Matcha Green tea is an Instagram sensation (over 248.9k posts!). Matcha Tea is the favorite of Celebrities, Nutritionists, Fitness Freaks, Scientists (well, we need science-backed benefits, too) or any tea lover. Matcha tea has an interesting flavor and nutrient profile. Long story short, Matcha is having a moment.
If you’re not up-to-date on the recent tea trends, Matcha is nothing but the finely ground green tea powder made from shade-grown Camellia sinensis and contains more nutrients than the regular green tea. That said, isn’t fascinating to know the origins of the comfort, healthy cup? So the Matcha saga dates back to ancient Japan in the 12th century and continues to be the staple, throughout the world. In fact, Matcha green tea has earned its place in the superfood list as well thanks to the high content of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in the leaves.
List down are the 15 outstanding health benefits of Matcha green tea (just in case, you want more reasons to sip a cup!)
Benefits of Drinking Matcha Green Tea
1. Aids in shedding some pounds
Is matcha a fat burner? Yes, of course! Matcha tea is rich in epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG which holds the weight loss power. This antioxidant acts in two ways: First, it boosts the metabolic rate of the body – from the default 8 to 10 percent to 35 to 43% of the daily energy expenditure – and fastens the fat burning.
Second, it inhibits the production of new adipocytes or fat cells. In addition, EGCG also increases cholecystokinin, the hormone that keeps you fuller for longer.
2. Powerhouse of Antioxidants
With an ORAC value of 1384 units per gram (about 137x antioxidants of regular green tea), matcha tea tops the list of superfoods rich in antioxidants. ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is the score used to quantify the total antioxidant capacity of food items.
As a general rule, the higher the ORAC score, the more the antioxidant capacity. The antioxidants come handy in boosting the immune system to scavenging free radicals, cancer prevention, detoxification, and improving mental alertness.
3. Energy Booster
Legend says Samurai warriors loved piping hot Matcha tea with herbs sprinkled on top; that could probably because of the boost of energy Matcha caffeine provides. It is not the regular caffeine you’ve heard of, it is theophylline – the organic compound that sustains energy.
Matcha tea also has numerous stress-relieving nutrients that promote mental wellness, cognition, and focus. Now you know the roots of ancient Samurai warriors’ laser focus and high energy, right?
4. Matcha tea = a better looking you
The benefits of Matcha tea expand to your skin as well. The catechins are proven to be effective in reducing signs of aging, protective against harmful UV rays, improving skin elasticity, and rejuvenating the skin to reveal a youthful, radiant complexion. Chlorophyll present in the tea may flush out the toxins from the skin and evens out the complexion. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) in Matcha tree is anti-acne, anti-microbial, and anti-cancerous.
5. Ward off oxidative stress
Free radicals are bad guys and are everywhere; in our body, in the air, we breathe, and in the foods, we eat. When the antioxidants in our body fail to fight these bad guys, oxidative stress occurs and wreaks havoc both internally and externally. Luckily, we have Matcha tea and other superfoods that are loaded with antioxidants.
Catechins in Matcha tea is found effective in inhibiting the free radicals. Thus, consuming Matcha tea protects the body from chronic conditions associated with oxidative stress such as cancer, inflammatory disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
6. Stress Buster and Relaxation Booster
Would like to achieve a Zen state of mind? Drink Matcha tea, it’s as simple as that. L-theanine, the unique amino acid found in Matcha promotes alpha waves in the brain, which predominantly originates when the mind is in the complete resting state. It turns out, Matcha contains 5X L-theanine of regular tea.
Studies have also found that L-theanine inhibits neuron excitation to promote relaxation. Also, it has been associated with secretion of dopamine and serotonin – the happy chemicals. In short, when you’re on Matcha, you’ll feel ‘Zen’tastic!
7. Enhances Focus
Matcha green tea has a commendable effect on enhancing mental focus due to its L-Theanine and caffeine contents. L-theanine promotes alpha wave and happy chemicals’ production in the brain to elevate the ‘floating’ feel to sharpen the focus and the ability to react better. Also, L-theanine is said to neutralize the effect of adrenaline caused by caffeine, meaning Matcha tea is here to your morning cup of coffee.
