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Matcha Tea Benefits - Explained by a Dietitian

by Steve O'Dell November 27, 2016

Matcha Tea Benefits - Explained by a Dietitian

Written by Stephanie Logosh, RDN, LD.

Matcha, the finely ground green tea powder, is much more than a comforting drink. This unique and colorful powder holds many beneficial nutritional components to improve health. Matcha is rich in a type of phytochemical compound called catechins (1). These phytochemical compounds are known to benefit and help prevent the progression of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. These health benefits may be achieved with 600-900mg catechins per day, the amount in about 3 or 4 cups of green tea (1).

Catechins include an antioxidant called “epigallocatechin gallate” or, EGCG for short. Specifically, matcha has a concentration of EGCG about two to three times higher than that of other green teas—some producers even tout a concentration of 137 times greater (1,2). Antioxidants like EGCG protect cells from DNA damage caused by free radicals, an unstable byproduct of metabolizing oxygen in the body. When free radicals build up in cells, damage may occur. EGCG from powdered matcha protects cells from this damage by collecting and disposing of free radicals (6). This action can help protect against or slow the growth of certain cancers such as skin, esophageal, stomach, colon, pancreatic, lung, bladder, prostate, and breast cancers, as laboratory and animal studies have shown (8). Although positive results have been illustrated in these lab and animal studies, more research needs to be conducted in humans before a conclusive statement can be made about the effect of EGCG and human tumor growth.

A case-control study of urinary bladder cancer in metropolitan Nagoya identified that reduced risk of bladder cancer in females was associated with intake of matcha tea (3). More recently, the Mayo Clinic has presented a series of studies showing the promise for EGCG in reducing the number of leukemia cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (4). Other research has suggested that matcha may help boost the immune system and aid in improving blood glucose and cholesterol levels. A group of researchers found that the water-soluble, aqueous extract, of matcha is the component that has a role in the suppression of diet-induced high levels of lipids and blood glucose (5,7). Thus, matcha may be especially beneficial for populations who consume a high-fat diet.

Besides these potential health benefits, drinking matcha can increase mental alertness due to the amino acid, L-Theanine. Although matcha contains less grams of caffeine than an espresso, matcha’s caffeine is processed in the body for a longer period of time; this allows for a nice buzz without the caffeinated crash. To reap the most health benefits from this tea, enjoy a freshly brewed cup.

Finally, matcha green tea has been scientifically proven to help reduce hair loss. Why? This is due to the high numbers of flavonoids and polyphenols. Fun Fact: there are more flavonoids in matcha green tea than most common fruits and vegatables.

Always remember.... a matcha a day keeps the doctor away!

Written by Stephanie Logosh, RDN, LD.

Sources
  1. Johannes L. Does Matcha Beat Green Tea in Health Benefits? The Wall Street Journal. 14 December 2015. Internet: http://www.wsj.com/articles/does-matcha- beat-green- tea-in- health-benefits-1450111818. (accessed 2 June 2016).
  2. Weiss DJ, Anderton CR. Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Journal of Chromatography. Sep 2003; 1011(1-2): 173-80.
  3. Ohno Y, Aoki K, Obata K, Morrison AS. Case-control study of urinary bladder cancer in metropolitan Nagoya. National Cancer Institute Monograph. Dec 1985; 69: 229-34.
  4. Oestreich KW. Green Tea Extract Appears to Keep Cancer in Check in Majority of CLL Patients. Mayo Clinic News Network. 4 June 2010. Internet: http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/green-tea- extract-appears- to-keep- cancer-in-check-in- majority-of- cll-patients/. (accessed 28 July 2016).
  5. Xu P, Ying L, Hong G, Wang Y. The effects of the aqueous extract and residue of matcha on the antioxidant status and lipid and glucose levels in mice fed a high-fat diet. Food & Function. Jan 2016; 7(1): 294-300.
  6. Fujioka K, Iwamoto T, Shima H, Tomaru K, Saito H, Ohtsuka M, Yoshdoe A, Kawamura Y, Manome Y. The Powdering Process with a Set of Ceramic Mills for Green Tea Promoted Catechin Extraction and the ROS Inhibition Effects. Molecules. April 2016; 21(4).
  7. Yamabe N, Kang KS, Hur JM, Yokozawa T. Matcha, a powdered green tea, ameliorates the progression of renal and hepatic damage in type 2 diabetic OLETF rats. Journal of medicinal food. Aug 2009;12(4): 714-21.
  8. Heneman K, Zidenberg-Cherr S. Some Facts about Catechins. UC Cooperative Extension Center for Health and Nutrition Research. Department of Nutrition University of California Davis. October 2008. Internet: http://nutrition.ucdavis.edu/content/infosheets/fact-pro- catechin.pdf . (accessed 28 July 2016).



Steve O'Dell
Steve O'Dell

Author

I am the Matcha Man. Love cooking, drinking, smoothie'ing, and all things Matcha.


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