.

 

Matcha nut milk

Makes 700ml

You will need:

200g raw almonds

700ml water

2 teaspoons matcha powder

2 teaspoons raw honey

1You will also need a nut-milk bag or a muslin cloth. Soak the raw almonds for six hours in a bowl of cool water. Drain and rinse the almonds, then tumble them into a high-speed blender along with 700ml fresh water. Whizz for 60 seconds.

2 Arrange your nut-milk bag or muslin cloth, whichever you are using, over a bowl and pour the blended nut milk into the bowl through the nut-milk bag or muslin cloth. It helps if you lift up the bag or cloth, twist until the contents are secure inside, and squeeze. As soon as all the liquid nut-milk goodness has collected in the bowl underneath, discard the nut pulp (or use it to make a granola).

3 Rinse your blender of any residual pulp, and whizz the matcha powder, the raw honey and the nut milk together for 10 seconds. Store the matcha nut milk in a clean glass bottle in the fridge until required. Serve over ice. Best quaffed within 3 days. 

Sunday Indo Living