A look at 7 health benefits of matcha and Japanese green tea health benefits to convince you to make drinking green tea a daily ritual.
Green tea has been a well-loved drink for centuries. Its benefits go beyond a tasty drink and pick-me-up.
Matcha and green tea both come from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis, so their health benefits are the same, though matcha tends to have higher concentrations of the nutrients responsible for the benefits.
Here are some of the top health benefits of green tea and matcha.
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Top matcha and Japanese green tea health benefits
1. Powerful antioxidants
Free radicals are unstable atoms that cause oxidative stress in our bodies. Oxidative stress can lead to cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and cancer to name a few. Our bodies can fight oxidative stress with antioxidants.
Oxidative stress can come from our environment (pollution and/or toxic chemicals), our diet or illness. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help combat the free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Antioxidants work to prevent and repair damage caused by free radicals. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, like matcha and green tea, can help counter oxidative stress.
We often think of berries as having an abundance of antioxidants, but green tea and matcha contain high amounts of epigallocatechin gallate (better known as EGCG) – which is the catechin responsible for antioxidant properties.
Drinking matcha and Japanese green tea can help boost your antioxidant intake, which also supports a healthy immune system.
2. Weight loss
We have heard for years that green tea extract has been added in weight loss supplements for its positive effect on weight loss.
Green tea and matcha can help support healthy digestion by supporting and balancing the microbiome. Having a healthy digestion can help support weight loss.
While most studies on EGCG are based on green tea extract since the extract comes from green tea, it makes it likely drinking green tea and matcha have those weight loss benefits as well. Since matcha tea contains up to 137 times the amount of EGCG, there may be additional benefits from matcha.
3. Cognitive function
Amino acids are molecules that combine to form proteins and are essential to our health. Green tea contains amino acid L-theanine which helps to lower stress and anxiety and improve mood. This may be a result of increased alpha activity in the brain.
An increase in alpha activity means the mind is relaxed without causing drowsiness. This means there is an increase in mental alertness. In a study done on the effects of L-theanine on alpha activity, it was found that positive effects on alpha activity can be found from ingesting L-theanine.
4. May help lower blood pressure
If you suffer from high blood pressure, green tea and matcha may help!
While one study found that green tea didn’t have much of a short term benefit, after 12 weeks of drinking green tea, blood pressures were lowered by 2.6 mmHg systolic and 2.2 mmHg diastolic. When you are working to lower your blood pressure, making changes wherever you can add up to make a big impact.
5. May be good for Oral health
Another beneficial effect of green tea and matcha is aiding with bad breath. A study showed that green tea extract inhibited the growth of S. moorei, which is a bacterium responsible for bad breath. If you’re prone to bad breath, starting your day with a cup of green tea or matcha may be beneficial for your oral health.
6. Good for your immune system
While green tea is not particularly high in vitamin c (commonly thought of for immune system function), in vitro studies have shown that green tea has anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. Studies were done by using concentrated amounts of EGCG but drinking green tea daily can help support a healthy immune system.
The high antioxidant properties of green tea also contribute to the support of the immune system.
For more foods to support your immune system, check out 10 Foods That Help Boost The Immune System.
7. Supports heart health
There have been several studies showing that consuming tea may reduce the risk of heart disease.
One analysis of Epidemiological data even suggests green tea may reduce heart disease risk by up to 20%.
In a study done on hamsters, it was shown that green and black teas were effective in inhibiting atherosclerosis, plaque buildup in the arteries.
Other studies have shown that the catechins in green tea may help lower LDL cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol. Too much LDL can lead to heart attack, so it is important to keep LDL levels low.
The most common types of green tea are those mentioned above – matcha and green tea.
Matcha comes in the form of a fine powder, which is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant (the tea plant) after some form of cooking (i.e. steaming or frying), which prevents oxidation.
Just before harvesting, matcha is shaded, which allows for more chlorophyll in the leaves. When drinking matcha, you are drinking the entire leaf of the Camellia Sinensis plant since the tea is made from dissolving the ground powder. This results in more of the benefits.
Green tea comes from the same Camellia Sinensis plant, but instead of being ground into a fine powder, the green tea leaves are crushed and used as loose leaf tea or made into tea bags.
How to make green tea
Making a cup of matcha – matcha is traditionally made by mixing a small amount of matcha powder with hot water to form a paste. This is done using a special bamboo whisk. Then the remaining hot water is added to the cup and mixed to form the tea.
It’s important to note that there are two types of matcha – ceremonial grade and culinary grade. If you plan to drink matcha as a tea (as opposed to making baked goods), you want to choose a high-quality ceremonial grade matcha.
Making a cup of green tea – to make green tea, you will need a loose leaf, tea bag or Wellness Trickle favorite, high quality tea crystals. Heat your water to just under boiling and let your tea steep for 3-10 minutes, depending on your desired strength.
If using tea crystals, such as those by Pique tea, you can add to hot or cold water (some teas will dissolve in cold water, but some require water to be hot). This makes tea prep super easy, especially in the summer when you need a cold green tea instantly.
Using tea bags vs. a fine powder or loose leaf
What to look for when buying green tea and matcha
You’ll want to check for the following when purchasing green tea and matcha.
- Screened for heavy metals – toxic heavy metals have been found in many green teas. Look for a brand that’s screened for heavy metals to ensure quality.
- Screened for mold – coffee and tea are both prone to contain mold. It’s best to look for a green tea that is screened for mold.
- Organic and preferably tested for pesticides and toxins
- Ceremonial matcha powder, if sipping tea.
What is the caffeine content of matcha and green tea?
People often wonder how much caffeine is in a cup of green tea and matcha and how do they compare to a cup of coffee or a cup of black tea.
While it depends on how you are preparing coffee, tea or matcha, on average, coffee contains about 96mg of caffeine per 8 ounce cup and matcha contains between 38 and 88mg of caffeine per cup.
Black tea contains about 39-108mg of caffeine per 8-ounce cup and green tea contains about 35mg per cup.
How to drink more green tea?
It’s easy to incorporate green tea into your daily routine, especially if you enjoy the taste. If you are a multiple cup coffee drinker, try swapping one cup of coffee for a cup of matcha or green tea.
If green tea isn’t your favorite, try adding some matcha powder into a strawberry smoothie. The taste will still be there, but it will help to blend with a fruit.
If you enjoy green tea and matcha, drinking either of them daily could be a great addition to your wellness routine. Matcha contains up to 137 times the catechins as green tea, but both matcha and green tea have many health benefits.
At Wellness Trickle, we love Pique Tea as they make it super easy and toxin free to prepare a great cup of tea.
Pique Tea Sun Goddess Matcha Tea helps support all these functions and is quadruple screened for heavy metals, toxins (including pesticides), mold and radioactive isotopes, doesn’t require a whisk, can be made with hot or cold water and tastes delicious.
Pique has delicious Japanese Green Teas as well. Try the mint green tea over ice with a little sweetener of choice. It’s the perfect summer tea!