There are many health benefits associated with drinking Matcha tea. Not only does it contain 137 times the amount of antioxidants of green tea, but it is also known to increase energy levels, enhance mood, boost immunity, assist in weight loss, detoxify the body and improve the appearance of the skin. Now, as new research suggests, Matcha tea can also help reduce anxiety. The study, conducted by Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University, has shown that anxious behaviour in mice was reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. It was carried out against the elevated plus maze (EPM) method, a test typically used to observe anxiety in lab animals which consists of a plus-shaped apparatus with two open and two enclosed arms.
Using this behavioural model, a reduction in anxiety is identified by the increased time spent in open spaces, opposed to the mice hiding out in the enclosed arms. In relation to anxiety, the calming effects of Matcha appear to be due to mechanisms that activate dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors. “Although further epidemiological research is necessary, the results of our study show that Matcha, which has been used as a medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial to the human body,” said study leader, Dr. Yuki Kurauchi. “We hope that our research into Matcha can lead to health benefits worldwide.” Like green tea, Matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The difference, however, is how it is grown which ultimately alters the nutritional profile. Matcha is grown under shady conditions (not under direct sunlight) which, in turn, increases chlorophyll production and boost the amino acid content. In addition to this, Matcha is grounded down into a fine powder, which means it contains nutrients from the entire tea leaf resulting in a greater amount of caffeine and antioxidants. Wanting to incorporate Matcha into your diet? Be sure to check out Matcha Maiden and The Healthy Chef who both offer organic Matcha powder which you can use in hot drinks as well as desserts.