Vibrant green, bold-flavored matcha, while an enjoyable daily drink and coffee replacement, is also seen as a drink with many health benefits. And matcha powder itself, in its original powdered form, can also boost health.
This concentrated Japanese (ideally) green tea powder is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that enhance energy, focus, immunity, heart health, digestion, relaxation, and more.
From cancer prevention to better skin, matcha can improve your well-being in numerous ways. Keep reading to learn about 15 health benefits of drinking and using matcha.
1. Rich in antioxidants
Matcha is packed with beneficial antioxidants. The main antioxidant present in matcha is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin that makes up 60% of its total catechin content. EGCG is considered one of the most powerful antioxidants found in food.
Matcha’s high antioxidant content can help neutralize harmful free radicals in your body that cause oxidative stress and cell damage. Oxidative stress plays a role in aging and many chronic diseases. You can combat oxidative stress and potentially slow aging by consuming antioxidant-rich foods like matcha.
Studies show matcha contains up to 137 times more antioxidants than low-grade green teas. This makes it an excellent choice for increasing your antioxidant intake through your diet.
2. Boosts energy and endurance
Thanks to its natural caffeine content, matcha can give you an energy boost without the side effects of a coffee-induced crash. Matcha contains about 34 mg of caffeine per half-teaspoon serving.
What makes matcha better than coffee is the presence of L-theanine, an amino acid that works synergistically with caffeine. L-theanine promotes alert relaxation and mitigates the jittery effects of caffeine. It also causes the caffeine to be released more slowly, resulting in long-lasting energy.
Many athletes drink matcha because they believe it can help enhance physical endurance during exercise. One study found that matcha helped increase cycling time trial performance by up to 23%. The antioxidant catechins and caffeine in matcha may contribute to increased fat oxidation and metabolism.
3. Supports brain health
Several studies suggest that drinking matcha can help boost brain function. The key seems to be matcha’s combo of catechins and caffeine.
Research shows matcha can improve attention, reaction time, memory, and information processing. For example, one study on 23 participants found that matcha helped improve reaction time and selective attention during mentally demanding tasks.
The L-theanine in matcha also promotes the brain’s release of serotonin, dopamine, and alpha waves. This is believed to induce relaxation and enhance mood without causing drowsiness.
Due to its neuroprotective properties, regular matcha consumption may help protect the brain against age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
4. Speeds up the metabolism
Matcha has been shown to boost your metabolic rate and accelerate fat burning. One study found that drinking matcha increased thermogenesis from 8–10% to 35–43% of daily energy expenditure.
Several trials suggest that matcha can promote weight loss. In one study, women drinking matcha lost around 1 kg after 3 months, while the control group experienced no significant changes. The metabolism-enhancing effects are likely due to matcha’s EGCG content.
Matcha may also help increase fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise. Greater fat oxidation rates can improve overall fitness and athletic performance while aiding weight management.
5. Supports heart health
Emerging research shows that drinking matcha may help protect the health of your heart. Matcha contains catechins that have been found to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol levels while increasing HDL “good” cholesterol.
One study discovered that people who drank matcha had significantly lower LDL levels than the placebo group after 12 weeks. Lowering LDL cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Some evidence also indicates that matcha may help stabilize blood pressure. A compound in matcha called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is thought to reduce inflammation in the arteries, which in turn can lower blood pressure.
6. Possibly detoxifies the body
While the very existence of detoxification is questioned, it is still a relevant factor for many people and warrants discussion. The chlorophyll in matcha may help remove heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body. Chlorophyll is responsible for the vibrant green color of matcha. It aids detoxification by binding to heavy metals and metabolic waste, preventing their absorption.
One study gave matcha to 30 healthy people for 4 weeks and found it effectively increased fecal excretion of lead and cadmium. Another experiment found that matcha consumption protected the liver from chemical injury.
Matcha’s ability to detoxify and cleanse the body can lead to improved overall health. It also promotes the health of your liver, which is vital for flushing out internal waste.
7. Strengthens the immune system
Drinking matcha may provide several benefits for your immune system. Matcha is a good source of vitamin C, zinc, selenium, and chromium, all of which can help boost immunity. It also contains nearly five times more L-theanine than common green tea varieties.
L-theanine shows promise in fighting off bacteria and viruses. A study found that L-theanine helped prevent flu symptoms in mice infected with the influenza virus. While more research is needed, matcha’s immune-enhancing properties show potential.
The catechins in matcha, like EGCG, have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may help fight infections and prevent chronic inflammation-related diseases. Overall, matcha offers great benefits for your immune defense and resilience.
