Does Matcha Have a Lot of Polyphenols?

Matcha – Enjoy Green Tea

Compared with well-known plant-based sources such as fruits and cocoa, matcha has a lot of polyphenols in a small amount of product.

Aside from its bright green hue and satisfying taste, matcha is packed with antioxidants called polyphenols. Why does it matter? Simply put, polyphenols, along with other beneficial things like vitamins C and E, can help the body’s tissues fight against bad things like cancer and heart disease (source), and improve areas like dental health.

So drink it all day and it will make you immortal? Well, no, and you’ll be bouncing off the walls. But drink a few cups of delicious matcha every day and science indicates you’ll see benefits.

Let’s dig into these specific polyphenols found in matcha, such as catechins, EGCG, rutin, and quercetin. We’ll also discuss how much is in matcha and how these can affect your health.

What are polyphenols?

Polyphenol is a large class of naturally occurring compounds.

Polyphenols include phenolic acids, flavonoids, lignans, and a whole lot more. They’re widely found in plant foods such as fruits and vegetables. Generally, the products made from these food products also have significant amounts of polyphenols, like red wine and, yes, tea.

Polyphenols aren’t required by the human body, unlike nutrients. However, intake of polyphenols has been studied by several researchers to be beneficial.

Polyphenols are known to have potent antioxidant properties which have a potential role in health promotion and disease prevention when consumed.[1] [2]

What are the benefits of polyphenols?

Excessive accumulation of free radicals in the body can lead to harmful effects. The free radicals are produced from pollution, UV damage, or other factors leading to oxidative stress. Polyphenols act as antioxidants by scavenging excess free radicals in the body.[4][8]

Free radicals are basically atoms running amok in your body and capable of causing cell damage. Some also do have a positive function in that they can kill off bacteria.

Regular consumption of foods rich in polyphenols can also protect you from non-communicable diseases. It can delay the onset of chronic diseases such as certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, and diseases related to brain nerve decline.[5]

Notable foods with a substantial amount of polyphenols are berries, cherries, apples, and grapes.[3] You may also be getting a considerable amount from some beverages, such as when drinking a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.

Drinking black or green tea can also increase your polyphenol intake.

Cereal, herbs, spices, and dark chocolate are other good sources.[1] Yum!

Is matcha high in polyphenols?

Matcha green tea contains a relatively high amount of polyphenols. One study found that 100 mL of matcha can give approximately 176 mg of total polyphenols. That’s more than double the polyphenols in traditional green tea.[6]

From the same volume, you’ll get 85 mg from traditional water-brewed green tea.

Drinking matcha will also give you a higher dose of polyphenols than when drinking

  • instant coffee (133 mg)
  • black tea (72 mg)
  • apple juice (40 mg)
  • ground/drip coffee (53 mg)
  • hot cocoa (30 mg)

Higher polyphenols can be ingested from drinking red wine (241 mg).[7] Good deal. But if you want to keep your job, it’s probably better if you take in non-alcoholic drinks throughout the day, with far fewer side effects.

Catechin polyphenols in matcha

Green tea contains the highest amount of catechins among all types of teas.

The high level of catechin is mainly responsible for the antioxidant potential of green tea. Catechins are compounds belonging to flavan-3-ols, a subclass of flavonoids. The most abundant catechins in tea are epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin-3- gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG).[8] Among these, EGCG is the most abundant.[9]

Interestingly, tea powders, such as matcha, and tea bags exhibit higher antioxidant activity than normal tea leaves. This owes to the higher catechin levels.[8][10]

Limited data can be found on the total catechin content of matcha specifically. However, one study found that the catechin of normal green tea (5.46–7.44 mg/g) is considerably higher than that of black tea (0–3.47 mg/g).[11]

That means if you want to take in more catechins, you might want to switch your afternoon black tea to green tea.

But what will be the advantage if you drink more catechins? Due to the ability of catechins to eliminate free radicals, it’s been widely studied to have anticarcinogenic effects. Other possible mechanisms for cancer prevention are its anti-inflammatory activities and its ability to modify the immune and genetic response.[12]

Catechins in matcha were also found in a study to be able to decrease triglyceride, total cholesterol, and hepatic glucose levels. These help suppress hepatic (liver) and renal (kidney) damage.[13] Catechins can also aid you in weight loss when combined with the effect of caffeine.[14] Interestingly, they’re also tied to hair health and hair growth.

