Proven Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea: Weight Loss, Cancer and More
Matcha green tea is a very popular drink because of its many amazing health benefits. Matcha green tea lattes or regular Matcha green tea can help you to lose weight, improve cognitive function, promote good heart health, and it has cancer-fighting properties too. Matcha green tea powder is beneficial for your health due to its high level of antioxidants.
Matcha tea has many of the similar benefits of green tea. When drinking Matcha tea you also consume powdered green tea leaf, and therefore you get more of the amino acids and beneficial nutrients from the tea plant. Even though Matcha green tea contains caffeine, other compounds in the refreshing drink help to offset the effects of caffeine.
In this article, I will look at the science behind the reasons why Matcha green tea is so good for you. You will also learn if drinking Matcha tea will really help you lose weight and how much Matcha tea you should drink per day.
What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha green tea is made by grinding tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis tea plant into a fine powder.
Dr. Jennifer Robinson on WebMD says that about 2 weeks before the tea leaf is harvested, farmers cover the tea plants to avoid sunlight. This process is critical for the unique chemical compounds in Matcha green tea to develop. During this time, antioxidants and amino acids develop and they are stronger than regular green tea.
Unlike oolong tea and black tea which are fermented, tea leaves to make Matcha green tea are left to dry before being heated in ovens and then powdered.
Matcha tea has a vibrant green color. Matcha literally means “powdered tea” or “rubbed tea” in Japanese. This refers to the traditional method of grinding green tea leaves into Matcha green tea powder.
Research has uncovered that the unique chemical properties of Matcha tea have greater health benefits than other green teas. For example, green tea catechins (plant-based antioxidants) are more concentrated in Matcha tea. One important tea catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is 137 times greater than a Chinese variety of green tea. There are around 3 times more antioxidants in Matcha green tea than regular green tea.
This means that gram for gram, Matcha green tea has more health benefits than ordinary green tea.
Grades of Matcha Green Tea
Matcha tea is divided into 3 grades depending on the quality of the tea powder.
- Ceremonial grade Matcha tea. This is the highest quality tea that is often used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Ceremonial grade Matcha has the sweetest and deepest flavor.
- Premium grade Matcha. Most people who drink a cup of Matcha tea a day, use premium grade Matcha green tea. This is high-quality Matcha tea and contains plenty of health benefits when consumed daily.
- Culinary grade Matcha green tea. This type of Matcha is used together with other ingredients in cooking and baking, and can be used for drinking too. Culinary grade Matcha can be used as a natural green food coloring or to add flavor.
You can use premium or culinary grade Matcha to create a delicious Matcha latte, health-boosting smoothie, or warm Matcha cappuccino.
What Does Matcha Tea Taste Like?
Matcha tea has a complex, “grassy” distinct flavor that has a lingering sweet aftertaste. Some people say that Matcha tea tastes like a wheatgrass or spinach.
The taste of Matcha tea also depends on whether you prefer your tea hot or cold. Many people say that cold-brewed premium grade Matcha green tea has a sweeter flavor than hot Matcha green tea.
The taste also depends on the Matcha grade – culinary grade Matcha tea is more bitter than premium grade Matcha tea.
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that Japanese green Matcha tea has an umami taste. Umami is described by many as pleasant savory taste.
Matcha green tea is packed full of antioxidants that have many health benefits.
Matcha tea, just like green tea, contains catechins, polyphenols, and flavanols. Researchers say that the health benefits of green teas come from these antioxidant compounds acting together. The main green tea catechin is EGCG which is known to have anticancer properties.
Green tea catechins also help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.
More of the health benefits of Matcha green tea come from proteins, amino acids, and other important enzymes. For example, green tea contains a unique amino acid L-theanine which has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Research has shown that L-theanine can relax the mind without inducing sleepiness.
The polyphenols and catechins in Matcha green tea also have an antimicrobial effect on the body. Some studies suggest that green tea can help prevent infections due to catechins like EGCG killing off germs.
Polyphenols in green tea also have antibacterial activities and can help to improve your dental health. For example, the journal Nature reported that EGCG and theaflavins in green tea can kill off strains of bacteria like Fusobacterium nucleatum. This strain of bacteria has been associated with gum disease and inflammation.
Consuming Matcha green tea can also provide you with trace amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, selenium, and calcium.
Does Matcha Tea Have Caffeine?
Matcha tea contains caffeine and has significantly higher levels of caffeine than green tea.
How much caffeine is in a standard cup of Matcha green tea? The Journal of Chromatography reports that 1 gram of Matcha powder contains 23.9 mg caffeine. So, if you make a cup of Matcha tea using one teaspoon (2 grams) of green tea powder, a cup of Matcha green tea would contain about 48 mg caffeine.
