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Mood Boosting Matcha Maca Latte

Updated: Sep 23, 2022


photo credit: Healthline

You may be wondering how this tea can support a good mood. Is it the ritual of making morning tea? Or maybe it's the healing ingredients that create this soothing tea? Perhaps it's simply the sitting and sipping action that is so comforting and warming?


Personally, I think this tea can support a happy mood through all of the above. It only takes minutes to make (I personally find the whisking action very satisfying :D); the ingredients in matcha alone have been shown to create calmness, not to mention the other tea ingredients' actions (see below!); and you can sip and sit or sip while doing what you do in the morning (checking email, walking the pup, making lunch ... you do you!).


All of the ingredients in this tea, from matcha powder to maca powder to spirulina powder to ground cinnamon, have been shown to support mood through their healing nutrients. If there is one thing you can do daily to improve cognition, boost mood, reduce inflammation, and manage stress — incorporate matcha tea into your daily (or even weekly) routine. (P.S. if the flavor of matcha tea in a latte tastes too earthy or bitter to you, try using it in baking instead! Add a teaspoon to pancake batter, muffin mix, or scones for a pretty-hued treat.) Feel free to omit the other ingredients in this tea for a simple matcha latte or add all of the ingredients listed for a super powered superfood beverage.


Keep reading to learn why this tea is so nourishing to the mind and get the recipe below.


Matcha




Wondering about the difference between matcha and green tea in tea bags? Green tea is grown under the sun and matcha tea is grown in the shade in the three weeks before it is harvested. Green tea has a dull green color with a brownish tone, and matcha tea is a bright vibrant green color. The shade increases the chlorophyll levels in the leaves that turn matcha its bright color. They're both very good for you with their antioxidant power, but matcha is exponentially better since it's the whole leaves ground into a powder and due to its chlorophyll content.


The most researched active components of green tea include epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), L-Theanine (L-THE), and caffeine. EGCG is thought to have many health benefits. In the context of mental health, however, EGCG has been shown to have a calming effect, relieve stress, improve memory, improve the ability to feel pleasure, and exerts protective effects in the brain. L-THE has been shown to encourage relaxation, reduce tension, stress, and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and increase alertness (especially in conjunction with caffeine). Caffeine is a substance of which most people are familiar. It is mostly associated with its ability to increase energy and alertness. Still, caffeine has also been shown to have positive effects on memory, motivation, and can contribute to feelings of wellbeing (albeit through more indirect means). While these components are shown to be sufficient alone, research has shown that they are more effective together, making green tea the perfect package for a mental pick-me-up.

Maca


photo credit Medical News Today

Maca is native to the Peruvian Andes and is actually from the cruciferous family (a cousin to kale, broccoli, and cauliflower). There have been promising studies showing maca's potential benefit on mood, menopause, and libido.


One study in postmenopausal women found reduced symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, balanced hormone levels, and reduced dependence on hormone replacement therapy. Another study conducted on 29 postmenopausal Chinese women found that the supplementation of 3.3 grams of dried maca powder a day for 12 weeks found improvements in diastolic blood pressure and depression. It is believed that the rich-flavonoid content in maca is the reason for improved mood. Researchers of this study conclude that the best dosing of maca powder is between 1–2 grams a day. Of note, it is best to start on a low dosage and then increase the dosage if symptoms are not improving. Older research findings suggest that maca may be helpful for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women. More research is needed, but, so far, it sounds pretty promising!


Spirulina


photo credit Healthline

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae grown in fresh and salt water and contains boatloads of nutrients that support brain health like protein, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, as well as lots of phytonutrients (that give spirulina its beautiful green hue). Because spirulina is so nutrient dense, it can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuro-protective effects. It's also a rich source of tryptophan, which is an amino acid that supports serotonin production (our feel-good neurotransmitter). One extensive research review states that preliminary clinical studies have suggested that dried spirulina powder can help to reduce mental fatigue and protect the vascular wall of brain vessels from endothelial damage. The amount of powder typically used in studies is 2 grams (about one rounded teaspoon). While this tea only contains 1/8 of a teaspoon, it's still adding extra nutrition to the tea. If you're feeling adventurous (yay for that!), try 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon.


Cinnamon

photo credit Wikipedia

Fun fact: Simply smelling cinnamon may stimulate your brain, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Studies show that including cinnamon in your diet may help improve attention, cognitive function, and memory. The polyphenols (plant nutrients) in cinnamon may act like antioxidants decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. This tea only calls for a dash, but you can certainly add more as you'd like!



Where to find the tea ingredients

You can find matcha tea in traditional grocery stores as well as speciality stores. Grocery stores, like Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Mother's Market, will also have spirulina powder and maca powder in their powder supplement sections. Cinnamon ... well, you'll probably find that in your pantry. ;) You can also purchase matcha, maca, and spirulina through Amazon, Navitas Organics, or Ancestral Roots.


Important! There are a few things to look for in a good quality matcha tea:


  1. Look at the ingredient list. It should only say matcha. (Some brands add rice bran or sugar as a filler or sweetener, respectively.)

  2. Make sure it's Japanese origin to ensure good quality.

  3. Choose organic matcha if you can. Lesser quality matcha can be a source of heavy metals and, of course, choosing organic will minimize pesticide exposure.

  4. Notice the green hue. The matcha should be bright green, not pale green. A bright green will offer a more delicate flavor and more nutrition. Expired matcha or matcha of lesser quality will have a faded green color and taste much more bitter.

  5. Finally, culinary grade can work for this tea. There are two choices when it comes to matcha: culinary or ceremonial grade. Ceremonial grade is what's traditionally used to make matcha tea with water. It has a more delicate flavor compared to culinary grade, but it also has a much bigger price tag (about $20 per ounce, depending on the brand). Culinary grade still has a delicate flavor if you use the suggestions above and is about $20 for 4 ounces, depending on the brand. One of my favorite brands is Sencha Naturals.


Okay, onward! You need this recipe.




Matcha Maca Mood Latte


Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 3 minutes


Ingredients

  • 6 ounces water

  • 8 ounces unsweetened soy milk or Oatly oat milk*

  • 1 tsp matcha tea powder

  • 1/2 tsp maca powder

  • 1/8 tsp spirulina powder

  • 1 dash ground cinnamon

*Note that soy milk is high in protein and very naturally thick compared to other plant-based milks so I highly recommend it for this latte. Almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk and others tend to be too watery for this beverage to be delicious. You could also use Oatly brand oat milk, which is also thick and creamy.


How to make

Heat the water and milk in a medium stovetop pot over medium-high heat. You'll want to warm the liquid through just before a boil, but not completely boiling. Add the matcha, maca powder, spirulina powder, and cinnamon. Whisk well until the powders are completely dissolved. (see video below!) Alternatively, you can add the heated milk and water to a blender, along with the powders, and blend until smooth. Taste for additional ingredients of choice (a little sweetener of choice, if you'd like, more cinnamon, or a dash of vanilla).


P.S. I LOVE this matcha whisk and the cute holder. If this tea becomes a ritual for you, I'd highly recommend investing in a matcha whisk!




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