Matcha ranks right up there with other purported superfoods like mushrooms, kefir, wild blueberries, turmeric, ginger, and ginger ale. As it is in powder form, adding it to smoothies, beverages, and even baked products is simple. It may be found in anything from iced matcha lattes to macarons and mochi but is especially prevalent in sweet foods like boba and sweets and ice cream. While some prefer the earthy flavor that matcha imparts, others only want to take advantage of the supposed health advantages.
What exactly is this well-known green powder? William Li, MD, a physician and food researcher, notes that matcha is a unique kind of green tea and that it is believed to be higher in polyphenols than ordinary green tea. “Matcha’s antioxidants have been demonstrated to provide a variety of health advantages, including better circulation, decreased cholesterol, and accelerated metabolism.”
The history of matcha tea dates back almost a thousand years to Japan. Matcha and green tea both come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but they are harvested in different ways, which may give matcha a tiny advantage over green tea. According to a review printed in the January 2021 issue of Molecules, Japanese matcha is produced by protecting the tea plant from direct sunlight. This increases the amount of chemicals including chlorophyll, caffeine, amino acids, and antioxidants in the tea.
The main characteristics of matcha are its vibrant, deep green color, and high antioxidant content. According to the review described above, matcha has the highest concentration of the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Green teas also include the antioxidants epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epicatechin gallate (ECG). According to Austin, Texas-based RDN Jenna Volpe, “Matcha and green tea have been shown to help everything from digestion to heart health to metabolism, cognitive function, cancer prevention, and more due to their extraordinarily high concentration of catechins.
You don’t need to buy costly pastries or Instagrammable beverages at your neighborhood coffee shop if you want to give matcha a try (though that can be fun, too). Making matcha at home is easy; just whisk the bright powder into your preferred liquid.
1. The Caffeine in Matcha May Boost Energy Levels
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep, which may help to explain why so many people rely on liquid energy drinks to get them through the morning and afternoon. the conventional approach? although energy drinks are also becoming more popular, coffee. According to the National Coffee Association, 62 percent of Americans consume coffee every day. Nevertheless, matcha is a different caffeine source that you should add to your rotation.
The Cleveland Clinic claims that matcha has more caffeine per serving than coffee, green tea, or black tea. Although the amount of caffeine in matcha can vary, the Molecules article’s writers indicate that it ranges from 18.9 to 44.4 milligrams (mg) per gram of matcha powder. According to Volpe, the amount of caffeine in an 8-ounce (oz) cup of matcha produced from matcha powder and water ranges from 76 to 180 mg. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an 8 oz cup of green or black tea has 30-50 mg, whereas an equivalent-sized cup of coffee contains 80-100 mg (FDA).
It’s not a good idea for everyone to drink more coffee. According to Volpe, some people may get IBS, IBD, anxiety, or sleeplessness problems as a result of the caffeine in matcha. Matcha is a wonderful source of caffeine if you’re not sensitive to it, but make sure to get your caffeine fix in the morning rather than the afternoon or evening so it doesn’t keep you up at night. The National Sleep Foundation recommends attempting to quit taking coffee at least eight hours before going to bed.
2. Matcha May Improve Attention and Memory
A study involving sleep-deprived college students found that caffeine also made it simpler to complete memory tests during less-than-ideal periods, including the early morning. Caffeine is well known for its ability to improve energy and alertness.
Theanine, an amino acid found in matcha that is linked to increased focus and less stress, may also support those effects, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Li cites a randomized controlled trial that included young individuals experiencing acute stress and was published in April 2021 in Nutrition Research as evidence that drinking matcha enhances attention, focus, and cognitive function. Similar results from a similar study conducted by the same researchers with middle-aged and older persons were reported in the May 2021 issue of Nutrients. When combined with coffee, matcha enhanced mental stress sufferers’ attention and productivity more than caffeine did on its own.
Because to the theanine, caffeine, and EGCG content, matcha has been dubbed a “mood-and-brain food” for its positive benefits on memory and concentration.
3. Matcha May Protect Against Neurodegenerative Disorders and Cognitive Decline
Here’s another possible justification for choosing matcha if you’re worried about brain damage.
While green tea and matcha are extremely similar, according to Volpe, matcha has a larger concentration of quercetin, a pigmented flavonoid with unique antioxidant capabilities that essentially shield our cells from harm and slow the aging process in many different ways. Matcha has a lot of vitamin K, according to a study published in the December 2020 Nutrients. Researchers discovered matcha powder showed preventive effects against cognitive deterioration in elderly women when it was regularly consumed.
