Antioxidants in abundance
Catechins, specifically Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), are largely responsible for matcha’s health halo. EGCG is thought to work as a potent antioxidant, fighting against harmful free radicals that can cause a whole host of chronic diseases. As such, there’s been a ton of studies looking at its effect on our bodies. For example, while research is yet to specifically prove matcha can have protective benefits (Belguise et al. 2007, Du et al. 2012).
EGCG may also be responsible for reducing an individual’s risk of developing heart disease. Researchers have concluded consuming green tea can result in a significant reduction in LDL (AKA ‘bad’) cholesterol thanks to this compound (Momose et al. 2016).
Meanwhile, EGCG is believed to aid in glucose metabolism (Tsuneki et al. 2004). This may help improve insulin sensitivity as well as reduce hyperglycaemia and, whilst more studies are required in humans, there is potential for EGCGs to assist in the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes (Chacko et al. 2010).
There’s even suggestions that EGCG may support bone health. For example, an in vitro study by Vali et al. (2007) reported that EGCG in green tea may play a role in increasing bone mineralization. More studies are needed for sure, but EGCG looks very promising when it comes to helping in the fight against aging and disease.
Amino acid aid
EGCGs can’t take all the credit though. Matcha is also high in amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to have potential beneficial effects on our mood and cognitive health (Dietz et al. 2017). For example, some research suggests L-theanine might be effective for those with stress-related conditions (White et al. 2016). Meanwhile, it may work in conjunction with EGCG and caffeine-like compounds to help increase alertness (Dietz et al. 2017).
Matcha is packed with potent compounds with health-giving properties. However, coffee shops usually add some form of sugar or syrup to balance out the earthy flavour. Therefore, stick with straight-up matcha powder so you aren’t consuming tons of processed sugar. Alternatively, try our new Matcha and Cacao protein balls which contain a hit of pure matcha and hint of cacao. A matcha made in heaven? We think so.
Belguise, K., Guo, S. and Sonenshein, G.E., 2007. Activation of FOXO3a by the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate induces estrogen receptor α expression reversing invasive phenotype of breast cancer cells. Cancer research, 67(12), pp.5763-5770.
Chacko, S.M., Thambi, P.T., Kuttan, R. and Nishigaki, I., 2010. Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review. Chinese medicine, 5(1), p.13.
Dietz, C., Dekker, M. and Piqueras-Fiszman, B., 2017. An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance. Food research international, 99, pp.72-83.
Du, G.J., Zhang, Z., Wen, X.D., Yu, C., Calway, T., Yuan, C.S. and Wang, C.Z., 2012. Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is the most effective cancer chemopreventive polyphenol in green tea. Nutrients, 4(11), pp.1679-1691.
Eng, Q.Y., Thanikachalam, P.V. and Ramamurthy, S., 2018. Molecular understanding of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 210, pp.296-310.
Momose, Y., Maeda-Yamamoto, M. and Nabetani, H., 2016. Systematic review of green tea epigallocatechin gallate in reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels of humans. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 67(6), pp.606-613.
Tsuneki, H., Ishizuka, M., Terasawa, M., Wu, J.B., Sasaoka, T. and Kimura, I., 2004. Effect of green tea on blood glucose levels and serum proteomic patterns in diabetic (db/db) mice and on glucose metabolism in healthy humans. BMC pharmacology, 4(1), p.18.
Vali, B., Rao, L.G. and El-Sohemy, A., 2007. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate increases the formation of mineralized bone nodules by human osteoblast-like cells. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 18(5), pp.341-347.
White, D.J., De Klerk, S., Woods, W., Gondalia, S., Noonan, C. and Scholey, A.B., 2016. Anti-stress, behavioural and magnetoencephalography effects of an L-theanine-based nutrient drink: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Nutrients, 8(1), p.53.