What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha is traditional tea in Japanese culture which comes as a ground powder made from the leaf of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is a nutrient-rich tea that originated and was used in the Eastern world. Matcha is a super green, nutrient-packed, antioxidant-rich powerhouse that can enable you to detox your body and mind, improve your energy levels, and recover faster.
- What is Matcha Tea?
- Health Benefits of Matcha
- 1. Matcha Is a Powerful Antioxidant
- 2. Produces Stable Energy, Relaxed Alertness
- 3. Supports Brain Function: Cognition, Memory & Focus
- 4. Aids in Liver Protection and Detox
- 5. Boosts Metabolism, Energy, and Fat-Loss
- 6. Helps with Diabetes Management & Insulin Sensitivity
- 7. Could Lower Triglycerides and Cholesterol
- Safety, Dosage, Usage, Side effects, drug interaction
What makes this tea special is the ORAC value. ORAC stands for Oxygen radical absorption capacity, in matcha, it is 138.400. Matcha is among the highest antioxidant plants on the earth, beating blueberries which are known for their antioxidant powers.
Considering the nutrition and potential benefits of matcha, great alternatives would be:
- Chlorella and Spirulina, to potentially aid in reducing inflammation and protection from toxins
- Caffeine, aids in elevating cognitive function, memory, and focus.
Chlorophyll production is increased with a process before harvest. Higher chlorophyll value helps eliminate heavy metals, chemicals, and toxins. Matcha is grown in shade, which protects it from direct sunlight for 20-30 days. This produces higher content of L-theanine and Caffeine, as well as higher chlorophyll potency. Tea leaves are ground up in a powder that becomes matcha. It contains nutrients from the whole leaf.
The nutrient-dense and antioxidant-high properties in matcha come from the leaf itself. We can directly absorb those nutrients because we are actually drinking the whole leaf in powder form, not just water that has passed by. This tea is rich in catechins, plant compounds that stabilize and decrease harmful radicals.
It is beneficial for liver protection and the liver’s main function like drug-metabolizing, flushing out toxins, and processing nutrients. It is shown to improve attention abilities and psychomotor speed in response to stimuli, some of those effects are believed to be due to caffeine.
Matcha provides a special type of energy usually referred to as relaxed alertness. It can enhance and boost our energy and even make it more sustainable. On top of all that, we don’t get energy crashes as we would with only caffeine, but L-theanine helps keep stable energy levels in a calm, relaxed, and alert state.
How many cups of matcha can I drink a day?
1-2 cups a day would be optimal. Too high consumption of matcha, as of any other caffeinated beverage can lead to side effects like dizziness, headache, dehydration, irritability and insomnia.
What is the best time to drink matcha?
The best time to drink matcha green tea is in the morning. The reason for this lies in its caffeine and l-theanine content which can work together to acutely improve cognitive performance. Both compounds can get you in a state of sharper mental focus and alertness, allowing you to start the productive part of your day. Nighttime consumption of any caffeinated drinks (like matcha) can lead to insomnia or disturbed sleep.
Does matcha tea aid in weight loss?
Matcha green tea may assist in weight loss and fat oxidation (reducing abdominal fat), due to the presence of components like EGCG. EGCG’s are also part of guarana and green tea extract which are known to increase energy expenditure and help with calorie burning.
Health Benefits of Matcha
This green powerhouse is known for its weight loss benefits. It has been shown to speed up metabolism and boost fat burning or fat oxidation. Mainly weight loss benefits are due to increased energy expenditure.
Reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels is highly correlated with this tea’s ability to heal or prevent certain cardiovascular diseases. Since it is loaded with bioactive polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins it has anti-inflammatory effects, which are also linked to health, and longevity and are shown to prevent diseases.
Matcha can also improve mood and prevent neurodegenerative diseases. L-theanine can increase GABA levels which supports calmness. This will give you alert relaxation and reduces stress, therefore improving your mood. On the other side, it is healthy for the brain and may reduce brain plaque that builds up.
