Matcha Tea: 12 Science Backed Reasons Your Body Will Love It
The vibrant green powder of matcha tea is a straight up superfood. For centuries matcha green tea has been celebrated in Japan and now the rest of the world is finally getting on board. Let’s delve into all the amazing benefits that come from matcha tea. But first a little history…
Matcha is actually made from the same tea leaves as green tea from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The main difference to regular green tea is that matcha is made from using the whole of the leaf. These leaves are plucked, dried, fried and then ground into that zesty looking fine powder that puts matcha on the map. Thanks to using the whole leaf and the grinding process, matcha green tea delivers ten times the antioxidants than your usual cup of green tea.
Only the strongest and healthiest green tea leaves are chosen to become matcha, it truly is a special job. Matcha leaves are carefully grown on plants that sit in the shade. This is so the chlorophyll content can be boosted within the leaves and why matcha powder is able to yet that yummy bright green color. It’s then handpicked and ground into that flour like texture using granite stones. It’s even ground down in the dark to keep all those nutrients protected.
With a gentle grassy flavor, a creamy texture, and an umami sweet taste, matcha is delicious. Because of that glorious medley, it's often used in cooking too. From matcha muffins to matcha ice creams, matcha cakes and even matcha soup, but our favorite way to get involved with matcha madness is through the art of tea. Rather than being steeped, the green snow powder of matcha is eaten by the hot water. Matcha tea is super simple to make – you add the powder to hot water or milk and use a bamboo whisk or ordinary whisk to froth it up. Why bamboo you ask? A bamboo whisk is the best tool for getting out all those clumps and can make for a totally smooth matcha finish.
Matcha tea is a living storybook. It is the star of the show in Japanese tea ceremonies dating back over 800 years. It was commonly used by monks before meditation and also by samurai warriors before and after battle. This tea brings alertness and stillness, it brings peace and meditation, and it brings endless health benefits to all who enjoy it.
Ready for a deep dive into why matcha tea is such a superfood? Keep reading…
What are the health benefits of matcha tea?
More than just a Japanese cultural fad, making matcha powder part of your daily wellness routine brings a whole slew of healing benefits. Drinking matcha is never a chore thanks to its delicate and delicious flavor and its sublime superfood properties.
With ten times the antioxidants than regular green tea, not to mention a soothing nature and a metabolism boost, matcha tea has all the benefits of green tea and so much more. Although matcha isn’t caffeine free it doesn’t contain much caffeine compared to coffee and even black tea.
Take a look at these matcha tea benefits and fall in love with matcha lattes, delicate matcha tea, or even iced matcha for those sweltering summer days. Here’s what to expect from this fragrant sweet and grassy brew:
1. Lowers cholesterol
We kickstart all the matcha benefits you need with the news that yes, matcha lowers your LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is also known as the bad cholesterol and too much of this can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health issues that you want to be sure to avoid.
Matcha can sweep away that bad cholesterol by upping your HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol is also called the good cholesterol as it knows how to clear out the junk from your arteries. Research from 14 trials on the effects of cholesterol and green tea (what matcha is made of) showed that sipping green tea beverages resulted in significant reductions when it came to LDL concentrations in the body. That’s something worth sipping about.
2. Protects the liver
Some studies have also shown that matcha may be able to help protect your liver. The liver is one of the most essential organs in the body and keeping it in tip top shape is super important for our overall health and wellbeing. The liver is responsible for getting rid of toxins and processing nutrients – pretty important job right.
The study conducted gave 80 people with fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic) 500mg of green tea extract for 90 days. It gave some of the participants a placebo instead. At the end of the 12 weeks, those who had taken the green tea extract were found to have fewer liver enzyme levels compared to the placebo group. As it's these enzymes that show liver damage, it seems the green tea had certainly worked its magic.
3. Improves brain function
Need a brainwave? A cup of matcha tea is here to set sparks in your mind. Laced with polyphenols, rich in amino acid, and with L-theanine found in high concentration, matcha tea boosts the alpha waves in your brain. These amazing alpha waves are responsible for soothing the mind and allowing you to focus your thinking with clarity and ease. Combine that with the pinch of caffeine that comes in matcha tea and you have a combo that keeps you effortlessly alert. The best thing about the state of alert that matcha gifts you is that it's not an edgy alert but a calm clarity that keeps you connected to your sense of purpose.