Regular green tea contains just under 4 mg caffeine per gram of dried tea leaf.
Matcha green tea vs. coffee
Both Matcha tea and coffee contain caffeine, polyphenols, and catechins. Coffee also has some health benefits when consumed in moderation.
Dr. Brunilda Nazario on WebMD says that coffee may prevent colon cancer from recurring. There is also no hard evidence to suggest that consuming one or 2 cups of coffee a day is detrimental to your health.
How does Matcha green tea compare to coffee when it comes to caffeine content? A standard cup of coffee contains between 88 and 190 mg of caffeine, depending on the preparation method.
Even though Matcha tea contains more caffeine than green tea, Matcha caffeine content is about half of what coffee contains.
How Much Matcha Tea to Drink Per Day
There are no set guidelines on the number of cups of Matcha tea to drink daily to boost your health.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic report that adults should consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. Although 2 cups of Matcha green tea would only contain around 100 mg of caffeine, most people don’t exceed drinking 2 cups of Matcha tea a day.
When drinking Matcha tea, you ingest whole leaf powder, not just water extract as you do with regular green tea or coffee. There is some evidence to suggest that high levels of catechins and phenolic acids that are found in green tea could have a negative impact on liver health with long-term use.
Because Matcha tea contains 3 times more antioxidants than high-quality green tea, 2 cups of Matcha tea could contain the equivalent health benefit of 6 cups of green tea.
One of the advantages of Matcha tea over green tea is that you don’t have to drink as many cups of tea to benefit from it.
How to Make Matcha Tea
There are a number of ways to make your own delicious, health-boosting Matcha green tea at home. For most people, premium grade Matcha tea is the best type to use as it is not as bitter as cheaper culinary grade Matcha.
Traditional way to make Matcha tea
To make Matcha tea the same way as they do in Japanese ceremonies, you need a tea bowl and a bamboo whisk.
This is how to make traditional Matcha tea:
- Place a small sifter over your tea bowl and sift 1 or 2 teaspoons premium grade Matcha green tea.
- Pour in a cup of hot water.
- Use the bamboo whisk to vigorously mix the Matcha powder in the hot water.
- Continue whisking in a zig-zag motion until the Matcha tea is frothy.
- Drink your Matcha tea straight from the bowl to enjoy all its health benefits.
- Consume a bowl of Matcha tea once or twice every day for best results.
How to make a Matcha green tea latte
You can kick-start your day with a delicious Matcha latte to give your body a powerful antioxidant boost.
You can make your own hot or cold Matcha tea latte this way:
- Sift 1 or 2 teaspoons of good quality Matcha green tea into a cup.
- Add 3 tablespoons of warm water and use a small sift to create a paste.
- Warm 250 ml of milk (you can use cow’s milk or a non-dairy milk alternative) in a saucepan.
- When the milk is hot, slowly pour over the Matcha green tea paste into your cup, stirring all the time.
- Add a little bit of honey or other natural sweetener.
- Enjoy your hot Matcha latte every morning to help strengthen your immune system and get rid of brain fog.
To make a cold Matcha latte, you just need to use cold milk instead of heating the milk up.
Matcha green tea: In-cup method
The simplest way to get all the wonderful health benefits of Matcha tea is to make it directly in a cup.
How to make Matcha in a cup:
- Heat water.
- Sift 1 or 2 teaspoons of Matcha green tea powder in a cup.
- Add a little of the hot water and use a spoon to mix into a smooth paste.
- Gradually add more water until your cup is full, stirring continually.
- Add a little bit of honey or other natural sweetener.
- Sit back, relax, and enjoy your refreshing homemade Matcha green tea.
Benefits of Matcha Tea
Let’s look at some of the many reasons why drinking 1 or 2 cups of Matcha green tea every day is good for you.
Matcha Green Tea Improves Brain Function
Compounds in Matcha green tea like EGCG, L-theanine, and caffeine help to boost your brain power.
One study on the beneficial effects of Matcha tea on cognitive performance found that consuming Matcha tea increased attention and boosted memory.
The journal Nutrients reported on a small pilot study showing that the antioxidants in green tea can help to prevent cognitive dysfunction. Consuming 2 g of green tea powder for 3 months helped to improve brain function and prevent the progression of neurological problems like brain fog.
It is well known that caffeine stimulates the brain. One study showed that the presence of L-theanine in green teas like Matcha tea helps to lower the effects of caffeine.
Matcha Green Tea Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Drinking a cup or two of Matcha tea every day could help to bring your blood pressure down.
