Matcha Tea: The Real Health Benefits
Match green tea
What is it?
A bright green powder obtained from grinding down organic green tea leaves.
The health claims?
- Matcha green tea is an excellent metabolism booster and fat burner
- It’s great for clearing acne
- Matcha green tea is an excellent anti-ageing drink
- The green superfood powder is an immune system booster and natural energiser
The scientific facts?
- Matcha green tea is essentially a more potent and concentrated form of green tea. It provides drinkers with the nutrients from the entire leaf rather than tea-infused water. As such, it’s an excellent source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – the molecule that research has shown boosts body metabolism and fat-burning. Studies, like this, have found that matcha green tea contains 137 times more EGCG than green tea.
This is pretty significant because if you read this post on the fat-burning powers of green tea, you will have noticed that studies that link green tea with weight loss suggest that you need to drink a ton of green tea to get any noticeable benefit. In fact, this study showed that women did lose noticeable weight from green tea, but only when they consumed almost 900mg of EGCG – and you’ll need to drink around 12 cups of green tea to get this amount of EGCG. And to put the study findings into context the study participants actually lost an average of 1kg from drinking this high dose of ECGC for 12 weeks. Better than nothing, but not a lot to show for 12 weeks of guzzling green tea.
- As the super tea is packed with antioxidants called catechins (EGCG is a type of catechin), which help to protect the body from damage caused by free-radical molecules that play a part in skin ageing, it’s unsurprising that studies have deduced that the drink can, at least in theory, help to keep skin wrinkle free.
- And if that wasn’t enough, research also suggests that super-molecule EGCG can help clear up acne by reducing sebum (the oily substance produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands, which can block skin pores) production.
- Although there is little evidence to prove that matcha legitimately boosts the immune system, science definitely supports health claims that the superfood drink is a natural energiser. That’s because, contrary to popular belief, green tea does contain caffeine (usually half that of black tea). A cup of matcha green tea made with one teaspoon of powder has just under a third of the caffeine in a single espresso shot (68 vs 212mg, respectively).
Nutritional facts – Matcha versus loose leaf green tea
It’s pretty clear that matcha green tea is a much stronger version of green tea, but to demonstrate the difference, here’s how one cup of matcha made with 1 teaspoon of powder (5g) compares with a cup of tea made with a teaspoon of loose leaf China Green Tips tea:
- Kcals: Matcha green tea 15 v green tea 1
- Protein: Matcha green tea 2g v green tea 0g
- Carbohydrate: Matcha green tea 3g v green tea 0g
- Fibre: Matcha green tea 3g v green tea 0g
- Fat: Matcha green tea 0g v green tea 0g
- Vitamins, minerals and miscellaneous: Green tea contains trace vitamins and minerals, but match green tea contains a small amount (around 1% of the recommended daily allowance) of iron and vitamin A. Matcha green tea is also much higher in caffeine than green tea, with around 70mg of caffeine in once cup versus 30mg in one cup of freshly brewed green tea.
Winner: Matcha green tea. Its EGCG levels are significantly higher than that of normal green tea and it’s this molecule that holds the key to matcha and green tea’s fat-burning, anti-ageing and disease-preventing health benefits.
Worth the hype? Yes, but be warned – matcha green tea is not cheap. A 30g packet costs around £15 and will last 1-2 weeks if you have half a teaspoon once or twice a day. You’ll also have to take it religiously for at least a couple of weeks to reap any acne-clearing benefit as it takes time for sebaceous glands to start reducing the amount of sebum produced.Match