1. Matcha Is a Powerful Antioxidant
Loaded with two main types of antioxidants which are catechins and polyphenols. Antioxidants can reduce cellular damage from excessive oxidative stress and prevent DNA damage. Matcha is packed with powerful antioxidants, often referred to as the antioxidant powerhouse plant.
Matcha ORAC value at 138.400 is the highest of all. (1)
The concentration of EGCG in matcha is 137 times greater in comparison to other types of green teas which makes matcha a great competitor. (2)
Matcha is shown to suppress the accumulation of blood glucose. It may also lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (the good cholesterol), therefore improving your total cholesterol image. It promotes lipid metabolism or fat oxidation and antioxidant activities. (3)
You can increase antioxidant intake by adding matcha, shown to be beneficial against cellular damage. (4)
2. Produces Stable Energy, Relaxed Alertness
Combination of caffeine and theanine results in a great boost of sustainable, non-jittery energy since Theanine can provide a calm state of relaxed alertness. Matcha’s L-theanine can positively affect the body’s natural response to stress. It can activate GABA, therefore improving your sleep.
- L-theanine reduced subjective stress when multitasking with cognitive stressors after 1 hour. Anti-stress effects were due to cortisol reduction. (5)
Matcha Green tea may also improve verbal frequency and executive function. The main compound, L-theanine can help us produce alpha brain waves, which is the brain frequency we are tranquil and calm in, but alert. The L-theanine concentrations in it, are beneficial for cognitive function, stress, anxiety, and depression. (6)
- L-theanine concentrations in matcha are beneficial for cognitive function, stress, anxiety, and depression. (6)
- Matcha Green tea may also improve verbal frequency and executive function. The main compound, L-theanine can help us produce alpha brain waves – calm and tranquil state
- Combining L-theanine and caffeine can have multiple cognitive benefits. L-theanine provides stable, non-jittery energy and eliminates the vasoconstrictive effects of caffeine. Overall mood ratings were better, followed by improved attention performance tasks. (7)
- A mixture of L-theanine and GABA can help improve sleep duration, Non-REM, and REM sleep and increase GABA expression. (8)
L-theanine may help to ease stress-related symptoms like depression or anxiety and improve cognitive performance. It can enhance our sleep and verbal fluency. (9)
3. Supports Brain Function: Cognition, Memory & Focus
It is no miracle for this plant to affect our brain and cognition since it has powerful polyphenols inside. Matcha has been shown to improve brain health and cognitive performance, especially our response and attention speed while we are being distracted or multitasking.
Studies have shown the positive effects of green tea phytochemicals on cognition. Especially effects are seen in alertness and attention-switching tasks. While caffeine induces arousal and energy, theanine is giving a calming sensation, and long-lasting energy. It also helped with memory and the suppression of distractions. (10)
- Research shows that matcha can slightly improve the speed of attention and episodic secondary memory. (11).
- L- theanine and caffeine combination improved the accuracy and speed of attention-switching tasks while reducing distraction susceptibility (12) Caffeine on the other hand is known to improve cognitive task performance and memory in non-optimal time in students. (13)
The positive effects of green tea on elderly people may affect cognitive dysfunction. Matcha may reduce the progression of cognitive dysfunction. (14) and prevent neurodegeneration by reducing oxidative stress. (15)
4. Aids in Liver Protection and Detox
In matcha, there is extra chlorophyll produced, because of the growing process. Chlorophyll has high detoxifying properties that can naturally help to eliminate toxins and heavy metals in the body.
Matcha nourishes and protects the liver, which is our built-in detox system, our detox powerhouse. The liver is helping us to metabolize drugs, flush toxins out, and process nutrients.
The intake of chlorophyll, catechins, and EGCG all of which are present in matcha, can assist and amplify our body’s natural detox processes. Especially in the modern world, where toxins are increased.
- Chlorophyll can help with detox, the exertion of chemicals like PBCs and heavy metals. (16)
- green tea extracts may also improve (reduce) levels of liver enzymes, ALT, and AST being reduced. (17) as tested in 80 participants for 12-weeks.