A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials found that flavonoids and polyphenols in green tea have an anti-hypertensive effect. Researchers found that consuming green tea benefited people with stage I hypertension. Green tea polyphenols had a significant effect in lowering systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Matcha Green Tea May Help Lower Cholesterol
Antioxidants in Matcha green tea powder can also protect your cardiovascular health by lowering your cholesterol.
A meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials found that green tea extracts can help to lower total cholesterol levels. The results of the controlled trials also found that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was also reduced. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol that is associated with heart disease.
Matcha Green Tea Can Help Lower Blood Glucose Levels
Regularly consuming Matcha green tea can also help to lower blood glucose levels, as well as lowering fat levels in blood.
According to a study published in 2016, Matcha green tea powder contains antioxidants that significantly reduce levels of glucose in the blood.
Matcha Green Tea Has Anticancer Properties
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of green tea extracts mean that they can play a role in certain cancer treatments.
A summary of studies into the polyphenolic compounds in green tea found that they can prevent the spread of cancer cells. Researchers have discovered that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) can inhibit the growth of tumors. It was also suggested that consuming green tea can have a preventative effect on cancer.
One study from Japan found that consuming 10 small cups of green tea per day delayed the development of cancer by over 7 years. It was found that green tea had a protective effect against lung cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, and stomach cancer.
Drinking over 5 cups of green tea regularly also helped to prevent certain cancers from recurring.
It is good to remember that, according to studies mentioned in this article, Matcha tea has 3 times the level of antioxidants than traditional green tea.
It is important to remember that there is no definitive proof that green tea can cure cancer. Researchers from Cancer Research UK say that lab studies show the potential of using green tea extracts in cancer treatment. However, more research needs to be done using clinical trials.
Matcha Green Tea Can Help Protect Your Liver and Kidney Health
Tea made with Matcha green tea powder also can promote good liver and kidney health and help get rid of toxins from your body.
One trial involving diabetic rats found that Matcha tea has the potential to protect the health of the liver and kidneys. Scientists found that Matcha tea protects against renal and hepatic damage in type 2 diabetes due to its antioxidant properties such as EGCG.
Matcha Green Tea for Weight Loss
If you are trying to lose weight, then drinking a cup of Matcha tea first thing in the morning could boost your weight loss efforts.
For example, a study published in 2018 found that consuming Matcha tea helped women lose weight quicker. The Matcha tea catechins and caffeine helped to enhance fat oxidation while brisk walking. It was found that women can benefit from drinking Matcha green tea if they exercise regularly.
Of course, there is no reason to doubt that Matcha green tea can also benefit men who are trying to lose weight. One study on the benefits to men of taking catechin-rich green tea found that green tea extracts can help to reduce body fat in men.
Other studies have shown that catechins in green tea benefit weight loss and also weight management.
To help lose more weight quicker, you can try these 12 simple tweaks for weight loss.
Matcha Tea Side Effects
Matcha tea is full of antioxidants that have tremendous benefit to your health. For most people, drinking 1 or 2 cups of Matcha green tea help to strengthen their immunity and also improve their general health.
However, as with many natural products, you may feel some unpleasant side effects of Matcha green tea. Doctors from WebMD warn about some of the adverse effects of consuming large amounts of green tea.
If you already have high blood pressure, the caffeine content in Matcha green tea could cause your blood pressure to rise. However, regularly consuming green tea seems to have an anti-hypertension effect.
Anxiety disorders. Green tea and Matcha green tea are stimulants and, in some people, may exacerbate existing anxiety disorders. In many people, though, green tea does have a calmative effect.
Blood glucose control. Matcha tea can help to lower blood glucose levels. So, if you take diabetes medication and regularly drink Matcha green tea, you should regularly monitor your blood sugar.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Matcha green tea contains caffeine that could make some of your IBS symptoms worse.
Risk of osteoporosis. Drinking more than 3 or 4 cups of Matcha green tea per day could cause weakened bones. Green tea causes calcium to get flushed out of your body and you shouldn’t consume more than 3 cups of green tea a day if you are at risk of osteoporosis.
Matcha Tea and Lead Contamination
There is a small risk of lead contamination if you regularly drink Matcha green tea. Tea plants absorb both beneficial minerals and heavy metals from the soil.
According to the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, tea leaves can contain lead and other toxins. Some studies suggest that lead can be found in some Japanese tea infusions. However, in most cases, the levels of lead are below dangerous limits, and scientists say that there is no health risk associated with drinking 5 cups of green tea a week.
The same risk is present when consuming oolong tea, black tea, white tea, and regular green tea.
If you want to consume a cup of delicious Matcha green tea a day to boost your health, you should look for high-quality, organic premium grade Matcha green tea powder.