The bright lime green colour and the grass-like flavour make matcha more than just a cup of tea. You must have seen the name matcha on social media and in your local cafes. Yes, matcha is the new rage of the town.
What is Matcha Powder?
Matcha and green teas are made from the same plant. However, the farming process is quite different. For making matcha, the farmers keep the plant in the shade for almost a month before harvesting.
During this time, the chlorophyll in the leaves increases, boosting the production of amino acids. Once harvested, the leaves are separated from the stems and veins and ground into a fine powder of bright green colour.
Scientific research has revealed several organic matcha tea benefits for our health, like promoting heart and liver health and aiding with weight loss.
Let us explore the eight scientifically proven health benefits of matcha.
8 Health Benefits of Organic Matcha Green Tea
- Rich in Antioxidants:
Certified organic matcha tea powder contains a high amount of catechins, a natural antioxidant in tea plant compounds. Antioxidants help stabilise harmful free radicals in our bodies, which, if not kept in check, can cause chronic disease and cell damage.
Matcha tea contains more catechins than green tea. As a matter of fact, one study has found that matcha tea contains 137 times more catechins than any kind of green tea.
- Reduce Anxiety:
Researchers at Kumamoto University conducted a rodent study and concluded that drinking matcha tea can help reduce anxiety. The study observed that the plant compounds in this green powder trigger the serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (D1) receptors associated with inhibiting anxiety and anxious behaviour.
- Protects the Liver:
The liver eliminates toxins from our body, processes nutrients, and breaks down drugs. Some studies have concluded that matcha may be beneficial for our liver health.
In one of the studies, the researchers fed matcha to diabetic rats for four months. At the end of this period, they found that the matcha helped prevent damage to both liver and kidneys in the rats.
Another study on a group of 80 people concluded that extract from green tea significantly reduced the levels of liver enzymes. High levels of liver enzymes in the body are an indicator of liver damage. The participants of the study suffered from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. While the control group received the placebo, the other group consumed 500 mg of green tea daily for three months.
- Promotes Brain Function:
A 2012 rodent-based study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that the epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in the best quality organic matcha tea powder promotes memory and learning capabilities.
The study found that matcha consumption can increase neuron cell production in our body through neurogenesis. This occurs in our brain’s hippocampus, responsible for processing information from long-term and short-term memory.
- Cancer Prevention Possibilities:
Matcha contains numerous compounds that are beneficial for our health. Researchers have identified some of the compounds to be associated with cancer prevention in animal studies and test tube studies.
The EGCG in matcha has displayed powerful cancer-preventing properties. Researchers in a test tube study found that EGCG killed prostate cancer cells. While another rodent study found that the extract reduced the rats’ tumour size and slowed the growth of breast cancer cells. However, most research is limited to rats and test tubes only. Further research is required to see how these compounds affect humans.
- Strengthens Immune System:
Again EGCG comes in to save the day. Oregon State University in 2011 conducted a rat study to test the “Induction of regulatory T cells by green tea polyphenol EGCG.” The researchers found that EGCG increased the frequency and number of regulatory T-cells in the rats. The T-cells play a significant role in the upkeep of our immune system.
- May Enhance Heart Health:
⅓ of all the deaths happening worldwide are associated with heart disease. A few studies have found that consuming green tea, similar to matcha, can help prevent heart disease and promote heart health.
Green tea has been found to decrease LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels along with triglycerides.. Additionally, it can also prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Aids in Weight Loss:
Lastly, matcha is a potent ingredient in any weight loss regimen. Green tea is known worldwide for its ability to help lose weight. Many studies, in fact, show that green tea extracts help in speeding up the metabolism process to burn fat quickly. While most studies focused on green tea, it does not make a big difference as matcha also comes from the same plant and will have an identical effect on the human body.
Green tea and matcha are made from the same plant. However, the entire plant leaf is used to make the best quality organic matcha tea powder that has numerous health benefits. Matcha tea is straightforward to prepare, and the powder can also be used in many cooking recipes.