8. Detox. Detox. Detox
Turns out, aside from giving the leaves the green hues, Chlorophyll helps eliminate potentially harmful toxins and metal ions from our body. It also deep cleanses the circulation and maintains the natural alkalinity of blood, cells, and tissues.
The photosynthetic pigment is also good in promoting liver health by accelerating the enzymes involved in detoxification. Earlier animal studies have shown chlorophyll’s ability in reducing aflatoxin-induced liver damage; aflatoxin is a prime risk factor in hepatocellular carcinoma.
An interesting fact: To increase the chlorophyll content, Matcha is shade-grown especially, during the last three of harvesting.
9. Cancer Fighter
According to a study conducted by the researchers at the Biomedical Research Centre, University of Salford, Matcha inhibits cancer stem cell propagation. The catechins to be specific epigallocatechins gallate (EGCG) are potent anti-carcinogenic compounds that are effective in scavenging free radicals. The EGCGs are found to be active in breast, prostate, skin, lung, oral cavity, esophagus, pancreas, intestines, stomach, bladder, and brain cancers.
10. Reduces Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
Drinking Matcha green tea reduces the risk of Type-2 diabetes, thanks to its capacity to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, the phytonutrients also lower the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and hepatic glucose. A breakthrough study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that drinking six or more cups of green tea daily has lowered the risk of developing Type-2 Diabetes by 33 percent.
11. Minimizes the symptoms of PMS
The benefits of L-theanine do not end with alpha waves and happy chemicals. It is also effective in relaxing uterine muscles and blood vessels thereby easing the irritating period cramps. It can even help with relieving the pain (or at least make it less painful) because of the presence of EGCG – the anti-inflammatory polyphenol. Best of all, Matcha can make you less stabby when estrogen and progesterone fluctuates.
12. Lowers Blood Cholesterol
Scientists are still exploring the ways Matcha control the cholesterol levels. However, sustained drinking of Matcha tea may lower the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) while not disturbing the good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) levels. That means Matcha can reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis, heart attack or stroke.
In a human study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, researchers found a 16 percent reduction in cholesterol in test participants who took green tea capsules. Furthermore, a 2011 study found that Saponins present in green tea can block cholesterol absorption in the intestines.
13. Promotes Healthy Teeth and Gum
Regular intake of Matcha may help promote oral health. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that those who regularly drink Matcha had better periodontal health than the ones that consumed less Matcha. Being rich in antibacterial compounds, Matcha keeps bad breath at bay, too. It is even found to prevent cavity formation and plaque build-up.
A handy tip: Drink Matcha without sweeteners to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
14. Protects from Infections
Matcha tea rich in EGCG, Vitamin C, and many other anti-microbial nutrients is an immune booster drink you can rely on, anytime. It fortifies the body’s defense system and limits the microbial invasion.
Among the phytonutrients EGCG is found to be more effective as a defender when bacteria and viruses attack our body; EGCG does this by binding to lipid membrane and inhibits Influenza A virus, hepatitis B, and C virus, Herpes virus, Candida albicans yeast, and Staphylococcus aureus.
15. Prevents Eye Disorders
Among the several types of carotene present in green tea, B-Carotene is the most important. It gets converted to Vitamin A after absorption and promotes better vision. Matcha consumption also increases catechin absorption by the tissues in the eye, which prevents cataract mediated blindness. In fact, it even prevents eye disorders such as glaucoma.
Detox? Matcha. Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress? Matcha. Can’t concentrate on studies for long hours? Matcha. Beyond the bold nutrition profile and the 15 benefits we’ve outlined here, there’s a lot more to embrace the ‘Matcha way’.
Although its health benefits are widely appreciated, it does contain caffeine that may elicit an allergic reaction in some people. Traces of lead may present in Matcha leaves as it is soil-grown; it’s better to have a check on the number of cups you sip. If you are pregnant or lactating women, it’s recommended to seek medical advice to understand its effects on the respective conditions. Also, if you’re on medications or are unaware of your allergies, do not consume Matcha tea without medical opinion.
Tea tip: Latte or cappuccino, sit straight to sip Matcha – that’s how Japanese have their Matcha.