Matcha Tea: What Is It And What Are Its Uses?

Matcha tea is a product that has become popular for its interesting properties. It comes from the same plant as traditional green tea,  Camellia sinensis,  but it is a powdered product with a different nutritional profile, since its way of cultivation is also unique.

To grow this type of tea, farmers cover the plants 20-30 days before harvest to avoid direct sunlight. In this way, the production of chlorophyll increases, as does the content of amino acids. The plant even takes on a darker green hue.

When harvest time comes, the best leaves are picked by hand and the stems and veins of the plant are removed. Then, they are ground and a bright green powder is obtained, which is distributed under the name of matcha tea. Next, we detail its properties and uses.

Nutritional properties of matcha tea

As we have discussed, matcha tea is characterized by its unique nutritional profile. Although it has similarities to green leaf tea, its concentration is higher. According to the SELF nutrition database , a serving of matcha tea (1 teaspoon or 1 gram) contains:

  • Protein (between 250 and 300 mg)
  • Total amino acids (about 272 mg)
  • Lipids (about 50 mg)
  • Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and iron
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and K

On the other hand, an estimate published through the Journal of Chromatography A suggests that the number of catechins contained in this type of tea is up to 137 times higher than other types of green tea. Because of this, in health matters, it is one of the preferred options.

Nutritional properties of matcha tea

Main uses of matcha tea

In recent years, matcha tea has been used as a nutritional supplement to promote wellness. The powder is whipped with hot water and a drink is obtained to supplement the diet. However, due to its texture and flavor, there are those who are using it to make desserts, cocktails and other types of drinks.

However, in general, most consumers prefer it for its health applications. And it is that, although many still do not know it, several investigations have determined that its components are coadjuvant in the prevention of some diseases.

Brain health

The drink made with this natural tea is often recommended to improve brain health. Due to its content of stimulating substances such as caffeine and L-theanine, it can contribute to increased alertness and an increase in energy level.

Research published in Food Research International observed that matcha can produce improvements in attention, reaction time and memory, compared to placebo. Although it is still a subject that requires research, the findings suggest that it may be a good supplement to improve brain performance.

Heart health

Due to its concentration of catechins, this type of tea also provides protective effects on heart health. According to a review of studies published in the medical journal Current Medicinal Chemistry , catechins have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, and antiproliferative activity.

Therefore, matcha and other varieties of green tea are helpful in reducing high cholesterol levels, blood pressure problems and other factors that increase the risk of chronic cardiovascular diseases.

Heart health

Body weight

Another use of matcha tea has to do with things related to body weight. It should be noted that it is not one of many miracle products that promise to reduce kilos in a short time. Simply included in the framework of a healthy, calorie-controlled diet, it can promote weight loss.

In research published through The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , consuming green tea extract helped increase fat burning by up to 17% during moderate exercise. In addition, other research has associated its intake with greater energy expenditure.

In any case, it is a subject that continues to be investigated and whose evidence remains insufficient to make claims. Therefore, if it is about losing weight, it is essential to prioritize the recommendations of the doctor and the nutritionist.

Side effects and contraindications of matcha tea

In most healthy adults, matcha tea is considered safe, as long as its consumption is moderate. Two or three cups a day is enough, each prepared with one gram. However, due to its caffeine content, this tea can cause side effects, especially when the doses are exceeded or in those who have sensitivity to this substance.

These effects include:

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting

On the other hand, as detailed in a review of the literature published in the Chinese Medical Journal , the catechins in this tea can affect iron absorption, affecting patients with iron deficiency anemia, for example. It can also affect the absorption of zinc.

Patients with heart disease, kidney problems, or stomach ulcers should avoid consuming this tea without first consulting a doctor. Its components can interfere with the action of the drugs used to treat these conditions.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button