Matcha green tea
Matcha green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, like the green tea; however, is processed differently.
The name Matcha is derived from the combination of two Japanese words (Matsu + cha = to rub + tea). Its name describes how the tea would be prepared – the tea leaves are rubbed with stones and turned into a fine powder. While matcha is derived from the same plant as green tea, its leaves are shaded with a bamboo fabric for up to 20 days and are fully destemmed and deveined. From there it is ground into a fine powder. This makes the plant produce more chlorophyll, hence its green color. (1,2)
Matcha is rich in catechins. Catechins have multiple protective effects.
When you drink matcha, you are ingesting the whole tea leaf in contrast with green tea where you steep the leaf in hot water. Matcha is known for its plethora of antioxidants that include a class of polyphenols called catechins, which contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). In a study published in the Journal of Chromatography, matcha has been shown to have the highest amount of EGCG (11). Catechins help the body to fight free radicals. In fact, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is a known polyphenol that has protective effects against cancer (3), Alzheimer’s disease (4), heart disease (5), high blood pressure (6), insulin resistance (7), and obesity (8).
Catechins possess anti-cancer properties
EGCG has been proven to possess a chemopreventive effect through inhibition of the carcinogenesis process. In addition, this catechin has proven its role in cancer management through modulating the re-fuel of damaged cells and killing various types of cancer cells. (9)
Matcha Tea is an aid in weight loss
Catechins are also known to promote weight loss and boost metabolism. Research has shown that daily consumption of tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat, body weight, and waist circumference (12). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated also that green tea beverages can significantly lower LDL and total cholesterol (15).
Consumption of Matcha tea can alleviate stress and improve cognition
Matcha is also known for its content of L-theanine; an amino acid that is known to promote relaxation and relieve anxiety. (1,2). L-theanine has been shown to improve cognition and increase dopamine. Matcha has been shown to be excellent for daily stress as it induces a clear and alert mind with greater focus. (10)
Consumption of Matcha tea benefits the gut microbiota
EGCG from matcha tea has also been shown to benefit the gut microbiome by promoting the growth of good gut bacteria and reducing gut permeability (13). A study published in Nutrients demonstrated that daily consumption of green tea modifies positively the gut microbiota and especially the ratio of Bacteroides/Furmicutes. (14).
3. Gan RY, Li HB, Sui ZQ, Corke H. Absorption, metabolism, anti-cancer effect and molecular targets of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG): An updated review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Apr 13;58(6):924-941.
9. Almatroodi SA, Almatroudi A, Khan AA, Alhumaydhi FA, Alsahli MA, Rahmani AH. Potential Therapeutic Targets of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), the Most Abundant Catechin in Green Tea, and Its Role in the Therapy of Various Types of Cancer. Molecules. 2020 Jul 9;25(14):3146. PMID: 32660101; PMCID: PMC7397003.
12. Nagao T, Komine Y, Soga S, Meguro S, Hase T, Tanaka Y, Tokimitsu I. Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jan;81(1):122-9.PMID: 15640470.
15. Abdul G Dulloo, Claudette Duret, et al. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 70, No. 6, 1040-1045, December 1999