It’s no secret that matcha is a true superdrink, but just how super is it?
We spotted an article titled “9 Amazing Health Benefits of Matcha Tea.” As matcha junkies, we had to check it out, and we found some pretty bold claims. The article suggests that matcha can help prevent cancer, slow down the aging process, improve your immune system, and more.
But we noticed the article doesn’t go into depth. It briefly explains how matcha does something, and then it moves right on. We know there’s some awesome behind-the-scenes work in matcha’s makeup, and if you drink matcha, you owe it to yourself to learn about it.
We also noticed there are absolutely no sources in that article. How could we trust an article with no science or studies to back it up?
In our quest to bring you the best information about matcha, we set out to find the truths of these 9 claims. We looked to experts and consulted studies to get the answers. After some thorough research, we came to a conclusion for each claim.
In this article, we’ll tell you which of these health claims are true, which ones are false, and which ones are impossible to tell.
First things first: You need to be drinking high-quality matcha. If you’re downing sugar-loaded matcha three times a day, you probably won’t experience many of the benefits (and you’ll probably put on a few pounds).
The best kind of matcha to drink is organic, ceremonial grade matcha from Japan. We proudly carry matcha that meets those standards. So before you evaluate these health claims for yourself, pick up some of our matcha to ensure you’re drinking the absolute best tea available.
Now that you’ve got the best matcha on the market, you’re ready to dive in and uncover the truth behind these claims.
Can matcha really prevent cancer? Will it boost your immune system? Read on to find out.
What they say: Healthy and Natural World points to epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) as an anti-cancer antioxidant. They say that EGCG destroys harmful free radicals in the body. They also say that matcha has “more than 100 times more of these natural warriors compared to other commercial teas.”
There’s no doubt that EGCG is one of the most active and potent components of matcha. Matcha contains polyphenols, which are plant chemicals, and certain types of polyphenols are called catechins. According to the National Cancer Institute, EGCG is “the most active and abundant catechin in green tea.”
The NCI goes on to confirm that EGCG (along with other catechins found in matcha) has antioxidant properties. They do indeed destroy free radicals, and they’ve also stopped tumor growth and killed off harmful cells in animal lab studies.
A study published in Aging Cell found that EGCG is capable of “suppressing, slowing down, and reversing the process of carcinogenesis.” Carcinogenesis is the beginning stage of cancer formation, so there’s a possibility that matcha could help to stop cancer from forming in the first place.
While there’s no guarantee that your morning cup of matcha will cure cancer, there’s strong scientific evidence suggesting matcha could improve cancer and stop it from forming. That said, there is no guarantee that cancer victims will see any improvements from drinking matcha.
But the Healthy and Natural World article also claims that matcha has over 100 times the amount found in other teas. This number comes from a study from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. It found that matcha has 137 times the concentration of EGCG than Tazo® China Green Tips tea. It then reports that the concentration of EGCG in matcha is “at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas.”
So what exactly does that mean? As an article from Green Tea Guide points out, the study is stating that their sample of matcha had 137 times more EGCG than the Tazo® tea sample. It’s not saying that matcha has 137 times more EGCG than regular green tea.
As the Green Tea Guide article notes, the USDA has assessed that the average concentration of EGCG in brewed green tea is 77.81 mg. So if the “137 times” claim were true, matcha would have a whopping 10,659.97 mg of EGCG! That’s an extremely dangerous level that could lead to harmful results.
The takeaway? Matcha has about three times the amount of EGCG in regular green tea.
What they say: Matcha drinkers can lose 25% more weight than non-matcha drinkers, therefore burning fat 4 times as fast.
Like many of the other claims in the Healthy and Natural World article, this is two claims in one.
First, it says that matcha drinkers lose 25% more weight than non-matcha drinkers. According to the article, there are studies to prove this, but there’s no links to any such studies.
We couldn’t find a study that supported the “4 times faster” or “25% more” claim, but we did find evidence that matcha may help you lose weight faster. Two studies, published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research and The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that matcha has anti-obesity properties and “metabolic health benefits.” These are both thanks to EGCG, the same compound that may help prevent cancer.
Yet another study from the American Society for Clinical Nutrition reports that green tea extract increased fat oxidation (burning) in their subjects. Even though you may not burn fat 4 times as fast, you may lose more weight if you incorporate matcha into your diet.
Remember when we said that this was two claims in one? Well, the second claim is that matcha “doesn’t affect your heart rate and blood pressure.” This isn’t true, because matcha contains caffeine, which is known to increase both heart rate and blood pressure. The good news? You can use the alert calm provided by matcha to focus during your workout!
