You certainly already tasted Matcha through matcha shots, lattes, teas and even desserts appearing everywhere from health stores to coffee shops. Matcha has literally skyrocketed in popularity! Just like green tea, matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, the culture is different and matcha has a unique nutrient profile. But why is matcha good for your health? What are its 6 health benefits? I’ll explain it all to you in the following lines…
To start, you have to know what are the main differences between matcha and green tea. Contrary to green tea’s culture, farmers grow matcha by covering their tea plants 20 to 30 days before harvest to avoid direct sunlight. This increases chlorophyll production, boosts the amino acid content, and gives the plant a darker green hue.
Once the tea leaves are harvested, the stems and veins are removed and the leaves are ground up into a fine powder known as matcha. Another difference with green tea is that matcha contains the nutrients from the entire tea leaf, which results in a greater amount of caffeine and antioxidants than typically found in green tea. According to several studies about matcha and its components, it seems that matcha has a variety of benefits. The latter can help protect the liver, promote heart health, and even aid in weight loss.
Here are 6 health benefits of matcha tea:
1. Matcha is high in antioxidants
Matcha is rich in catechins, a class of plant compounds in tea that acts as natural antioxidants. Antioxidants help stabilize harmful free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells and cause chronic disease. When you add matcha powder to hot water to make tea, the tea contains all the nutrients from the entire leaf. It will tend to have more catechins and antioxidants than simply steeping green tea leaves in water.
According to a survey, the number of certain catechins in matcha is up to 137 times greater than in other types of green tea. Another study shows that include matcha in your diet could increase your antioxidant intake, which may help prevent cell damage and even lower your risk of several chronic diseases.
2. Matcha can help protect the liver
The liver is vital to health and plays a central role in flushing out toxins, metabolizing drugs, and processing nutrients. Some studies have shown that matcha could prevent liver damage and decrease the risk of liver disease. However, additional studies are needed to look at the effects on humans in the general population.
3. Matcha boosts brain function
Based on some research, it appears that several of the components in matcha could help enhance brain function. Matcha contains L-theanine, a compound known to induce relaxation, decrease stress levels and increase alpha wave activity in the brain.
A study involving 23 people investigated their brain performance after consuming either a matcha tea or a bar, which contains 4 grams of the matcha. They were compared to a control group who took a placebo tea or bar. The researchers discovered that the group who consumed matcha had enhanced attention, reaction time and memory in contrast with the control group. Interesting isn’t it?
Another study showed that taking 2 grams of matcha powder daily for a period of two months improved brain functions in the elderly.
4. Matcha may help prevent cancer
Matcha is known to have strong anti-cancer properties in the form of a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). One study showed that green tea extract helped decrease breast tumours in rats.
Test-tube studies of the compound found that the EGCG it contains kills also cells causing skin, lung, liver and prostate cancers, but keep in mind that these were test tube and animal studies looking at specific compounds found in matcha. Further research is needed to determine how these results may translate to humans.
5. Matcha may promote heart health
In the world, heart disease is the leading cause of death, accounting for an estimated one-third of all deaths in people over the age of 35. Some studies have shown that drinking green tea, which has a similar nutrient profile to matcha, may help protect against heart disease. Green tea has been shown to reduce levels of total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. It may also help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, another factor that may protect against heart disease. And the last but not least, observational studies have also shown that drinking green tea is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Drinking matcha may help keep your heart healthy and protect against disease when combined with a well-rounded diet and healthy lifestyle of course! Still need to be convinced about Matcha’s benefits? The last benefit to definitely convince you 😉
6. Matcha helps you lose weight!
Because Matcha is perfect, in addition to protecting you from many diseases, it will also be your best friend if you want to lose weight. Just take a look at any weight loss supplement and there’s a good chance you’ll see “green tea extract” listed in the ingredients!
Green tea is well known for its ability to enhance weight loss. In fact, studies show that it may help speed up metabolism to increase energy expenditure and boost fat burning.
A small study showed that taking green tea extract during moderate exercise increased fat burning by 17%. A review of 11 studies also showed that green tea reduced body weight and helped maintain weight loss. Although most of these studies focused on green tea extract, matcha comes from the same plant and should have the same effect.
A QUICK NOTE:
- One serving of matcha tea is the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea
- When you drink matcha you ingest the entire leaf and receive 100% of the nutrients of the leaf
- Matcha powdered green tea has 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea.
- One cup of matcha = 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea in terms of nutritional content
Matcha is really easy to prepare, so don’t hesitate about taking advantage of the many health benefits of matcha! You can make traditional matcha tea or make matcha desserts! You can have a look at my matcha mascarpone pot recipe, Vegan matcha dumplings, or also check my article to know how to prepare Matcha latte if you need some ideas! There are many ways to prepare matcha, so you can choose the one you like best!
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