Green tea is widely marketed for its health benefits, especially for its potential role in weight loss. However, are these claimed health benefits backed up by strong scientific evidence? What are the important things you need to know about green tea?
Regular green tea and matcha both come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to China. Green tea is produced from the green leaves before any oxidation has occurred. Being un-oxidized means it is less processed and contains more antioxidants than other kinds of tea. The most promising health benefits of tea are related to heart disease. Green tea contains catechin, a type of antioxidant, which could prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduce blood clotting. Compared with black tea, green tea contains 3.5 times as many catechins.
While there is some evidence in animals that green tea reduces cancer, there is limited data in humans. Green tea has been associated with weight loss and fat loss. However, some studies on green tea don’t show any increase in metabolism, so the effects may depend on the individual and how the study was set up. So green tea is not a magic bullet for weight loss. For healthy weight management, individuals should consult dietitians and other health professionals.
Matcha is a type of green tea that is widely consumed in Japan. Unlike other types of green tea, matcha leaves are consumed as part of the drink instead of being infused in hot water, which means its antioxidant content is higher. The antioxidant levels could also be influenced by the brewing method, brewing time, and tea quality. The antioxidant levels in brewed tea are much less than those in dry tea leaves. One cup (237 ml) of standard matcha, made from 4 teaspoons of powder, generally packs about 280 mg of caffeine. This is significantly higher than a cup (237 ml) of regular green tea, which provides 35 mg of caffeine. Health Canada states that the main concern of green tea/matcha is its caffeine content. Adolescents 13 and older should not be having more than 2.5mg/kg of body weight, and children younger than 12 should only be having lower than 45-85 mg per day.