Matcha tea this effect it has on health

Matcha tea: This effect it has on health

Fact or fallacy Is matcha tea really that healthy??

It is supposed to prevent cancer, help with weight loss, and be a real pick-me-up: More and more people swear by matcha, a drink made from crushed tea leaves. Does it deliver what it promises?

At first glance, matcha looks pretty ordinary: Bright green, almost neon shimmers the tea powder, which can be bought in health food stores and well-stocked supermarkets. Responsible for this is the natural pigment chlorophyll, which is also contained in the leaves of green tea. And this is exactly what matcha is: finely ground powder of the green tea plant tencha.

In Germany, the green powder is becoming increasingly popular: Matcha fans usually whisk it with soy or cow's milk, which makes the tea milder and slightly creamy. In Japan, where the drink originated, people would probably just turn up their noses at this concoction. There, matcha is drunk in the traditional way: the powder is stirred smooth with a sip of water, poured with hot water and whisked with a bamboo whisk, the chasen, until frothy. Prepared in this way, the tea tastes tart-bitter with a sweetish note.

However, the special taste alone is probably not responsible for the popularity of matcha. The green powder is also attributed numerous health effects: Matcha is said to have a stimulating effect, help with weight loss and even protect against Alzheimer's disease. Pretty big promises. What's in it? And is Matcha tea even healthier than traditional teas?

The resolution: Matcha – how healthy is the tea really?

Nutrition expert Benno Zimmermann, who works at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science in Bonn, has been observing the matcha trend for some time – and puts it into perspective: "As far as the ingredients are concerned, there is not much difference between matcha and conventional green tea. The differences are only gradual." Although the whole leaf is consumed with Matcha and thus also some ingredients that would remain in the leaf with normal tea, such as fat-soluble vitamins, the caffeine is not absorbed by the tea. However, it is questionable whether this actually results in additional health benefits. Because: "In Germany, there is practically no shortage of these vitamins."

Simply vegan Matcha. A visit to the tea expert

On the other hand, the stimulating effect of the tea is proven: Matcha contains caffeine, which used to be called teein. However, one has come away from this. The substance promotes concentration. Stimulates the circulation. "In contrast to coffee, the caffeine is present in a bound form, so that it develops its stimulating effect more slowly than when coffee is consumed," says the expert, says Monika Beutgen, managing director of the German Tea Association. The amount of caffeine in a cup of tea varies, however, because it is a natural product. The expert estimates that a cup of tea contains about 60 milligrams – which is about as much as an espresso.

"Compared to coffee, the caffeine is absorbed more slowly and has a longer effect", confirms Benno Zimmermann. However, this is not an ingredient that is contained specifically in matcha tea: other types of tea, such as black tea, also contain the active ingredient, she says.

And what about the claim that matcha protects against diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer?

In fact, green tea, and thus also matcha, contains an ingredient to which numerous positive properties are attributed: the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. In laboratory tests, EGCG dissolved a certain protein that Alzheimer's patients accumulate in their brains. In addition, there are indications that EGCG can positively intervene in the cancer process, such as in colorectal cancer. The antioxidant leads to so-called apoptosis – the programmed cell death of tumor cells. However, this effect has so far only been shown in the test tube – so it is questionable whether it can be transferred to humans at all. In any case, cancer patients should consult their doctor if they want to drink green tea in addition to their therapy. This is how possible interactions can be ruled out.

Thomas Seufferlein, Director of the Department of Internal Medicine at Ulm University Hospital, is currently researching the question of whether green tea may also prevent cancer: "Smaller studies suggest that green tea may have a cancer-preventive effect, for example in liver, prostate or breast cancer.", says the expert. "However, these are mostly observational studies, a clear relationship can not be derived from them." The available data are interesting, according to Seufferlein, but they are not yet sufficient to make a recommendation for green tea: "At the moment, we cannot say whether green tea can or perhaps should be used to prevent cancer. For the clarification of this question numerous studies take place at present however."

Benno Zimmermann also warns against too great expectations in view of the early state of research: "There is a great deal of evidence of health benefits for EGCG – starting with obesity and extending to Alzheimer's and cancer. It must be emphasized, however, that these are only indications. Evidence for an effect or even concrete therapies do not exist."

It is also unclear whether green tea actually helps with weight loss. "It could be that polyphenols play a role in this.", explains Zimmermann. "But here too: There could be a connection, but we do not yet know for sure." The expert advises therefore to a rational handling of the topic: "Who has a problem with predominance, can drink tea, that does not harm surely. However, there are more effective ways to lose weight, such as a change in diet."

Conclusion on Matcha

Matcha tea tastes good, makes you awake and increases your performance. But this also applies to conventional green tea. Whether and how matcha tea can prevent disease is unclear. Although there are indications of possible health effects – but no evidence.

It is certain that Matcha tea in usual quantities does not cause any harm. However, if you drink plenty of it, you absorb large amounts of caffeine throughout the day. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is safe; pregnant women and especially children should consume even less. This amount is equivalent, at a rough estimate, to just under seven cups of the green tea. However, the caffeine content of the individual Matcha teas varies considerably, which is why it is difficult to draw an exact upper limit.

Who buys Matcha tea in organic quality is usually also protected from possible pesticides. Due to its fine texture, matcha tea quickly loses its flavor. Therefore: After opening store airtight and consume quickly.

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