Health Benefits of Matcha

Having achieved status as a superfood, matcha is known by tea drinkers and non-tea drinkers alike for its impressive health benefits. Here at Vital Leaf, we admire matcha for taking the term “functional ingredient” to the next level. You are likely familiar with some of the health benefits of matcha, but may find some of them surprising. In this article, we are going to highlight our favorite benefits of incorporating matcha into your daily routine. 

benefits of matcha green tea latteMake it a Ritual: The Benefits of Drinking Matcha in the Morning

Many reach for a caffeinated beverage in the morning to help improve concentration and jumpstart the day.   While matcha green tea naturally contains some caffeine, it also contains l-theanine, an amino acid known to help reduce stress by increasing the brain’s production of alpha waves. The combination of caffeine and l-theanine is a match made in heaven. L-theanine helps to create a smoother onset of caffeine, extends the energy you get from it, and reduces the jitteriness that many experience with coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Additionally, there are studies that show that drinking matcha daily over an extended period of time can lead to increased cognitive function. The preparation of your morning matcha can be an intentional ritual in itself, infusing your mind with a calm, focused energy with which to greet the day. 

What’s the Superfood with the Highest Antioxidant Rating? Matcha Green Tea, Of Course!

Who doesn’t want to increase their antioxidant intake? Did you know that drinking matcha green tea boasts an antioxidant rating that is 15 times higher than the amount found in blueberries? Antioxidants are known for their ability to stabilize free radicals, which can cause many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. While the body naturally produces some antioxidants, consuming antioxidant-rich foods like matcha is a great way to support your health. 

Looking Radiant: Matcha Health Benefits for Skin

You don’t have to drink it to experience the benefits of matcha green tea for skin. Making a face mask out of matcha powder may help to decrease redness, combat acne, and leave your skin glowing. Once again, matcha helps to stabilize free radicals, which can accelerate the aging process. Using matcha as an ingredient in your skincare routine may help to achieve youthful radiant skin for years to come. 

Anti-Cancer Properties

Believe it or not, matcha might actually have anti-cancer properties. Several studies have found that green tea has lowered the risk and slowed the growth of certain kinds of cancers. Matcha contains catechins, which are natural antioxidants that decrease oxidative stress in the body. We already know that matcha is extremely high in antioxidants, but it turns out that it contains a high amount of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a catechin that has been researched in these studies related to cancer. While some of the studies referenced here have only been done in test tubes or with animals, it is promising to see these results. It’s worth noting that in the current studies related to green tea, matcha actually contains over 100 times more catechins than standard green tea. For more on the differences between green tea and matcha, see our article.

Don’t Armor Your Heart, Unless it’s with Matcha

We all want to keep our hearts open—except to disease. As a complement to a healthy diet and active lifestyle, matcha may help protect your heart health. The same catechin (EGCG) that may make matcha tea an anti-cancer superfood could play a role in maintaining cardiovascular health. This powerful plant compound may inhibit plaque from building up in your heart, prevent the thickening of heart tissue, reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol, and decrease the risk of cardiac arrest. 

Keep it Moving! Matcha and Digestion

It is commonly believed that the caffeine in coffee helps keep your bowel movements regular. Which begs the question, “Is matcha good for digestion since it has a lower caffeine content?” Matcha will make your tummy happy for several reasons. Drinking matcha green tea can support you in staying hydrated, which is crucial for keeping the digestive system flowing. Matcha contains fiber, an essential component of smooth digestion, and one which we are often lacking. Additionally, some people may find that matcha is easier on their stomachs than the acidity of coffee, especially first thing in the morning. 

And, if you’re wondering “Is matcha good for gut health overall?” the answer is quite likely yes! Aside from its ability to reduce inflammation, matcha may be good for your stomach because of the high level of polyamines it contains. Polyamines support the body with cellular renewal and can increase the production of the gut microbiota, which would help to heal dysbiosis. 

Is Matcha Good for Weight Loss?

The magic of matcha can help you feel and look your best, from the inside out! In addition to supporting your health in a myriad of ways, matcha could be a natural support for losing weight. Studies have shown that matcha may help your body burn calories faster. If you want to give your metabolism a boost and have a higher level of energy to exercise, add three cups of high-quality matcha to your healthy lifestyle. After about three months you may see improvement! This isn’t a shortcut or an excuse to phone it in at the gym, but rather a healthy way to bolster your efforts. Because it contains l-theanine, which naturally reduces stress and anxiety, you may find that matcha in the morning helps lower your cortisol, which has been linked to stubborn belly fat.

Need a Go-To Pick Me Up While Pregnant or Breastfeeding? Make it a Matcha

Good news: you can still have your matcha latte while pregnant! Matcha is safe to drink even while pregnant because of its lower caffeine content. It is recommended that expecting mothers stay under 200 mg of caffeine per day and a single serving of matcha contains around 35 mg, so you can enjoy several matcha lattes a day with no risk to the baby. Benefits of matcha during pregnancy include a clean source of energy, natural anti-inflammatory, and a great source of antioxidants. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, matcha may also be able to reduce morning sickness. Only a tiny percentage of caffeine consumed by a breastfeeding person gets passed on to the baby, so if you’re wondering, “Can I drink matcha while breastfeeding”’ the answer is also yes! (Note: it’s always a good idea to discuss these kinds of questions with your doctor as well.)

Matcha for a More Restful Night’s Sleep

You might be surprised to learn that a caffeinated beverage could contribute to better quality sleep. Matcha green tea has a blend of polyphenols and amino acids that promote natural relaxation. Matcha may actually help to improve your circadian rhythm, which is an essential aspect of having a great night’s sleep! The caffeine-addicted may be wondering, “So, can I drink matcha at night?” Well, we wouldn’t go that far… Although the combination of caffeine and l-theanine should result in a more relaxed caffeine buzz, it’s still caffeine and if you are sensitive to it you should avoid drinking matcha later in the day. 

For those who are sensitive to caffeine, you may be wondering, “Exactly how much caffeine does matcha have?” A half teaspoon of matcha green tea powder contains around 35 mg of caffeine. This is the recommended serving size for one cup of matcha. For comparison, an 8 oz cup of coffee contains around 96 mg of caffeine.    

To Sum It All Up

While the list of the health benefits of matcha is quite long (there are more than what we’ve listed here!), it is important to remember that daily matcha intake is only one component of healthy living. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and tending to your mental and emotional health are crucial contributing factors. However, with all of those factors in place, matcha could help keep your heart healthy and your digestive system moving, as well as decrease inflammation, keep your skin glowing, and provide a safe option for pregnant and breastfeeding people. We know for sure that it will provide you with clean energy to fuel your day! 

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