Matcha, a type of green tea, is a liquid source of antioxidants that can support the heart, brain, and metabolism when included in a healthy diet.
Matcha joins other so-called superfoods such as turmeric, ginger, kefir, wild blueberries and mushrooms. It comes in powder form, so it’s easy to add to smoothies, drinks, and even baked goods. Between iced lattes, pasta, and mochi, it’s ubiquitous, especially in sweetened drinks like bubble tea and desserts like candy and ice cream. Some people like the earthy flavor that matcha adds, while others just want the supposed health benefits.
So what is this popular green powder? “Matcha is a special type of green tea, although it is believed to be richer in polyphenols than regular green tea,” explains physician and food researcher William Lee, MD. “The antioxidants in matcha have been shown to provide many health benefits, including boosting metabolism, lowering cholesterol, and improving circulation.”
Matcha belongs to the same family as green tea—green tea and matcha come from the camellia plant—but they are harvested differently, which explains why matcha might be slightly better than green tea. According to a review published in the January 2021 issue of Molecules, when matcha is prepared, the tea plant is protected from direct sunlight, which increases the content of compounds such as chlorophyll, caffeine, amino acids and antioxidants.
Matcha is known for its refreshing aroma, dark green pigment, and rich antioxidant content. The review above states that green tea contains the antioxidants epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epicatechin gallate (ECG), but matcha is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). “Because of their exceptionally high levels of catechins, matcha and green tea support everything from digestion to heart health, metabolism, cognition, cancer prevention and more,” says Jenna Wolpe, RDN of Austin, Texas. .
If you want to give the match a shot, you don’t have to buy expensive treats or Instagram drinks from your local coffee shop (although that’s fun too). Make matcha tea at home and make it easy – just add a tonic boost to the liquid of your choice.
In addition to looking good and tasting strong, here are seven ways matcha can improve your health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than a third of American adults don’t get enough sleep, which may explain why many turn to liquid energy for morning and afternoon energy. Where do you usually go? Coffee, although energy drinks are also on the rise. About 62 percent of Americans drink coffee every day, according to the National Coffee Association, but there’s another source of caffeine worth spending your time on: matcha tea.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, matcha is a richer source of caffeine than coffee, green tea, or black tea. The amount of caffeine in matcha varies, but the authors of the Molecules article state it can range from 18.9 to 44.4 milligrams (mg) per gram of matcha powder. Wolpe notes that an 8-ounce (oz) cup of matcha tea made with matcha powder and water contains 76–180 mg of caffeine. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an 8-ounce cup of green or black tea contains 30-50mg, while a similar-sized cup of coffee contains 80-100mg.
Increasing your caffeine intake isn’t good for everyone. “Caffeine in matcha can cause symptoms of IBS, IBD, anxiety, or insomnia in some people,” Wolpe said. If you’re not sensitive to caffeine, matcha is a good source, but be sure to consume caffeine in the morning and not in the afternoon or evening so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep. In general, try to cut out caffeine at least eight hours before bed, the National Sleep Foundation recommends.
Caffeine is widely known for its ability to boost energy and alertness, but it also makes it easier to perform memory tasks at sub-optimal times, such as early in the morning, according to a study involving tired college students.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, another substance that may enhance these effects is theanine, an amino acid in matcha that helps improve focus and reduces stress levels.
“Consuming matcha tea may improve focus, concentration, and cognitive function,” Dr. Li said, referring to a randomized controlled trial published in the April 2021 issue of Nutrition Research in people under acute stress. The same researchers conducted a study in middle-aged and older adults with similar results published in the May 2021 issue of Nutrition. Matcha with caffeine improves concentration and performance in people under psychological stress, to a greater extent than caffeine alone.
Some researchers call matcha “mood and brain food” due to its effects on concentration and memory, which can be explained by the presence of theanine, caffeine and EGCG.
“While green tea and matcha are very similar, matcha is actually much higher in quercetin, a pigmented flavonoid with exceptional antioxidant properties that significantly protect our cells from damage and slow down the aging process in several ways,” Wolpe said. According to a study published in the December 2020 issue, matcha tea is rich in vitamin K. Researchers found that matcha powder protected older women from cognitive decline when consumed daily.