Moreover, it can inhibit the growth of many bacterial species.[15] A recent study also found that the catechins in green tea can possibly help prevent you from getting COVID-19 infection.[16]

Catechins can form interactions with some minerals. It may reduce your iron or zinc. It may also enhance your manganese concentration. Nevertheless, the effect on the blood plasma concentration is minimal.[17]

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in matcha

EGCG, as mentioned, is a type of catechin most abundant in green tea. [9] [18] You’ll most likely get three times higher EGCG in drinking matcha (615.1 µg/ml EGCG) than normal green tea (200.1 µg/ml EGCG).[10]

As EGCG is a catechin, most of the benefits of consuming catechins also apply to EGCG.[19]

EGCG in matcha also exhibits anticarcinogenic effects. It can even reduce the chance of developing breast cancer.[20] Your cardiovascular system is also protected with EGCG.[21]

Additionally, EGCG has advantages in terms of your brain health. Drinking a cup of green tea daily may help reduce your risk of developing dementia.[22]

Several studies also found that cognitive function may also be improved. However, more validation studies should be done regarding cognitive performance.[23] [24] If you’re doing endurance exercises, consuming EGCG from green tea long-term may improve your exercise capacity. It may also help your body break down fat for more energy.[25]

Despite its antioxidant properties, EGCG may play a role in possible green tea toxicity. The risk however is only present in high amounts.[26]

If you drink a serving of about 200 mL pure matcha, you will only be getting about 123 mg EGCG. It is within the safe limit. According to the European Food Safety Authority, 800 mg might cause hepatotoxicity based on clinical trials.[27]

Rutin in matcha

Rutin, also called rutoside, is also a polyphenolic compound found in matcha. It is a flavonol glycoside also found in plants.

One of the highest plant sources is buckwheat (62.3 mg/100 g fresh weight). Normal green tea only contains 3.7 mg/100 mL of rutin. However, a study found that matcha has equivalent content of 122.2-196.8 mg/100mL. Its rutin content is even higher than that of buckwheat.[28]

Rutin can also support your cardiovascular system. It can strengthen your blood vessels and regulate your blood pressure. It can also protect you from getting diabetes through its anti-inflammatory properties.[19] You can also help prevent ulcerative colitis with rutin.[29]

Other health-promoting activities of rutin such as anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-allergy were also noted.[30]

Quercetin in matcha

Quercetin is one of the major flavonoids found in plant foods. It is a potent antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.[31] Matcha contains 1.2 mg/mL quercetin. Only about 0.1-mg higher than traditional green tea.[32]

Quercetin in matcha can also help you prevent diabetes. This is due to its ability to regulate carbohydrate metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower blood glucose.

Quercetin in matcha can also help reduce your systolic blood pressure, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides.[19] [33] [34]

So drink up. You’ll also enjoy the caffeine kick and other benefits elements. Along with the soothing ritual of making and drinking matcha. If matcha’s too strong or bitter for your liking, there are plenty of other green tea varieties to enjoy and still get a good blast of polyphenols. Sure beats popping a pill or downing a bottle of merlot.


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[3] Claudine Manach, Augustin Scalbert, Christine Morand, Christian Rémésy, Liliana Jiménez, Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 79, Issue 5, May 2004, Pages 727–747,

[4] Farooq, S., & Sehgal, A. (2018). Antioxidant activity of different forms of green tea: Loose leaf, bagged and matcha. Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science, 6(1), 35–40.

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[9] Sayuti, N. H., Kamarudin, A. A., Saad, N., Razak, N. A. A., & Esa, N. M. (2021). Optimized Green Extraction Conditions of Matcha Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) Using Central Composite Design for Maximal Polyphenol and Antioxidant Contents. BioResources.

[10] Fujioka, K., Iwamoto, T., Shima, H., Tomaru, K., Saito, H., Ohtsuka, M., … Manome, Y. (2016). The powdering process with a set of ceramic mills for green tea promoted catechin extraction and the ROS inhibition effect. Molecules, 21(4).

[11] Adnan, M., Ahmad, A., Ahmed, A., Khalid, N., Hayat, I., & Ahmed, I. (2013). Chemical composition and sensory evaluation of tea (Camellia sinensis ) commercialized in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 45(3)(May), 901–907. Retrieved from

[12] Shirakami, Y. & Shimizu, M. 2018. Possible Mechanisms of Green Tea and Its Constituents against Cancer. Molecules 2018, 23, 2284.

[13] Yamabe N, Kang KS, Hur JM, Yokozawa T. Matcha, a powdered green tea, ameliorates the progression of renal and hepatic damage in type 2 diabetic OLETF rats. J Med Food. 2009, Aug;12(4):714-21.

[14] Hursel R , Viechtbauer W , Westerterp-Plantenga MS . The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond) 2009;33(9):956–61.

[15] Taylor, P. W., Hamilton-Miller, J. M., & Stapleton, P. D. (2005). Antimicrobial properties of green tea catechins. Food science and technology bulletin, 2, 71–81.

