Health Benefits of Matcha Tea

Matcha tea is a type of green tea used for centuries in China and Japan. The leaves are harvested, steamed, and dried then ground into a fine powder. While most teas are brewed from stepped leaves that are then filtered out, matcha tea includes the whole leaf in its powder. When that powder is added to hot water and blended with a whisk, it creates a sweet, creamy flavor and texture different from other teas. It can be enjoyed hot or iced, and — in addition to providing a sweet beverage — it may offer a few health benefits, too.

Health Benefits

Matcha contains specific antioxidants called catechins that help the body fight disease. Green tea is one of the richest catechin sources, and it is effective in fighting cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some infections.

The most abundant catechin in green tea is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Researchers have conducted cell-based clinical trials and animal studies involving EGCG and have found evidence of certain anti-cancer benefits, although more studies are needed.

There's evidence the catechins in matcha tea can offer some of these benefits: 

Improving Cardiovascular Health

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common chronic health condition among adults in the United States. Certain dietary changes, which include drinking more green tea, have shown promise in lowering blood pressure. Recent studies have shown the catechins in green tea may also help reduce low-density lipoproteins or LDL, known as "bad cholesterol."

Protecting against Cancer

EGCG may protect cells from DNA damage and have slowed tumor growth in animals. Compounds in matcha tea can stamp out abnormal cells that cause skin, breast, bladder, and colon cancer.

Supporting Dental Health

EGCG can help slow bacterial growth that leads to plaque and cavities. It also helps balance the microbiome in your mouth, reducing sulfur compounds that lead to bad breath. ECGC may also help alleviate the symptoms of periodontal or gum disease.

Increasing Your Focus

Matcha contains less caffeine than coffee but still provides enough to keep you awake and alert. Stick to one or two cups a day to maintain your focus and avoid the caffeine-induced jitters. 

Reducing Inflammation

Antioxidants in green tea protect cells from the effects of free-radicals and bolster your immune system. This can help lower inflammation in the body and alleviate symptoms of chronic health conditions. like arthritis.

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Nutrition

One to two teaspoons of matcha tea combined with 8 ounces, or 1 cup, of hot water, contains:

  • Calories: 0
  • Protein: 0
  • Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Fiber: 0
  • Sugar: 0 

Portion Sizes

Brewing a cup of matcha is calorie-free unless you add honey, milk, or cream. Some matcha tea blends and concentrates contain extra sugar and fat from nut or dairy milk. Read the label before you brew to ensure you have the correct portion size and aren't consuming extra calories.

How to Prepare Matcha Tea

Matcha is brewed differently than other types of green tea. Instead of steeping a tea bag and removing it, you'll add matcha powder to a cup of hot water. With matcha, you consume the entire tea leaf. 

Brewing instructions: 

  • Boil water and add 8 to 12 ounces to a mug. 
  • Add 1 or 2 scoops of matcha powder (depending on how strong you like your tea). 
  • Use a matcha whisk to blend the powder into the water until the mixture is frothy.
  • Add honey or sugar for a sweeter flavor. 

Matcha powder can also be mixed with milk or a dairy alternative to make a creamy latte or added to a smoothie. Once you've finished brewing, have a seat, take a sip, and enjoy your healthy beverage. 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 08, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Geisinger: "8 foods that reduce inflammation."

The Journal of the American Dental Association: "Topical green tea may result in small benefit on pocket depth when used as adjuvant to scaling and root planing." 

Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology: "Green tea: A boon for periodontal and general health."

Molecules: "Catechin in Human Health and Disease."

National Cancer Institute: "Tea and Cancer Prevention."  

Nutrients: "Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) Is the Most Effective Cancer Chemopreventive Polyphenol in Green Tea." 

Scientific Reports: "Effect of green tea consumption on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials." 

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