“Match tea is often studied for its role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, in part because it is rich in quercetin, which crosses the blood-brain barrier,” Wolpe added in the April 2022 issue of Molecules. supports this view.
According to another review published in the January 2020 issue of Biomolecules, the link between quercetin and neuroprotection against Alzheimer’s disease is well documented.
The importance of heart health cannot be overstated, yet heart problems remain a major problem in the United States. According to the CDC, approximately 47 percent of American adults have high blood pressure. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it has no physical symptoms and can only be detected with a blood pressure test. Maintaining healthy blood pressure is important, according to the Mayo Clinic, as high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other serious health outcomes.
The good news is that matcha can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Wolpe notes that no single food is a cure-all, but if used as part of a balanced diet, matcha can be beneficial. “EGCG in matcha helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, two triggers of heart disease,” she says, adding that tea’s cardioprotective effects are well-studied. However, most of the research has focused on green tea or animals. A previous meta-analysis found an association between green tea consumption and overall favorable outcomes associated with heart disease risk. While more rigorous human studies are needed, past animal studies have shown that matcha may play a role in lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar.
When it comes to curbing cancer, there is no panacea. But drinking matcha as part of a healthy diet can be a good move.
While research is still ongoing, Wolpe said that matcha may help suppress and prevent the growth of cancer cells. “The role of green tea and matcha in preventing certain types of cancer has long been studied around the world, but researchers are only now beginning to understand the mechanism of action,” Wolpe explained.
One of the theoretical mechanisms could be EGCG. According to a review published in July 2020 in the journal Molecules, the composition of tea has chemopreventive properties, and there is clinical evidence that EGCG plays an important role in suppressing and preventing certain cancers.
Much of the anti-cancer research on matcha and EGCG is on breast and colon cancer. “Match can stop the growth of breast cancer stem cells,” Lee said, referring to a study published in the August 2018 issue of Aging. “These stem cells are the reason why breast cancer sometimes recurs in patients after apparently successful treatment.” According to another study, EGCG also suppresses colon cancer stem cells.
Matcha may have anticancer properties, but more research is needed, according to a review published in the November 2022 issue of Current Research in Food Science Research.
What you drink matters if you’re trying to lose weight. Past research has shown why sugary drinks shouldn’t be on the table, but what is on the table, especially if you don’t feel like drinking plain water?
While human studies are needed, an animal study published in Frontiers in Nutrition in August 2022 suggests that matcha may play a role in reducing obesity and improving metabolic disorders.
Other studies show that matcha may have fat-burning potential, Li said. “Researchers conducted a study of matcha in normal weight women aged 19 to 35 and found that drinking matcha tea before running on a treadmill increased whole body fat oxidation (a marker of metabolism) by 35% compared to those who did not drink matcha. . Li Tang said. According to a study published September 2018 in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Essentially, matcha encourages the body to break down fatty acids during exercise, thereby reducing body fat.
Matcha can also help with weight loss when combined with a low calorie diet. This became apparent in a September 2022 small observational study of plant-based foods in human nutrition in which participants followed a low-calorie diet while drinking matcha tea. While the matcha group lost significant weight, so did the control group. Thus, matcha may be associated with weight loss, but there are other factors as well.
The liver is an important organ that removes toxins from the blood. Alcohol and drugs are known to be harmful to the liver, causing potential liver damage and increasing the risk of liver disease.
In addition to drugs and alcohol, other lifestyle factors can negatively impact liver health. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease includes common liver diseases caused by the accumulation of fat in the liver. The cause is sometimes unknown, but according to the Mayo Clinic, it is associated with obesity, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance. Matcha may help in this case, but research is limited.
In a study on obese mice published in the June 2021 issue of the journal Nutrition, researchers observed that a group of mice treated with matcha reduced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and improved liver function. For people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the catechins in matcha, especially EGCG, may be helpful; more human studies are needed. According to a review published in the March 2022 issue of the journal Narcotics, EGCG has a beneficial effect on inflammation caused by oxidative stress, which can lead to liver disease.
Post time: Mar-13-2023