The secret is officially out. Matcha is delicious, and people everywhere are soaking up its incredible health benefits. This form of green tea has been a staple in Japan for ages, and now it continues to gain popularity worldwide for its many health benefits. Recently, it’s gained a reputation for its potential role in weight loss support.
You can enjoy matcha in many forms, from matcha lattes and teas to matcha shots, supplements, and desserts. You can even find it in some popular beauty industry products.
Much like green tea leaves, matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, it’s farmed differently and has its own unique nutrition profile. This nutrition profile makes matcha a powerhouse for our health.
Research has discovered that matcha and its components offer many health benefits. For example, studies indicate that matcha can help protect the liver, support heart health, and boost your energy. But is matcha good for weight loss?
This article will dive into the science behind matcha green tea powder and examine its many purported health benefits, including its potential role in weight loss.
What is Matcha?
Matcha, like regular green tea, comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, but it is harvested in a very specific way. So, how is matcha made? When farmers grow this traditional Japanese tea, they cover the tea plant 20 to 30 days before harvest to avoid exposure to direct sunlight. This boosts chlorophyll production, increases the amino acid content, and even gives the plant a dark green color.
After the tea leaves are harvested, the stems and veins are removed. What’s left of the leaves is then ground into a fine powder, which we know as matcha powder. Since matcha contains nutrients from the entire leaf, it contains more caffeine and antioxidants than are typically found in green tea.
Green tea powder is used in all kinds of products. It can be found in iced or hot lattes, baked goods, smoothies, and high-end beauty products.
7 Key Health Benefits of Drinking Matcha
Drinking a cup of matcha can offer many wellness benefits. The health benefits of matcha tea can include:
Matcha has a relatively high caffeine content compared to other green teas, meaning a delicious cup of matcha tea can boost your energy. While the caffeine content can vary between matcha products, a typical serving of matcha powder can provide 19-44 milligrams of caffeine per gram. For reference, most coffee beans will provide 10-12 milligrams of caffeine per gram.1
Of course, the caffeine levels in your matcha products depend on how much powder is used, its freshness, and how it was brewed. Nonetheless, matcha might do the trick if your energy levels need a little help.
Rich in Antioxidants
Matcha is rich in catechins, natural polyphenol phytochemicals that act as antioxidants, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These antioxidants help protect your cells against free radicals that can cause damage and contribute to chronic disease. When it comes to matcha powder, studies have shown that its concentration of EGCG is 137 times greater than other types of green teas.2
Supports Weight Loss and Weight Management
Science points to a link between powdered green tea and healthy weight management. If you look at any weight loss supplement, there’s a good chance you’ll see green tea extract listed somewhere in the ingredients.
But short of buying a weight loss supplement that’s not backed by science, how can matcha help with weight loss? Matcha is said to boost metabolism and increase energy expenditure, along with supporting your body’s fat-burning mechanisms.
The catechins in matcha green tea powder also help facilitate the bodily processes that burn fat. This increases the body’s thermogenesis, making it easier to burn body fat, especially when combined with regular physical activity.
Supports Liver Health
The liver is essential to our overall health. It plays a critical role in flushing out toxins, processing nutrients, and metabolizing drugs. Some research indicates that matcha can help support a healthy liver.
A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine examined the effects of green tea extract consumption in participants with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. After 12 weeks, those who consumed green tea extract consistently had lower liver enzyme levels.3 Since elevated levels of these enzymes can indicate liver damage, it leads researchers to believe that matcha can help protect the liver.
Improves Cognitive Functions
Some research indicates that matcha powder can help boost brain function. A recent study found that the caffeine and L-theanine found in matcha can help suppress age-related cognitive decline and even help maintain your attention span when faced with cognitive function tasks in the moment.4
Promotes Heart Health
Matcha intake may help keep your heart healthy and protect it against chronic disease when paired with a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity. Studies have found that green tea, which has a similar nutrition profile to matcha, can help protect against heart disease.5
Research also shows matcha can help lower total and LDL cholesterol by promoting lipid metabolism and antioxidant properties.6
Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels
There’s still room for more research, but current studies indicate a connection between matcha and lower blood glucose levels. It has long been understood that green tea intake has a favorable effect on blood glucose accumulation.7 Still, we’re seeing that matcha, specifically, can suppress glucose accumulation in the blood.6
4 Potential Side Effects Matcha
Consuming matcha powder is considered generally safe for the average healthy adult. However, too much of a good thing may not be good. While there isn’t a standard recommendation or limit for matcha powder intake, most studies recommend consuming no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine daily.8
Overconsumption can lead to negative side effects, such as:
The tannins in matcha offer many health benefits, but they can also cause a temporary increase in your stomach acids, leading to feelings of nausea.