[16] Ghosh, R., Chakraborty, A., Biswas, A., & Chowdhuri, S. (2021). Evaluation of green tea polyphenols as novel corona virus (SARS CoV-2) main protease (Mpro) inhibitors–an in silico docking and molecular dynamics simulation study. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 39(12), 4362–4374.

[17] Saeed, M., Naveed, M., Arif, M., Kakar, M. U., Manzoor, R., Abd El-Hack, M. E., … Sun, C. (2017). Green tea (Camellia sinensis) and L-theanine: Medicinal values and beneficial applications in humans—A comprehensive review. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, 95(September), 1260–1275.

[18] Wolfram, S. (2007). Effects of green tea and egcg on cardiovascular and metabolic health. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26(4), 373S-388S.

[19] Kochman, J., Jakubczyk, K., Antoniewicz, J., Mruk, H., & Janda, K. (2020). Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(1).

[20] Schröder, L., Marahrens, P., Koch, J. G., Heidegger, H., Vilsmeier, T., Phan-brehm, T., … Richter, D. U. (2019). Effects of green tea , matcha tea and their components epigallocatechin gallate and quercetin on MCF ‑ 7 and MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cells, 2(9), 387–396.

[21] Babu, P. V., & Liu, D. (2008). Green tea catechins and cardiovascular health: an update. Current medicinal chemistry15(18), 1840–1850.

[22] Molino, S., Dossena, M., Buonocore, D., Ferrari, F., Venturini, L., Ricevuti, G., & Verri, M.      (2016). Polyphenols in dementia: from molecular basis to clinical trials. Life Sciences, 161, 69–77.

[23] Dietz, C., Dekker, M., & 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, 72–83.

[24] Baba, Y., Kaneko, T., & Takihara, T. (2021). Matcha consumption maintains attentional function following a mild acute psychological stress without affecting a feeling of fatigue: A randomized placebo-controlled study in young adults. Nutrition Research, 88, 44–52.

[25] Murase T, Haramizu S, Shimotoyodome A, Nagasawa A, Tokimitsu I. Green tea extract improves endurance capacity and increases muscle lipid oxidation in mice. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005 Mar;288(3):R708-15.

[26] Gallo, E., Maggini, V., Berardi, M., Pugi, A., Notaro, R., Talini, G., … Vannacci, A. (2013). Is green tea a potential trigger for autoimmune hepatitis? Phytomedicine, 20(13), 1186–1189.

[27] Younes, M., Aggett, P., Aguilar, F., Crebelli, R., Dusemund, B., Filipič, M., … Wright, M. (2018). Scientific opinion on the safety of green tea catechins. EFSA Journal, 16(4).

[28] Jakubczyk, K., Kochman, J., Kwiatkowska, A., Kałdunska, J., Dec, K., Kawczuga, D., & Janda, K. (2020). Antioxidant properties and nutritional composition of matcha green tea. Foods, 9(4).

[29] Baliga, M. S., Saxena, A., Kaur, K., Kalekhan, F., Chacko, A., Venkatesh, P., & Fayad, R. (2013). Polyphenols in the Prevention of Ulcerative Colitis: Past, Present and Future. Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease (Vol. 1). Elsevier Inc.

[30] Patel, K., & Patel, D. K. (2019). The Beneficial Role of Rutin, A Naturally Occurring Flavonoid in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: A Systematic Review and Update. Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for Arthritis and Related Inflammatory Diseases (2nd ed.). Elsevier Inc.

[31] The flavonoid quercetin has been proven to be an excellent antioxidant that also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and gene expression changing capacities in vitro Boots, A. W., Haenen, G. R. M. M., & Bast, A. (2008). Health effects of quercetin: From antioxidant to nutraceutical. European Journal of Pharmacology, 585(2–3), 325–337.

[32] Schröder, L., Marahrens, P., Koch, J. G., Heidegger, H., Vilsmeier, T., Phan-brehm, T., … Richter, D. U. (2019). Effects of green tea , matcha tea and their components epigallocatechin gallate and quercetin on MCF ‑ 7 and MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cells, 2(9), 387–396.

[33] Egert, S., Bosy-Westphal, A., Seiberl, J., Kürbitz, C., Settler, U., Plachta-Danielzik, S., … Müller, M. J. (2009). Quercetin reduces systolic blood pressure and plasma oxidised low-density lipoprotein concentrations in overweight subjects with a high-cardiovascular disease risk phenotype: A double-blinded, placebo-controlled cross-over study. British Journal of Nutrition, 102(7), 1065–1074.

[34] Xu, P., Ying, L., Hong, G., & Wang, Y. (2015). 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.