A study on the combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood found that both speed and accuracy of performance in the participants was improved along with a boost in memory too. Next time you need your mind to shine, a cup of matcha can keep you focused and clear.
4. Improves skin
Bring a gorgeous glow to your skin simply by sipping a cup of matcha tea. Matcha is so delicious for the skin it's even used in face masks too. But for those who don’t fancy slathering on the green goo, you can make do with brewing up a pot instead or adding matcha to your smoothie. Matcha helps the skin slow down when it comes to the visual signs of ageing. This is because Matcha is brimming with catechins which help to stop free radicals reaping havoc across your skin.
Matcha is also rich in antioxidant properties and has firm anti-inflammatory properties which can soothe irritated skin. If you suffer from rosacea, acne, or any skin condition that brings irritation, matcha can lend a cooling hand.
Matcha can bring healing to all skin types and for those with oily skin, the tannins in matcha can help regulate sebum production. This study into the effects of green tea and polyphenols on sebum production and acne showcased that there was indeed some evidence that tea polyphenols could be used to treat acne thanks to its sebum reduction properties.
Next time you want younger, more elasticated, and sebum free skin – skip the expensive facial and stock up on some matcha tea.
5. High in antioxidants
As mentioned, matcha tea comes chock full of antioxidants and holds ten times the amount of normal green tea. Yep, matcha tea is the winner of all superfoods as it comes out on top as having the highest antioxidant rating of all consumables out there.
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) test found that matcha measured in at a staggering 1384 units per gram. This is 125 times higher levels of antioxidants than spinach. Also, matcha has a huge amount of EGCG’s (epigallocatechin gallate) which is great news for those who want to reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, and prevent a whole host of chronic diseases.
This study from Consumer Lab found that brewed matcha tea contained more catechins per gram than the usual brewed green tea. Considering green tea has high numbers of 25-86 mg per serving, you are sure to be stuffing yourself full of goodness with every single sip.
6. Improves heart health
Keeping your heart healthy is another benefit that comes with your daily dose of matcha tea. Even for those who are young and fighting fit, it's never too early to commit to happier cardiovascular health. Catechins which are one of the main antioxidants within matcha tea have been found to help prevent heart disease, strokes, and a heart attack thanks to its anti-hypertension, anti-inflammatory, and anti-thrombogenic qualities. Catechins also have a lipid lowering effect which further cements their status as a catechin for heart health.
Sipping matcha as part of a healthy lifestyle where you feed your body fruits and veggies, get plenty of sleep, and exercise is bound to put you on track for a long and luscious life.
7. Helps weight loss
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is also on the bandwagon when it comes to celebrating the catechins found within matcha tea. So how does matcha lend a hand when it comes to fat burning? These catechins contain thermogenic properties, which is the speed in which we burn calories.
Drinking matcha can raise your speed rate not just when you are resting, but also when exercising. If you make drinking matcha part of your workout routine, you can bump up your calorie burning stats by a staggering 25%. That’s getting more bang for your workout buck!
8. Lowers blood pressure
While a single cup doesn’t have a dramatic impact on your blood pressure, studies have shown that long-term tea drinking does. This study showcased that after 12 weeks of dipping tea daily, the participants had a significantly lower blood pressure. Guess which tea got top marks and performed the best in this study? You guessed it, green tea! Which is where we get out magical matcha. For those keen to reduce the possibility of high blood pressure, flipping the kettle on takes very little commitment.
9. Defends against cancer
Deep breath, cancer is always a big health concern. There have been studies that consider the imprint tea can have when it comes to anti-cancer fighting properties. We know by now that matcha is a riot of healthy compounds, catechins, and other immune boosting and antioxidant properties, including the very important ECGC. This type of catechin has been shown in test tube studies and animal studies to help reduce tumor size and to kill off cancer cells.