What they say: Because of the combination of caffeine and other nutrients, matcha gives you “good, clean energy.”
This one’s a no-brainer. We’ve posted about the energetic yet calming effects of L-theanine in matcha, and that’s exactly what’s at work here. You experience an alert calm that’s more relaxing than the jittery buzz that coffee brings.
That’s why matcha has been an important part of the Japanese tea ceremony for centuries. It aids in mindfulness and meditation.
What they say: Matcha fights off disease and protects from UV radiation. This causes the skin to maintain “a youthful appearance.”
Studies published in Aging Cell and Current Aging Science have shown that plant polyphenols, including EGCG, have anti-aging properties. Aging Cell reported that EGCG protects skin from harmful UVB rays. Scientific American notes that “sun and environmental damage” is the main cause of extrinsic skin aging.
We can’t be 100% sure, but there’s strong evidence to suggest that matcha preserves youthful skin.
If that weren’t enough, Current Aging Science found that EGCG can lessen the impact of age-related diseases. So if you drink matcha, in addition to aging with less wrinkles, you could age with less issues.
What they say: The L-theanine in matcha lowers stress levels and calms you down.
This is the same “alert calm” we mentioned in Claim #3. Even though matcha has caffeine, which typically makes you a tad restless, the L-theanine found in matcha acts as a calming agent, giving you a relaxed focus that’s ideal for rest, meditation, and much more.
What they say: Matcha improves “cognitive processing” and “increases the secretion of dopamine and serotonin, which help you feel happier and more focussed.
A study published in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy found that L-theanine increased serotonin and dopamine in animal neurochemistry studies. It also stated that L-theanine could be a “neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.”
Another study from Northumbria University reported that the combination of L-theanine and caffeine “led to faster simple reaction time, faster numeric working memory reaction time and improved sentence verification accuracy.”
These studies confirm that matcha makes you feel happier and helps you concentrate. Whenever you need to focus, grab a cup of matcha and enjoy that alert calm.
What they say: Matcha has antioxidants that act as “natural antibiotics” and “contribute to the body’s defense system.”
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that tea can “provide natural resistance to microbial infections and perhaps tumors.” In an interview with CBS News, Dr. Jack F. Bukowski, one of the authors of the study, said that tea clearly improved the body’s defenses against disease.
We did find that matcha is rich in vitamins, including A, B-complex, C, E, and K. However, we couldn’t find any information regarding the iron or calcium concentration in matcha.
Nevertheless, matcha is an effective immune helper that will increase your body’s ability to fight off sickness.
What they say: Matcha lowers “bad” cholesterol (LDL) while increasing levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). This lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Are you one of the 73.5 million adults with high levels of LDL cholesterol? If you are, you might want to consider getting into matcha (if you haven’t already).
The Journal of the American Dietetic Association published a study on the effects of green tea catechins on cholesterol levels. They found that the catechins in tea reduce both total cholesterol level and LDL cholesterol levels.
However, they reported “no significant effect on HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels.” In addition, a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food backs up the cholesterol-lowering claim.
But does matcha help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease? We don’t think so. The World Heart Federation notes that raised HDL levels decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease, and there’s no science to prove that matcha raises HDL levels.
The bottom line: Matcha can lower LDL levels, but it doesn’t seem to affect your HDL levels or safeguard you from cardiovascular disease.
What they say: The chlorophyll in matcha removes heavy metals and other bad substances from your body, thereby detoxifying it.
We couldn’t find any studies to affirm or disprove the detox claim, though it does seem that chlorophyll has detoxifying effects. However, we can’t say for sure.
On the other hand, the Mayo Clinic suggests that detox diets may not be helping you that much. The kidneys and liver naturally remove toxins from your body. Most detox diets eliminate processed food, which makes people feel better.
Of course, we wholeheartedly recommend matcha for mental detoxification!
What they say: The Healthy and Natural World article doesn’t actually recommend a cup limit, but they say “the average consumption is 1-2 cups a day.”
Matcha contains 65g-70g of caffeine per 8 fl. oz. cup. The FDA recommends 100g-200g a day. 2 cups of matcha with 70g of caffeine puts you at 140g, which seems to be a good level.
However, the Mayo Clinic says that up to 400g of caffeine a day is fine. That’s 5 or 6 cups of matcha a day! Also keep in mind that we’re talking about 8 fl. oz. cups here, which is a lot smaller than most mainstream cups and glasses.
How many cups should you drink? It’s hard to say because each cup of matcha may have a different level of caffeine. We recommend 1-3 a day to keep consumption at a safe level.
When drinking matcha, don’t overdo it. Remember it’s about the drinking experience; sit back, relax, and sip.