Finding its roots in Japan, matcha is the green tea that has taken the world by storm and there is no reason that should not be the case as this earthy green tea is a treasure trove of health benefits. The antioxidant-packed matcha comes in the form of a fine powder of tea leaves, and therefore, the concentration is significantly enhanced.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Parimal Shah, Tea Sommelier and Founder and CEO at Cherise India Private Ltd, shared, “Matcha is not just a cup of tea, it’s a powerhouse of antioxidants that can boost your health in numerous ways it is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and it contains high levels of polyphenols, which are compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The health benefits of drinking matcha include improved focus, increased energy levels, improved digestion, stronger immunity and better overall health. It’s no wonder why matcha is the new favourite among health enthusiasts seeking a refreshing and wholesome beverage.”
He added, “Matcha is a reservoir of healthy ingredients. It has benefits for the overall health of an individual. While it helps in achieving glowing skin on one hand, it is found to be beneficial for heart health as well. It is a great beverage for people on their weight loss journey. Moreover, matcha has also been found to diminish the risk of gastric cancers. Therefore, suffice it to say that including matcha in our daily lives goes a long way in keeping us healthy.”
He elaborated upon some of the many benefits this beverage has to offer –
- Enhanced brain function: If you find yourself struggling in finding the boost to keep you functioning all day long, matcha might be what your body needs. Matcha contains caffeine and L-theanine, which together help in promoting alertness. Significant improvements in attention, memory, and reaction time have been found in people consuming matcha.
- Support for heart health: A micronutrient called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is found in abundance in matcha. The good news is that this compound has many therapeutic properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-atherosclerosis, anti-cardiac hypertrophy, anti-myocardial infarction, and anti-diabetes. It is good for the healthy function of our cardiovascular system as it prevents the build-up of plaque and the thickening of heart tissue.
- Your bestie in weight management: Consuming matcha on a daily basis has been shown to reduce Body Mass Index (BMI), thus reducing weight. It does so by increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation and by decreasing lipogenesis and fat absorption. Therefore, anyone looking to lose those extra kilograms of weight should consider drinking matcha tea.
- Good for skin: Research shows that vitamin C in matcha helps stimulates collagen production, which gives a plump look to the skin and prevents sagging. Moreover, its vitamin B component helps in promoting skin cell turnover. Matcha is also seen to reduce skin inflammation and helps in providing an even tone to the skin.
- Reduces the risk of cancer: Yes, you read that right. This is all the more reason to sip on some piping hot matcha or embrace its cooler versions. Consumption of green tea has been associated with a reduced risk of stomach cancer. It is interesting to note that some phytochemicals (chemical compounds produced by plants) such as catechins and gallic acid that are present in matcha have been used in combination with chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients.
Bringing her expertise to the same, Ekta Singhwal, MSc Dietician at Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, added to the potential benefits of drinking matcha green tea, based on scientific research:
1. Rich in antioxidants: Matcha contains a high level of antioxidants, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to have potent antioxidant effects. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
2. Boosts brain function: Matcha contains caffeine, which can enhance alertness and improve cognitive performance. It also contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been shown to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine may provide a calm but focused mental state.
3. Supports heart health: Some studies suggest that regularly consuming green tea, including matcha, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. The antioxidants in matcha may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improve overall heart health.
4. Weight management: Matcha green tea has been associated with potential weight loss benefits. It may increase metabolism and fat oxidation, which can help with weight management when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
5. Supports liver health: Some research suggests that the catechins in matcha green tea can help protect the liver against damage caused by toxins and oxidative stress. This may be beneficial for individuals with liver conditions or those at risk of liver diseases.
6. Enhances immune function: Matcha contains various compounds that have been shown to support immune function. The antioxidants in matcha may help strengthen the immune system and protect against infections.
She concluded, “While matcha green tea has potential health benefits, it’s essential to remember that these effects may vary from person to person. It’s also important to moderate your consumption of matcha, as it does contain caffeine, which can have adverse effects on some individuals, such as increased heart rate or sleep disturbances. If you’re considering incorporating matcha green tea into your diet, it’s advisable to start with a moderate amount and observe how your body responds. Additionally, if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications, it’s always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant dietary changes.”