- Other studies support the thesis that green tea has liver-protective effects as a protective factor for liver diseases. (18)
Epigallocatechin 3-O-gallate is one of the main nutritional compounds in matcha, shown to reduce total cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose level therefore beneficial for protecting against hepatic and renal damage. (19)
5. Boosts Metabolism, Energy, and Fat-Loss
Green tea extracts are the main ingredients of all fat burners and weight-loss supplements. This is due to its ability to increase energy expenditure, which is one of the main mechanisms that can explain why matcha may assist in weight loss and fat oxidation.
We know that by increasing caffeine intake, we can mimic high-energy or at least hide the low-energy.
- As we know, EGCG is one of the main components in matcha, and its encapsulated caffeine-guarana-green tea extract showed increased 24h energy expenditure by 750kJ. (20)
- Green tea extract has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and increase fat oxidation in moderate-intensity exercise in young men. (21)
- EGCG and caffeine combination has been shown to increase fat oxidation in exercise. So individuals on a weight loss regime can benefit from this plant. (22)
Catechins and a mixture of EGCG with caffeine were also proven to help in weight loss and weight maintenance after WL has occurred. (23)
6. Helps with Diabetes Management & Insulin Sensitivity
In moderate-intensity exercise, it was shown for green tea extracts improve fat oxidation but also insulin sensitivity and the body’s glucose tolerance. (24) This study was done on healthy young men.
Gut health is crucial for diabetics. There was a positive response from adding tea or matcha supplement on blood glucose regulation and gut microbiota. Cornstarch and tea combination might be used as functional supplements for diabetes. (25)
7. Could Lower Triglycerides and Cholesterol
High levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol can have a negative impact on our cardiovascular health. Matcha has the potential to alleviate these effects by reducing inflammation and reducing cholesterol levels.
EPA by itself increased rat mortality, but when combined with green tea extract it showed enhanced coronary reactivity and improved lipid metabolism, exerting cardio-protection. (26)
Type II diabetes, associated with atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness, was improved with the usage of green tea extract due to its cardio-protective substance – polyphenols. (27)
Disclaimer: The content on this Site is for informational purposes only, and it is NOT intended to give or replace medical advice. Make sure you consult your physician, doctor, or health professional before using any supplement, for its dosage, uses, precautions, and interactions.
Safety, Dosage, Usage, Side effects, drug interaction
Matcha green tea and green tea extracts are generally safe for adults if consumed in moderation. Too much matcha also means high caffeine intake which comes with the following side effects.
Side effects can be due to caffeine content if consumed in high dosages. Problems like headache, diarrhea, irritability, tremor, dizziness, insomnia, or nervousness can arise in high dosages. In rare cases, it was reported to cause kidney and liver problems. (28)
Matcha supplements, green tea extracts, EGCG, and catechins have been used for different conditions like high cholesterol levels or hyperlipidemia, for high and low blood pressure, oral leukemia, and more.
The Matcha supplement is mainly a green powder tea, which is consumed by drinking the tea. Matcha supplements come in different forms such as capsules, tincture extracts, or tablets. Matcha creams are also popular for anyone into a skincare routine, plus it comes with antibacterial, anti-aging, and skin-protective benefits.
- As with any caffeine products, experts recommend that children under the age of 18 stay away from matcha and caffeine in general.
- For pregnant and breastfeeding women, too much caffeine is not a good thing in general, and higher amounts of green teas might increase the risk of folic acid deficiency and interrupt sleep, which means consultation with a doctor should take place.
- In people with cases of bleeding disorders, anemia, or anxiety, caffeine might have negative effects.
- For people with diabetes, high blood pressure or glaucoma is best to consult a doctor before taking this supplement, since it can increase blood pressure, affect blood sugar levels, and increase pressure inside the eye.
- Flushing out calcium through the urine might weaken the bones. People with osteoporosis should consult a healthcare specialist before using high-caffeine-content products and keep their calcium levels in check.
For different conditions, there are different dosages. Now, this article is not meant to provide you with a piece of medical advice. This article serves only educational purposes which are mostly focused on improving physical and mental performance, matcha’s detox properties, and nutrient-dense profile.
