What is Organic Matcha?
Regarded as one of the more popular drinks in the world, green tea is highly beneficial to human health. Used for many centuries in Japan and China, green tea has recently skyrocketed in popularity across the entire world to curtail the over reliance on chemical medications. You may have encountered the trend and the tea’s numerous benefits on the human body, like the ability to foster detoxification, fight heart diseases, etc. One of the highly recognized variations of green tea, though, is organic matcha (x).
Organic matcha is an emerald-green tea powder with a strong, grassy flavor. Its history goes back thousands of years to Japan, but has now become popular worldwide. Matcha, which stands for “powered tea,” grows from a plant botanically known as Camellia sinensis.
During the matcha powder preparation, its leaves are covered with shade clothes before harvesting to trigger the development of leaves with a greater flavor and touch. After hand harvesting, the leaves are steamed and stored in cold areas to enhance the flavor. Once dry, the leaves are then ground into a superfine powder.
As the term “organic” suggests, no chemicals are present in the finished product. All the care and fertilization comes by way of natural products. This organic alternative ensures that one is consuming a completely healthy tea.
What are some of the benefits and side effects of organic matcha?
Organic Matcha Benefits
A third of all deaths among individuals over 35 years old is attributed to heart disease — the leading cause of death globally (x). However, organic matcha offers numerous health benefits, including the ability to improve heart health. Because matcha undergoes minimal oxidization compared to the standard tea, it retains its flavonoids. These are antioxidants that combat free radicals in the body. Flavonoids improve the lining of the blood vessels as well as minimize cholesterol levels, which helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent blood clotting (x). Matcha also augments blood flow by expanding heart arteries.
Matcha has dietary antioxidants like catechins. Powerful catechins like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) help fight inflammation in the body, maintain healthy arteries and stimulate cell repair (x). Matcha is allegedly effective in revamping cardiovascular health because it contains 137 times more antioxidants than standard green tea (x). These antioxidants improve the arteries’ aptitude to withstand fluctuations in blood pressure.
Green tea powder is an ingredient in a number of weight loss supplements. In fact, its main antioxidant, EGCG, increases calorie burning in the body by elevating the metabolism rate, raising energy use and boosting fat burning. According to a small study, taking green tea during moderate exercise resulted in a rise in the fat burning activity by up to 17 percent (x). Moreover, consumption of organic matcha on a regular basis may result in an increase in the rate of thermogenesis (the rate at which the body burns calories) by up to 43 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (x). Green tea consumption can help improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in young people. However, some studies focus primarily on the overall green tea extract. Since organic matcha comes from the same plant, the effects should be the same.
Organic matcha should bring promising news for diabetics. This superfood has the natural ability to plausibly combat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is beneficial in maintaining a healthy metabolism in diabetic people. Its antioxidant-rich quality also helps in minimizing the number of triglycerides and hepatic glucose content in diabetic individuals.
Matcha further protects the renal system from damage. It naturally lowers blood sugar, cholesterol and advanced glycation end products, which are proteins that trigger the hardening of blood vessels when exposed to sugar (x). Matcha also has a better chance of lowering blood sugar than ordinary green tea because of the collaborative nature of matcha’s healthy chemical compounds and matcha’s fiber.
Since matcha powder is made from ground tea leaves, it tends to have more dietary fiber that boosts the effectiveness of the chemical compounds (x). It also aids the body’s ability to assist in weight control and exercise, thus minimizing fat storage (x, x).
Other Benefits and Uses
Boosts Brain Function
According to research, a number of matcha components can help in improving brain function. It contains a unique amino acid, L-theanine, that can modulate human brain functions.
Many often describe the feeling they get from drinking matcha as “relaxed alertness”. This sensation comes as a result of caffeine aiding the brain to stay alert and focused, while L-theanine keeps it relaxed (x). This amino acid also causes an increase in alpha wave activity in the brain, which results in induced relaxation and lower stress levels (x). It can also cross the blood-brain barrier, so it jumpstarts the performance of the neurotransmitter GABA, which in turn helps lower anxiety and makes an individual feel relaxed (x, x, x).
Matcha is chock-full of health-enhancing elements that possibly have anti-cancer properties. For example, EGCG and other matcha antioxidants may be able to halt the growth of cancer cells. The antioxidants lower the cellular level of cyclin+ D1, a protein needed for the growth of cancer cells. EGCG also blocks what would be responsible for the maintenance of cancer cells in the cell cycle (x). EGCG even inhibits the development and formation of new blood vessels in tumors.