8. Improves skin health
Many people drink matcha for its potential anti-aging effects and ability to give skin a healthy glow. Consuming matcha may help reduce inflammation-induced skin damage. The polyphenols are thought to prevent UVB-induced damage and hyperpigmentation.
Matcha also contains antioxidants that may protect your skin against free radicals caused by environmental pollutants and UV radiation. Damaging free radicals are believed to be responsible for accelerating the aging process.
Regularly drinking matcha can help defend your skin against wrinkles, fine lines, puffiness, and other signs of aging. The catechins promote collagen production and skin elasticity to maintain youthful, healthy skin.
9. Promotes better digestion
Matcha is an excellent source of fiber, providing about 2 grams per half-teaspoon serving. The dietary fiber in matcha can help promote healthy digestion and prevent constipation.
Soluble fiber attracts water and turns into a gel, softening stool and allowing it to pass more easily through your gastrointestinal tract. Matcha’s fiber content may be especially helpful for those prone to constipation.
Some research also shows that matcha can support gut health by promoting the growth of good bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is important for overall well-being and immunity. The polyphenols in matcha appear to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
10. Enhances relaxation
Thanks to its L-theanine content, matcha can induce relaxation and reduce stress without causing drowsiness. L-theanine increases alpha wave activity in the brain, leading to a relaxed yet alert state.
Matcha has traditionally been used in Japanese tea ceremonies and by Zen Buddhist monks to promote a tranquil, meditative state. Many people also drink matcha to help them focus during meditation or yoga sessions.
Studies confirm matcha’s stress-relieving benefits. For example, one experiment found that matcha helped lower cortisol levels more effectively than traditional green tea. Lowering your cortisol levels can decrease anxiety and enhance overall feelings of relaxation.
11. Supports bone health
Matcha contains several bone-strengthening nutrients like calcium, vitamin K, and magnesium. Just 1 teaspoon of matcha powder contains around 26 mg of calcium.
Matcha is also a great plant-based source of vitamin K, with about 11% of the RDI per half-teaspoon. Vitamin K promotes osteotropic activity and protects your bones from fractures.
Regularly consuming matcha may help prevent bone diseases like osteoporosis. A study on mice observed that matcha helped maintain bone density and mineral content. While more research is needed, matcha shows promise as a way to boost bone health.
12. Regulates blood sugar
Some studies suggest that matcha can help regulate blood sugar levels and boost insulin sensitivity. One study found that matcha significantly reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic rats.
Another experiment discovered that EGCG in matcha moderated glucose levels by slowing the increase after sugar consumption. Matcha may also prevent the development of diabetic nephropathy, a diabetes complication that affects the kidneys.
By helping regulate glucose metabolism, matcha shows potential as a supplemental treatment for diabetes. As with any regimen for diabetes, it’s important to consult your doctor before making any major changes.
13. Has anti-cancer properties
Matcha contains significant levels of EGCG, which has been widely researched for its potential anti-cancer abilities. Studies indicate that EGCG in matcha may help induce cancer cell apoptosis (death) and inhibit cell proliferation.
While research is still in the early stages, matcha shows promise against breast, ovarian, prostate, and liver cancers. For example, one study found that matcha extracts reduced the growth of breast cancer cells by over 50%.
However, more human trials are needed to conclusively determine matcha’s cancer-fighting abilities. Some scientists believe matcha may help prevent cancer development and recurrence in cancer survivors.
14. Promotes oral health, dental health
Drinking matcha may benefit your oral health in several ways. Matcha’s catechins have natural antibiotic effects that may help prevent periodontal disease by reducing oral bacteria.
Matcha also contains fluoride, calcium, and vitamin C, all of which promote dental health and can help prevent cavities or slow their progression. According to one study, matcha extract inhibited the growth of periodontal bacteria.
Matcha’s also been shown to reduce bad breath thanks to its ability to prevent the growth of bacteria in your mouth. The powerful plant compounds in matcha can boost your oral hygiene. Read the full story in our article on matcha and oral health here.
15. Lowers the risk of some chronic diseases
Due to its varied health benefits, regularly drinking matcha may help lower your risk of many life-threatening chronic diseases. Matcha is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are linked with reduced inflammation throughout the body.
Chronic inflammation is believed to play a major role in conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and neurological diseases. Matcha may help prevent these chronic ailments by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress.
Matcha supports overall wellness with its broad spectrum of health benefits. Incorporating it into your diet can be an easy way to take charge of your long-term health.