- Green teas are reported to be possibly safe for adults under eight cups. Of course no matter how healthy it is, if you overdo it is it likely to have some side effects.
- Personally, I prefer to add one tsp (3-5grams) of matcha ground powder in my daily smoothie or as a tea with my breakfast.
- If you are interested in higher dosages or extracts to treat a medical condition, make sure you consult your doctor, medical specialist, or healthcare provider for using this supplement.
Drugs like nicotine, amphetamines, ephedrine, and cocaine that can speed up your nervous system can make your feel jittery and increase your heart rate, overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system. Stimulants can amplify the effects of caffeine and raise your blood pressure and heart rate.
- Avoid stimulants along with caffeine/matcha.
- According to WebMD, there are mild Interactions found in combining Green Tea with adenosine, antibiotics, contraceptives, and estrogens, mostly because the body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it and some of these drugs can decrease the speed of that process.
- Green tea of caffeine can amplify the effect of anticoagulant drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen naproxen) that can slow blood clotting.
- Diabetes medications can interact with green tea and caffeine since they can lower blood sugar, caffeine can increase it acutely.
*Studies have some limitations, important to evaluate the validity of their results. Here’s a highlight of some and NOT ALL studies (and limitation), shown in this article, for context.
- Further research is needed to clarify the potential of antioxidants potential, capacity and safety for therapeutic purposes.
- Other components or ingredients may influence L-theanine effects in certain studies.
- Relatively small sample size * (n)30, (n)24, (n)23 etc.
- Aged data or data older than 10 years *2010, 2009, 2008, 2004, 2003, etc.
- Relatively short period of testing * 4-week supplementation
- Weak control of external factors * total caffeine consumption, sleep quality effect on cognition, caffeine metabolizing ability etc.
- Research done on animals, difficult to replicate on humans * male rats
Matcha is one of the most popular traditional Japanese teas that come with amazing health benefits. It is a great alternative for coffee, to anyone who wants to stay clean, of the jittery energy and crash. Matcha does contain caffeine but it also contains L-theanine which gives a great sense of relaxed alertness and durable, non-volatile energy. It is packed with nutrients, in fact, it holds some of the highest ORAC values, meaning it has strong antioxidant properties. Aside from the energy boost, Matcha has powerful cognition-enhancing & anti-inflammatory properties.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of green matcha tea?
Matcha green tea has a myriad of potential health benefits, mainly due to its potent antioxidant activities. Matcha has one of the higher ORAC values of 138.400, which means it has a strong anti-inflammatory property. It can improve concentration and alertness, due to its good combination of L-theanine and caffeine. Matcha’s chlorophyl may also assist in liver protection and detox, plus boost metabolism and increase energy.
What are the pros and cons of matcha tea?
The pros of drinking matcha is the potent antioxidant activity you get. Matcha may also help with stabilizing sugar levels, increasing energy, improving cognition and focus, aiding in liver detox and boost metabolism.
The cons of too much matcha may be due to its caffeine content, which translate to dizziness, jittery energy, hyperactivity etc., but L-theanine content can combat many of these. High quantities may cause diarrhea, headaches and irritability.
Why is matcha tea so popular?
The popularity of matcha has a lot to do with its potent health benefits it provides over coffee. It has became a trending type of coffee alternative for the health-conscious people. Tea drinkers also love it for its unique taste, strong and vibrant green color. Matcha is also very practical, hence why people use it so much. From matcha creams, latees, muffins, and cakes to matcha supplement, extracts and lotions, there are ton of products.
Is drinking matcha healthy?
Yes, drinking matcha can have some beneficial effects like: liver detox, calmness and stress reduction, cognitive function boost, alertness and focus, anti-inflammatory properties, cholesterol lowering effect, etc.
What are the side effects of drinking matcha tea?
Drinking high amounts of any caffeinated drink can result in dizziness, dehydration, insomnia, and headache. Some of these effects, like the jittery energy some get from caffeine is reduced by L-theanine, an important amino acid present in matcha tea. High quantities of matcha can also lead to diarrhea and irritability.