Curious about the next “it” beverage? Look no further: it’s called matcha green tea — and the health benefits are astounding!
Heralded by top nutritionists, health experts and even popular among health-conscious celebrities, matcha is not your typical green tea. This special powdered green tea has been traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies for hundreds of years. And as a fat-burner and even a cancer-fighter, matcha leaves other teas in its dust. We all know that green tea benefits by itself are amazing but when you consume, you consume it in its most concentrated form —and the health benefits are amplified!
Matcha Green Tea At a Glance
- A concentrated powdered form of green tea
- Helps to burn fat, fight cancer, reverse cellular damage and boost exercise performance
- Contains over 100 times the amount of health-boosting antioxidants as other green teas
- Available at local grocery stores, health food stores and even some coffee shops
Matcha Green Tea and Catechins
The secret behind matcha’s super strength is found in its polyphenol compounds, particularly catechins, a type of antioxidant found in superfoods like green tea, cocoa, and apples. Heralded for being more catechin-dense than most items, green tea provides unbelievable health benefits for people who regularly drink it. And this is especially true of matcha.
Matcha Green Tea and Cancer Prevention
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the catechins in matcha green tea (EGCG, EGC, ECG, and EC) are so powerful that it is believed that they may actually help prevent cancer. (1) While it might seem outrageous that regularly drinking something as common as green tea can put you at a lesser risk, it’s not that far-fetched. The NCI provides the following explanation:
- The chemicals in green tea, especially EGCG and ECG, have substantial free radical scavenging capability. They have also been proven clinically to protect cells from DNA damage caused by reactive oxygen species.
- Tea polyphenols have been shown to inhibit tumor cell development and induce apoptosis (cancer cell destruction) in laboratory and animal studies.
- The catechins in green tea activate detoxification enzymes, such as glutathione S-transferase and quinone reductase. These enzymes are praised for preventing tumor growth.
- Lastly, research has revealed two additional findings. The catechins in green tea not only protect against damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) B radiation, but also they can improve immune system function.
That’s a pretty impressive list of attributes, right? If that were all matcha could do, that’d be a lot. But it does more than prevent tumors. It also fights the battle of the bulge.
Matcha Green Tea for Weight Loss
When it comes to boosting your metabolism and helping with weight loss, science shows that few things are more beneficial than matcha green tea. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the effects of drinking one bottle of oolong tea containing 690 milligrams of catechins versus drinking one bottle containing 22 milligrams of catechins. In the study, 35 healthy Japanese men with similar BMI and waist circumference distributions were divided into two groups. (2)
The researchers gave one group the 690 milligrams of tea and the other group the 22 milligrams of tea. After 12 weeks, they observed that body fat mass, BMI, body weight, subcutaneous fat area and waist circumference were all “significantly lower” in the 690 milligram catechin group than in the 22 milligram group. Even more astounding were the modifications in LDL levels due to the dramatic decreases in body fat mass and total fat area.
From these results, researchers confidently concluded that because drinking tea containing 690 milligrams of catechins for 12 weeks reduced body fat, consuming catechins could aid in the prevention and improvement of many diseases — especially obesity.
Matcha Green Tea Benefits Exercise Performance
Another fascinating aspect of matcha green tea is that clinical tests suggest it can help speed recovery in athletes whose focus is high-intensity workouts like burst training. It has also been shown to reverse cellular damage caused by oxidative-nitrosative stress. Oxidative-nitrosative stress is just a fancy term for the internal imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. And this imbalance ultimately destroys cells, prevents their repair and causes disease.
A study published in Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology evaluated the potential affect EGCG had on mice with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) that were forced to swim for six minutes a day over a period of 15 days. After this intense activity regimen, they discovered that the animals experienced significant increases in oxidative-nitrosative stress and tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels, which is a biochemical marker for cell death. Astoundingly, by administering continual dosages of EGCG, the researchers found that both of these alterations were completely reversed. (3)
Not All Green Teas Are Created Equal
In case you’re not totally sold on the special properties in matcha green tea, here’s some extra information on what makes match so much more healthy than other green teas.
Science has established that the catechins found in matcha green tea are of the utmost benefit to our health and wellbeing. But it wasn’t until a decade ago that researchers discovered that one type of tea may be more beneficial than another.
To test the hypothesis that matcha is more catechin-dense than other green teas, researchers from the University of Colorado Springs conducted a comparison study between matcha and other common green teas by utilizing a process that separated mixtures into their individual parts using various mediums.
Published in the Journal of Chromatography, the results were groundbreaking! The researchers discovered that, “The concentration of EGCG available from drinking matcha is 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from China Green Tips green tea, and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas.” (4)
Final Thoughts on Matcha Green Tea
Of all natural antioxidant-rich foods, matcha green tea contains some of the highest levels of catechins. As a result, drinking matcha regularly can greatly aid in workout recovery, burn fat, encourage strength at a cellular level, and even be part of a natural cancer treatment program. (5) So, if you’re looking to maximize the power of tea in your daily routine, look no further than brewing up and enjoying a nice, hot cup of matcha green tea!