Matcha tea (specialized form of green tea) has become increasingly popular, due to its numerous health benefits. It contains strong antioxidants, such as theanine, catechins and caffeine, and it is assumed that it can be used as brain (mood) food. Besides boosting memory, matcha tea has the ability to induce calmness, aid weight reduction, improve lipid status and help in detoxification.
Mood and brain
A recent randomized placebo controlled study investigated impact of matcha tea, in two formats (as drink or snack bar) on mood and cognitive performance. It included 23 participants which received 4 different test products (matcha tea, matcha bar, placebo drink, and placebo bar) at 4 separate occasions. The participants performed tests of cognitive functions before and 60 min upon test product consumption. In comparison with the placebo products, matcha tea products significantly improved attention abilities as well as psychomotor speed in response to stimulant.1
A recent review question the impact of phytochemicals present in matcha tea on cognition and mood. It included 49 human intervention studies investigating acute effects of three chemicals found in matcha tea: L-theanine, caffeine and epicallocatechin gallate (EGCG) on mood and cognitive performance. This review concluded that matcha tea ingredients, especially theanine and caffeine might improve performance and alertness, as well as induce relaxation and calmness. These compounds also showed benefits on attention and memory performances.2
- Dietz C, Dekker M, Piqueras-Fiszman B. An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance. Food Res Int. 2017;99(Pt 1):72-83.
- Dietz C, Dekker M. Effect of Green Tea Phytochemicals on Mood and Cognition. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(19):2876-2905.
It is believed that matcha tea can promote fat oxidation and, thus, weight loss during exercise. One recent placebo controlled, cross-over study investigated effects of matcha tea drinks on fat oxidation during brisk walking in females. 13 females were included and instructed to consume matcha tea or control drink (at two separate occasions) before performing 30 min brisk walk. matcha tea consumption significantly improved fat oxidation (in comparison with the placebo) during the walk. This study clearly indicated that matcha tea can be used for enhacement of exercise-induced fat oxidation and weight loss.1
- Willems MET, Şahin MA, Cook MD. Matcha Green Tea Drinks Enhance Fat Oxidation During Brisk Walking in Females. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018:1-21.