Angiogenesis is the process by which blood vessels develop in a tumor. This speeds up the growth of the cancer cells by providing oxygen and necessary nutrients. EGCG enters and severs this growth factor, thus preventing rapid cancer cell growth (x, x).
Helps in Detoxification
Another benefit is its ability to help keep the body safe from harmful chemicals. Since matcha tea leaves are shade-grown, they retain higher levels of chlorophyll compared to other green teas. Japanese matcha is the main source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps in the excretion of dioxins, heavy metals and other tenacious chemicals. It also gives matcha its green, vibrant color.
Matcha Side Effects
Yes, matcha offers numerous health benefits. Since it’s a form of green tea, it contains caffeine. Because of this, it should be taken in moderation. Here are some of organic matcha’s side effects to keep in mind:
Due to its caffeine content, matcha may cause mild to severe headaches. An iron deficiency that may result from excessive consumption of green tea can also trigger headaches (x). However, people suffering from migraines can consume matcha without experiencing any headaches. People who experience daily headaches should avoid taking green teas, as well as those with high caffeine sensitivity (x).
Japanese matcha can result in stomach irritation if prepared too strongly or taken on an empty stomach (x). It contains tannins that raise the quantity of acid in the stomach. High amounts of acid can cause digestive issues like constipation and nausea. These stomach problems can be exacerbated by brewing matcha with hot water that is between 160 and 180 F. When taken in large amounts, it can also lead to diarrhea because caffeine has a laxative effect that causes the colon muscles to contract. Because of this, people with irritable bowel syndrome should avoid it. Be sure to take matcha after a meal (x).
Caffeine in matcha acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system, so excessive caffeine consumption can possibly result in irregular sleep patterns. Erratic sleeping leads to increased fatigue and tiredness of the body and drags reflex actions. Matcha can be problematic for people with caffeine sensitivity (x) because the chemical components in the tea hinder the release of key sleep hormones like melatonin. People with this sensitivity should take the tea no later than 5 hours prior to bedtime (x).
Other Side Effects and Warnings
Dizziness and Convulsions
The caffeine in matcha may cause dizziness when taken in large amounts. The caffeine slows regular blood flow to the central nervous system and the brain, which results in motion sickness. In some cases, consumption of this superfood causes convulsions or confusion (x). However, these side effects are rare, unless one consumes the tea in excessive amounts.
Consumption of high amounts of matcha powder tea can prove to be fatal, due to the fact that green tea has antioxidants that decrease the absorption of iron from food. It is more severe in people who are already suffering from anemia (x). To avoid this side effect, individuals should consider adding lemon to their matcha powder tea. Lemon contains vitamin C, which stimulates the absorption of iron. Alternatively, one can take matcha an hour before or after a meal to allow the body to absorb iron without inhibition by tannis.
Caffeine, tannins and tea catechins in organic matcha pose a great risk during pregnancy. Caffeine is transferred to infants via breast milk, which can cause various issues. During pregnancy, caffeine intake should not be more than 200 milligrams in a single day, as it can lead to birth defects and miscarriages (x, x).
When supplementing with organic matcha green tea powder, mix 1/2 tsp into 12 oz of water or milk, or as needed. It’s advisable to refer to a doctor and follow the recommended dose of matcha to prevent any potential health complications. Use a whisk or milk frothier to achieve the desired consistency.
Why Take Matcha?
Matcha is derived from the same plant as any other green tea. However, organic matcha is made from the entire tea leaf, so it preserves large concentrated quantities of its antioxidants and beneficial natural compounds. Numerous health benefits offered by organic matcha have been discussed above, ranging from maintaining better heart health, containing the growth of cancer cells and weight loss properties, among many others. In sum, organic matcha tea is easy to prepare, so you can effortlessly integrate it in your daily diet to ensure that you give your body a burst of extra flavor.
The Bottom Line
Organic matcha is the ultimate nutrient-dense green tea across the planet. This supplement offers numerous nutrition sources to the body if its components are well exploited. Make sure to take the prescribed daily amount of matcha to avoid any of its side effects. Verify that you exercise any precautionary measures required while taking organic matcha tea.