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The Benefits of Supplementing with Matcha Tea

Supplements have become synonymous with the gym lifestyle. Elite athletes, top level bodybuilders, and weekend warriors alike all take a variety of supplements to boost their health and training results.

And when you think about these supplements, what comes to mind?  Protein, creatine, multi-vitamins, and pre-workouts, right?

AKA the big ones.

Well, you might want to add matcha green tea powder to that list -- and here's why.

What is Matcha Tea Powder?

Matcha tea is a specific type of green tea.

Where it differentiates itself from normal green tea is in both its production and consumption. Rather than coming in whole leaf form, matcha tea is made by taking young green tea leaves and grinding them up into a power.

You then add this powder to water, and drink it.

Simple.

I should also note that the tea leaves used to make matcha powder are grown differently to traditional tea leaves. Rather than being exposed to sunlight right up until picking time, they are completely covered by a shade about a month beforehand.

While this may sound like a strange thing to do, it is actually quite important.

When tea plants get limited exposure to sunlight, they naturally increase their chlorophyll production. This in turn increases the amino acid content of the plant -- boosting the health and performance benefits associated with its consumption.

Matcha Tea Powder Benefits?

Like green tea, matcha tea powder has a myriad of positive effects on the human body. While many of these effects are somewhat similar to green tea, they are arguably more pronounced as those key beneficial compounds are found in higher doses in matcha tea.

So, what are the benefits of matcha tea powder?

1.    Matcha Tea Powder Boosts Energy

There is some compelling research demonstrating that supplementing with matcha tea can enhance mood, boost cognitive function, and increase energy [1].

And there is a very good reason for this.

Firstly, matcha tea contains caffeine. While it may not contain as much as coffee, it does provide enough to cause an increase in attention, focus, and mental clarity -- all of which create a notable “energy boosting” sensation.

Secondly, it also contains an amino acid known as l-theanine. Like caffeine, this unique compound has been shown to increase sensations of mood and mental acuity. However, it concurrently mitigates the hyperactive “jittery” effects that come with caffeine.

This means more energy, with no negative effects -- which can lead to much more productive workouts.

2.    Matcha Tea Powder Aids Fat Loss

I am generally skeptical of fat burning supplements. Although they promise the world, take a quick look at the back of their packaging and you will quickly realise that most of their ingredients have no research to support them at all.

However, this is not the case for ALL of their ingredients -- especially when it comes to green tea extract (which is arguably the most common fat burning ingredient on the planet) [2].

And the same can be said for matcha tea powder.

As I stated above, matcha tea contains caffeine, which causes an immediate increase in energy expenditure after consumption. Moreover, it also contains a number of potent antioxidants that have been shown to promote fat metabolism -- which describes the process of breaking down fat for energy.

With this in mind, matcha tea not only helps you burn more energy, but also makes sure that more of that energy is derived from fat. When combined with an appropriate diet, matcha tea can be the perfect compliment to a cutting phase.

3.    Matcha Tea Powder Enhances Mental Health

In addition to the benefits that l-theanine has on mental performance, it has also been shown to have a significant impact on mental health.

A recent study demonstrated that supplementing with l-theanine over a four week period can cause marked improvements in emotional wellbeing, in conjunction with reductions in stress, and symptoms of depression and anxiety  [3]

This provides some strong evidence to support the use of matcha tea powder to enhance your mental and emotional wellbeing.

4.    Matcha Tea Powder Could Help You Live Longer

A vast number of the antioxidant compounds found in green tea leaves are known to help regular blood sugar and improve cardiovascular health -- which is why it is often recommended for the prevention of heart disease and diabetes.

And this appears to carry over to life expectancy [4].

While the research is only observational in nature, it has been shown that people who consume a greater amount of green tea products live longer than those who do not consume any at all.

Although this won't get you jacked, it could keep you in the gym for longer -- which is pretty cool if you ask me.

5.    Matcha Tea Powder Improves Exercise Performance

Last but not least, we have the big one -- exercise performance.

Early in this article I discussed the fact that many of the polyphenols found in green tea leaves increase fat metabolism. And although i predominantly spoke about this from a body composition perspective, it may also influence your performance.

See, when it comes to lower intensity endurance performance, fat is your main source of energy. This means that by increasing your access to fat, matcha tea has the capacity to improve your endurance [5, 6].

While this has obvious benefits for those of you who have endurance related goals, it may also allow you to compete more work (AKA sets and reps) in the gym. Over time, this could contribute to increased muscle growth.

Furthermore, because matcha tea powder contains caffeine, it will improve your strength and power acutely. This means more reps performed per set, or more weight on the bar [7] -- which again, could promote extra strength and growth over the duration of a training block.

Does Matcha Tea Powder Have any Side Effects?

As far as supplements go, matcha tea powder is incredibly safe.

However, there are a couple of things that do need to be considered.

While many of the natural compounds found within the tea leaves appear to be well tolerated in even the highest of doses, matcha tea does contain caffeine. As such, it's over consumption may lead to headaches, jitteriness, and irritability.

Although, this is only going to occur if you consume a lot.

Secondly, some matcha tea powders contain fluoride and lead. These compounds are absorbed through the soil by the plant. Obviously the consumption of these can lead to some nasty health implications -- which is a concern.

As a result, you need to pay close attention to where your matcha powder is sourced. As with most things, some matcha tea powder is much better quality than others, and you can assume those that are better are going to contain less (or none) of these nasty compounds.

Final Message

Matcha tea powder is derived from dried green tea leaves. As a result, it contains an abundance of compounds that have been shown to improve mental and cardiovascular health, blood sugar management, and even longevity.

Moreover, it has also been shown to promote fat metabolism and boost exercise performance -- suggesting that it may be a very useful supplement for weekend warriors and athletes alike.

Just make sure that when you are choosing your matcha tea powder, you get it from a reputable source (like Amino Z, for example…)

References

  1. Dietz, Christina, Matthijs Dekker, and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman. "An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance." Food research international 99 (2017): 72-83.
  2. Venables, Michelle C., et al. "Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans." The American journal of clinical nutrition 87.3 (2008): 778-784.
  3. Hidese, Shinsuke, et al. "Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Nutrients 11.10 (2019): 2362.
  4. Zhao, Long-Gang, et al. "Green tea consumption and cause-specific mortality: Results from two prospective cohort studies in China." Journal of epidemiology 27.1 (2017): 36-41.
  5. Richards, Jennifer C., et al. "Epigallocatechin-3-gallate increases maximal oxygen uptake in adult humans." Medicine and science in sports and exercise 42.4 (2010): 739.
  6. Willems, Mark Elisabeth Theodorus, Mehmet Akif ?ahin, and Matthew David Cook. "Matcha green tea drinks enhance fat oxidation during brisk walking in females." International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 28.5 (2018): 536-541.
  7. Grgic, Jozo, et al. "The influence of caffeine supplementation on resistance exercise: A review." Sports Medicine 49.1 (2019): 17-30.

 

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