I've been on a massive Matcha kick lately, and for good reason! Matcha has been growing in popularity for the last several years due to its robust health benefits, bright green glow, and the chance to level up your coffee shop game. Matcha is made from ground-up tea leaves and has a rich nutrient profile packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and caffeine. We’re going to talk more about matcha green tea benefits and how this powerful green powder can boost your health.
What Is Matcha
Matcha is a type of green tea, yet unlike traditional green tea, which is steeped with hot water, matcha is made from ground-up tea leaves formed into a powder. The powder is whisked into water, as opposed to being steeped then removed. Because of this, when you consume matcha, you’re getting a higher concentration of vitamins and nutrients.
Matcha Nutrition Facts
Matcha contains little to calories, fat, protein, or any macronutrients, but mainly consists of vitamins, nutrients, and powerful plant compounds, specifically antioxidants called catechins. Natural antioxidants account for as much as 30% of the dry weight of matcha green tea [R].
Green tea contains four main catechins
- epicatechin (EC)
- epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG)
- epigallocatechin (EGC)
- epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)
of which the latter is the most active and abundant. Catechins provide commanding antioxidant power, helping to reduce your susceptibility to chronic disease states, as well as improve the aging process, through it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Green tea also contains other exceptionally powerful polyphenols and antioxidants such as Rutin, Quercetin, Chlorophyll which gives matcha is bright green glow, Vitamin C and the stress releasing amino acid Theanine.
Caffeine wise, a regular cup of matcha contains around 70mg of caffeine whereas a regular cup of coffee contains anywhere from 100-200mg of caffeine.
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Matcha Green Tea Benefits
1. Matcha Benefits: Weight Loss And Obesity
Obesity affects a wide range of people. Weight management is especially crucial to help improve overall health and quality of life. A wide range of studies have shown that catechins found in matcha powder have anti-obesity and antidiabetic effects [R].
One study found that overweight participants given 300mg of EGCG for just two days, were observed with increased fat oxidation rates [R].
A comprehensive review investigating green tea for weight loss in obese adults, identified several randomized controlled trials of at least a 12-week duration, and found that matcha green tea can help in weight loss by increasing fat oxidation and thermogenesis [R].
2. Matcha Benefits: Boosts Brain Function
Several studies have pointed to matcha and green tea’s ability to enhance cognitive function and mood, especially since matcha delivers higher concentrations of antioxidants and polyphenols than traditional green tea.
A systematic review found 49 interventional studies, on the acute psychoactive effects of caffeine, L-theanine, and EGCG on different dimensions of mood and cognitive performance. Considering that matcha contains robust levels of caffeine and l-theanine, the study found that matcha may improve levels of focus, mental clarity, calmness, and brain functioning [R].
One study gave 23 participants either matcha tea or a matcha bar, while the control group a placebo tea and bar. The study found an overall improvement in attention, task reaction time, and memory recall [R].
3. Matcha Benefits: May Help Prevent Chronic Disease
Matcha is packed with powerful health promoting antioxidants, which have been linked to preventing chronic disease states such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Antioxidants help reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production and accumulation of oxygen reactive species (ROS) also known as free radicals in cells and tissues and the ability to detoxify these reactive products with antioxidants.
Cancer is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States each year. Research shows that polyphenolic compounds from green tea possess anticancer properties. Anticancer activity effects have been shown on prostate, colon, and breast cancer. Studies have shown that polyphenols may inhibit the growth of cancer cells [R].
Heart disease is also a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Studies have shown that green tea and matcha can reduce levels of total cholesterol and bad “LDL” cholesterol and balance triglyceride levels. If your cholesterol is too high, it builds up on the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup is known as atherosclerosis. This condition causes arteries to become narrowed, and the narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the heart [R, R].
Matcha Green Tea: Takeaway
Next time you're at your local coffee shop and feel like switching things up, try out a delicious Matcha Green Tea latte. Loaded with disease fighting antioxidants and powerful plant compounds, Matcha is a delicious way to help keep your body healthy and happy!
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