Of course, further research is needed especially when it comes to humans and the tangible effects of green and matcha tea when it comes to cancer, but we think this is an awesome start.
10. Helps arthritis
Don’t want to get creaky with age? Start upping your daily dose of matcha tea!
All those polyphenols and healthy compounds are bound to have a great effect when it comes to oiling up your joints and leaving limbs as loose as can be. The antioxidants found within matcha and green tea are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can even slow down cartilage destruction.
Combined with the EGCG we keep going on about being able to help block the molecules that can cause rheumatoid arthritis and suddenly your yoga practice is looking like it should be able to continue well into your eighties!
11. Loaded with vitamins & minerals
Chock full of vitamins and minerals, matcha is here to make sure you are sliding into the very best health. From lashings of vitamin C to magnesium, vitamin A, and all the beautiful B vitamins you need, sipping matcha tea is the boost you need. Vitamin C can help you fend off colds and flu, vitamin A can also help eliminate free radicals, vitamin F is fabulous for your teeth, and vitamin P helps bone and cartilage health stay harmonious.
12. Boosts the immune system
Give your immune system all the ammo it needs to stay fierce and fighting fit no matter what the world throws at it. Studies have shown that green tea can increase the number of T cells in the body. There has been a lot of talk around T cells and immunity lately and the fact that sipping on matcha can boost your T cells and help reduce the risks of autoimmune diseases is definitely something to sing about.
Matcha latte recipe
One of the best ways to savor the creamy sweetness when you drink matcha is to froth up a fabulous matcha latte. Super simple and effortlessly delicious, all you need is a good quality matcha free from pesticides of course, some hot water (not boiling), a matcha whisk, your milk of choice, and a little sweetener if you like.
- Add one and a quarter teaspoons of matcha powder into a cup and fill with hot water.
- Using a bamboo whisk, whisk it up. If you don’t have a bamboo whisk then a metal one will do or you can shake it up together with a hand blender.
- Once the powder has all dissolved, you can heat your milk. Again, if you can froth your milk it's even better!
- Pour in your milk and add a little sweetener if needed. We love a trickle of maple syrup!
Of course, consuming matcha in drink form doesn’t stop there -you can add to the taste in the way that feels best for you. Almond milk, coconut milk, a squeeze of lime, a pinch of cocoa powder, and even the zest of an orange – all these ingredients work wonderfully when individually paired with matcha. This is one drink where you can truly let your imagination run wild.
If you want to keep your matcha making even easier then check out our Matcha Latte Tea Kits made with authentic Japanese matcha and sweetened condensed California milk. You can shake up this bad boy with ice and add boba pearls or you can have a steaming cup just before your morning yoga for a truly mindful experience.
Matcha tea is one of the healthiest things you can put in your body and the benefits certainly outweigh any small side effects for most people. Generally, those who sip on matcha don’t experience any issues whatsoever. Like all things in life, it is important not to go overboard as too much matcha (or with any caffeinated tea) can cause a few slight possible side effects such as:
- Upset stomach
It’s also worth noting that there has been some information released about green tea grown in China and the possibility that it may contain small amounts of lead. This is because the plant soaks it up from the natural environment and because rather than steeping the tea (like other teas), you consume the leaf. While granted, lead isn’t something you want to readily consume you can shop around for times grown elsewhere or limit your intake and remember the amount is miniscule.
Finding a good quality matcha tea is important as not all matcha tea powders are born equal. Some matcha powders that may already be combined with sweeteners and milk and you may want to skip those as the health benefits will be a lot less than other purer kinds of matcha tea.
Now you know everything about the magic of matcha tea you can see why it has been considered such a precious commodity for centuries. This stuff is basically delicious medicine. Whether you brew it, shake it, stir it, or slip it in a smoothie, your body and your taste buds are certainly going to thank you for it.
Are you a matcha fan or do you prefer different types of tea? We would love to hear your favorite ways to consume matcha. Share all your matcha tea thoughts within the comments and any recipes you love that are made with powdered green matcha too.
Disclaimer: While we have delved into the research available on the health benefits of matcha tea, this is for informative purposes only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Those who have any health-related queries should be sure to reach out to their medical professional.