Matcha Tea - Benefits Of Green Tea
Matcha tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plants and is a type of green tea. In addition to green tea, Camellia sinensis, also known as tea plant, is used to produce Black, White, and Yellow teas. The different tea varieties are produced depending on the processing methods.
The word "matcha" translates to "powdered tea." Matcha tea leaves are steamed, dried, and ground into a fine powder using millstones. Unlike other types of green tea, the matcha leaves are not roasted, which helps preserve a majority of the nutrients and compounds in the powder. Ultimately, the entire green leaf is used and consumed. The powdered form of the leaves allows for consuming higher amounts of matcha. Furthermore, all the plant-based components of matcha are ingested compared to other tea varieties. In traditional green tea consumption, the tea leaves are simply steeped in water, resulting in only a fraction of the beneficial compounds being released.
In Japan, matcha is traditionally used in tea ceremonies. It is gaining more and more attention in our country.
Matcha contains a high amount of antioxidants
Green tea strengthens the immune system by protecting against oxidants and free radicals. 1 The special health-promoting benefits are primarily attributed to the high content of secondary plant compounds. Matcha contains polyphenolic compounds such as catechins, which make up about 4.92% of the dry weight of matcha and have a strong antioxidant benefit. 2 Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has particularly strong antioxidant properties. 3 Antioxidants are chemical compounds that prevent the formation of free radicals, thereby protecting cells and tissues from damage. Antioxidants can help prevent chronic diseases. 4.
In a 2003 study, the catechin content was compared to that of conventional green tea 5. Through chromatographic investigations, scientists found that the concentrations of epigallocatechin gallate present when drinking matcha tea are 137 times higher than those in Chinese green tea.
A 2016 in vitro study confirms that powdered green tea, such as matcha, has a higher inhibitory effect on the body's formation of reactive oxygen species (harmful forms of oxygen in the body) than the same amount of green leaf tea 6.
Catechins reduce body fat percentage and improve cholesterol levels
By consuming tea with a high content of catechins (690 mg) daily, compared to tea with a lower content (22 mg), body fat could be reduced over 12 weeks 7. The Japanese study results suggest that the intake of catechins could be beneficial in the prevention and improvement of lifestyle-related diseases, especially obesity.
According to studies, green tea increases energy expenditure 8. The tea possesses thermogenic properties that support fat oxidation, which is caused by its caffeine content (3.2g per 100g = 32mg per 1g of matcha).
According to study summaries from 2012 and 2014, the widely assumed weight loss benefits of green tea are so minimal that they are not clinically significant 9 10. Recent study results have shown that significant weight loss and reduction in waist circumference could be achieved by using high-dose green tea extracts for 12 weeks 11.
The catechins found in green tea are also associated with a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels and a decrease in bad LDL cholesterol. 12 13. According to study results, the good HDL cholesterol remained unchanged.
Epigallocatechin gallate as an anti-cancer agent?
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) may offer new possibilities in combating prostate cancer cells and pancreatic cancer. 14.
In the chemoprevention of breast cancer, epigallocatechin gallate from green tea could be helpful. 15 16 17 18. According to a 2012 study, EGCG enhances the effectiveness of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients 19. According to scientists, the tea polyphenol has the potential to be a therapeutic adjunct against metastatic breast cancer. Other study findings from 2013 show that EGCG suppresses the growth, spread, and invasion of breast cancer cells by inhibiting the release of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) 20.
In further studies conducted in 2012, the chemopreventive benefits of 10 investigated polyphenols on human colorectal cancer cells were examined. 21. Once again, EGCG in green tea exhibited the strongest effect. The gallus acid group present in green tea significantly enhanced the anticancer potential of catechin.
Amino acid L-Theanine for improved mood
Matcha contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which is also found in other green tea varieties. L-Theanine enhances brain activity (increases alpha waves) that aid in stress reduction. 22 23 24. In the brain, a "feel-good" mood is created, which contributes to an improved mood. Together with the contained caffeine, matcha tea can also support attention and concentration during demanding cognitive tasks 25. In 12 older individuals with cognitive dysfunction, the consumption of 2 grams of green tea per day for three months resulted in a significant improvement in mental state 26. The researchers concluded that green tea could be helpful in improving cognitive brain functions and reducing the progression of cognitive impairments.
According to other findings, L-theanine also reduces anxiety and suppresses blood pressure elevation in stress-prone individuals 27.
The tea plants are covered about a month before harvest. The shade stimulates chlorophyll formation, which also leads to the production of more amino acids. 28.
Plant components hinder calcium, folic acid, and iron absorption
Matcha tea should be consumed between meals, as otherwise it could reduce the absorption of iron from iron-rich foods. Responsible for this are tannins (polyphenols), which are potent inhibitors of iron absorption. 29. Matcha powder contains high amounts of tannin, with 10g per 100g 30.
Additionally, matcha also contains oxalic acid, which is another antinutrient that hinders calcium absorption.
The absorption of folic acid (the synthetic form of folate; Vitamin B9) from folic acid tablets was also significantly hindered by extracts from green tea 31. Additionally, folate plasma levels in another study were significantly lower in pregnant women with high consumption of green tea 32.
Tea plants absorb a relatively high amount of fluoride from the soil, so green tea, including matcha, contains fluoride 33. Excessive consumption of leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant can lead to skeletal fluorosis 34.
When consumed in high quantities, it can also lead to liver stress (hepatotoxicity) 35. This is attributed to epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or its metabolites, which can induce oxidative stress in the liver under certain conditions 36.
Usage - Matcha Tea Preparation
Matcha tea can be used as a substitute for coffee since, as mentioned before, it contains high levels of caffeine. To prepare, place half a teaspoon of matcha powder in a bowl and pour 80 ml of water at a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Celsius over it. Then, whisk the matcha vigorously in a zigzag motion (like a "W") using a bamboo whisk (a whisk can be used as a substitute if needed).
To slightly mask the slightly bitter and herbal taste caused by saponins, a small amount of stevia powder is sufficient.
A maximum of half a teaspoon is required. It is recommended not to consume more than two to three matcha teas per day to keep the intake of antinutrients low.
Matcha powder is also used in ice creams, as well as an ingredient in smoothies, baked goods, and confectionery.
Buying Matcha Tea
Healthy green tea can be purchased in organic stores, health food stores, and drugstores. Matcha can also be found in some supermarkets. It is also possible to order it online.