Matcha is frequently investigated for its potential effects on Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases, in part because it contains a lot of quercetin, which can cross the blood-brain barrier. This statement is backed up by a review that was published in the April 2022 Molecules.
Another review that was written about quercetin and its neuroprotective properties against Alzheimer’s disease was published in the January 2020 issue of Biomolecules.
4. Matcha May Support a Healthy Heart with Its Cardioprotective Benefits
Although heart health should go without saying, there are still many heart-related problems in the US. According to the CDC, high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects around 47% of adult Americans. It is frequently referred to as the “silent killer” because it doesn’t manifest any physical signs and can only be found through blood pressure checks. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s critical to maintain normal blood pressure because excessive pressure levels raise the chance of major health consequences like heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
The good news is that a heart-healthy lifestyle can include matcha. Volpe points out that no one food may prevent disease, but matcha can if it is used as part of a healthy diet. She adds that matcha’s heart-protective properties have been extensively researched. “EGCG in matcha helps lower oxidative stress and inflammation, two contributors to heart disease. Yet, the majority of studies either include green tea or involve animals. An earlier meta-analysis discovered a link between drinking green tea and overall positive results in terms of the risk of heart disease. Notwithstanding the need for more thorough research in people, matcha has been shown to lower blood sugar, triglycerides, and total cholesterol in studies on animals.
5. The Antioxidants in Matcha May Have Anticancer Properties
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for cancer prevention. Nonetheless, consuming matcha as a part of a balanced diet may be a wise choice.
Although further research is needed, matcha may help slow or stop the proliferation of cancer cells, according to Volpe. Researchers are only now beginning to comprehend the mechanisms underlying how green tea and matcha function to prevent some types of cancer, according to Volpe. “The roles of green tea and matcha in the prevention of some types of cancer have been studied globally for a long time.
EGCG may be a potential theoretical mechanism. According to a review published in Molecules in July 2020, this tea component has a chemopreventive impact, and there is clinical evidence that EGCG plays a substantial role in the suppression and prevention of specific forms of cancer.
Breast and colon cancers are the main focus of matcha and EGCG anticancer research. According to a study published in the August 2018 issue of Aging, “Matcha could inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer stem cells,” claims Li. These stem cells are the cause of some patients’ breast cancer recurrence even after apparently successful treatment, according to the statement. EGCG has also been demonstrated in another investigation to inhibit colon cancer stem cells.
6. Matcha May Support a Healthy Weight and Metabolism
What you drink counts if you want to reduce weight. What is on the table, especially if you don’t want to drink plain water? Previous study has shown why sugar-sweetened beverages should be avoided.
Matcha is, it turns out, and this verdant beverage can actually help you lose weight. Although more research on humans is required, an animal study that was published in August 2022 in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition raised the possibility that matcha may help to prevent obesity and treat metabolic problems.
Li cites other studies that suggests matcha may have fat-burning capabilities. Li quotes a study that was published in September 2018 in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. “Researchers studied matcha in females ages 19-35 who were of normal healthy weight and found that drinking matcha before exercising on a treadmill increased whole body fat oxidation, a marker of metabolism, by 35% compared with people who did not drink matcha,” Li says. Matcha essentially promotes the body to break down fatty acids when exercising, which helps to reduce body fat.
7. Matcha May Have Beneficial Effects on Liver Function
An essential organ that removes poisons from the blood is the liver. It is well recognized that alcohol and narcotics can be detrimental to the liver, potentially resulting in liver damage and raising the risk of liver illnesses.
In addition to drugs and alcohol, other aspects of lifestyle can harm the liver. Many liver disorders brought on by an overgrowth of fat in the liver are included in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, the cause of this is occasionally unknown, but it has been connected to obesity, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance. Matcha might be useful in this situation, however the research is few.
Researchers discovered that the group of obese mice fed matcha had lessened nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and increased liver function in an animal study that was published in the June 2021 Nutrients. The catechins in matcha, particularly EGCG, may be advantageous in persons with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; nevertheless, more human research are required. A review in the March 2022 issue of Medicines claims that EGCG has positive effects on the inflammation brought on by oxidative stress that can lead to liver disease.