Unfortunately, research has shown a correlation between excessive caffeine intake and increased anxiety levels. Drinking too many matcha lattes may contribute to underlying anxiety and stress.9
Too much caffeine can play a role in disrupted sleep patterns. Caffeine consumption can cause you to fall asleep later, sleep fewer hours overall, and even rob you of the deep, slow-wave sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed the next day.10
If you are sensitive to caffeine or are not adequately hydrated, consuming too much matcha may cause headaches. Since caffeine-containing products act as a diuretic, they increase urine production and can affect your overall hydration status. Dehydration is a common culprit behind the typical headache.
How to Make and Store Matcha
If you’re wondering how to prepare matcha tea, don’t stress. Preparing matcha tea is easy, meaning its many health benefits are right at your fingertips. To enjoy this traditional Japanese matcha tea, start by sifting 1-2 teaspoons of the matcha powder into your cup. Then, add approximately two ounces of hot water and mix it with a bamboo whisk or milk frother.
Not a fan of the consistency? You can adjust the ratio of matcha to water according to your preference. Try reducing the matcha powder or increasing the water for a thinner tea. For example, mix half a teaspoon with 3-4 ounces of hot water.
If you prefer a more concentrated tea, you can increase the number of scoops of matcha or decrease the amount of hot water you use. For example, try mixing two teaspoons with one ounce of hot water.
Feeling creative? Try whipping up a delicious matcha latte or add the tea to another favorite recipe to boost its nutritional content. Add matcha powder to your favorite pudding, smoothies, yogurts, and baked goods.
Storing your matcha green tea powder is just as easy. First, wash an airtight container and let it dry in the sun. Then, transfer your matcha powder to the container and store it in a cool, dark cabinet, ideally in the refrigerator. If you haven’t opened your matcha yet, pop it in the fridge to keep it fresh until you do.
FAQs Around Matcha for Weight Loss
Including various teas in your routine can benefit your overall health, especially matcha. There’s so much to know about matcha and its impressive health benefits. Let us break down some of the most frequently asked questions about consuming matcha for weight loss:
1. How much matcha should I drink for weight loss?
While there is no standard recommendation for how much matcha to drink to lose weight, it’s widely accepted that drinking one cup of matcha daily can help support your weight loss goals.
It is also important to discuss drinking matcha for weight loss with your doctor or registered dietitian before adding this into your routine.
2. When should I drink matcha for weight loss?
All bodies respond to nutritional intake differently but consider drinking matcha before your workouts to boost metabolism and fat oxidation.
The best time to enjoy matcha on your rest days may be in the morning, right after waking up. You can also replace your afternoon cup of coffee with a cup of matcha to help support your weight loss efforts.
3. Who should avoid drinking matcha?
Children and pregnant women should avoid drinking matcha tea. If you plan to include matcha tea in your weight loss journey, it’s best to talk with your doctor beforehand. Your healthcare provider can offer personalized guidance based on your medical history.
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Topics discussed in this article:
- Kochman, J., Jakubczyk, K., Antoniewicz, J., Mruk, H., & Janda, K. (2021). Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules, 26(1). https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26010085
- Weiss, D. J., & Anderton, C. R. (2003). Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Journal of chromatography. A, 1011(1-2), 173–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0021-9673(03)01133-6
- Pezeshki, A., Safi, S., Feizi, A., Askari, G., & Karami, F. (2015). The Effect of Green Tea Extract Supplementation on Liver Enzymes in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 7. https://doi.org/10.4103/2008-7802.173051
- Baba, Y., Inagaki, S., Nakagawa, S., Kobayashi, M., Kaneko, T., & Takihara, T. (2021). Effects of Daily Matcha and Caffeine Intake on Mild Acute Psychological Stress-Related Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients, 13(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051700
- Pang, J., Zhang, Z., Zheng, T. Z., Bassig, B. A., Mao, C., Liu, X., Zhu, Y., Shi, K., Ge, J., Yang, Y. J., Dejia-Huang, Bai, M., & Peng, Y. (2016). Green tea consumption and risk of cardiovascular and ischemic related diseases: A meta-analysis. International journal of cardiology, 202, 967–974. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2014.12.176
- Xu, P., Ying, L., Hong, G., & Wang, Y. (2016). The effects of the aqueous extract and residue of Matcha on the antioxidant status and lipid and glucose levels in mice fed a high-fat diet. Food & function, 7(1), 294–300. https://doi.org/10.1039/c5fo00828j
- Xu, R., Bai, Y., Yang, K., & Chen, G. (2019). Effects of green tea consumption on glycemic control: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition & Metabolism, 17. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-020-00469-5
- Temple, J. L., Bernard, C., Lipshultz, S. E., Czachor, J. D., Westphal, J. A., & Mestre, M. A. (2016). The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00080
- O Bertasi, R. A., Humeda, Y., O Bertasi, T. G., Zins, Z., Kimsey, J., & Pujalte, G. (2021). Caffeine Intake and Mental Health in College Students. Cureus, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.14313
- Caffeine's connection to sleep problems. Sleep Foundation. (2023, February 7). Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/caffeine-and-sleep