After water, tea is said to be the most widely consumed beverage in the world. Green tea itself has been rapidly gaining in popularity in recent years but matcha green tea is now leading the way, since it's been scientifically proven as a superior aid to both your physical and mental health. In terms of nutrient value, just one cup of matcha green tea can be the same as drinking ten cups of regular green tea and it contains dozens more antioxidants. No wonder matcha green tea is thought of as a superhero among teas!
As we now know, matcha green tea is renowned for being beneficial to a person's physical health, with it being shown to help with a wide variety of health conditions and in lowering the risk of certain diseases. However, drinking it can also have some fantastic benefits on your mental health, with scientific studies abound showing it can have a positive effect on your brain, helping you to be more productive and focused, either at work or in your personal life.
While matcha green tea originated in China over a thousand years ago, it was actually after Japanese Zen monks took the tea plants home that they found it was functional for staying alert and tranquil during meditation. To understand the benefits to your brain that this tea provides, we need to look further into the incredible power of nature that it holds inside. We now know that what the Zen monks discovered was due to its organic compounds, partly thanks to an amino acid and partly to a plant phenol...
The rare amino acid l-theanine is mainly found in green tea but also in some other teas, and it is known to increase levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine and improve a person's memory and it interacts with caffeine to elevate your mood and improve both concentration and focus. In 1999, human electroencephalograph (EEG) studies showed l-theanine having a direct effect on the brain, significantly increasing activity in the alpha frequency band, which meant it was relaxing the mind without creating any drowsy side-effects. Plus when it causes an increase in alpha activity, the same brainwave state during meditation is achieved, hence those Zen monks in Japan finding matcha green tea so beneficial.
In addition to this amazing amino acid, we also have the powerful plant phenol called epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG) to thank for matcha green tea's mental health benefits. EGCG is a naturally-occurring bioactive compound that is also known to be helpful to both your physical and mental health. In terms of your brain, this powerful antioxidant is associated with better memory, mood, and other cognitive functions and has been studied with regards the treating of and prevention of mental health issues. The EGCG in green tea works hand-in-hand with l-theanine and caffeine to improve a person's learning, memory, and attention but it also works alone in several ways. Two of the most important ways are in raising the levels of acetylcholine (an organic chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain and deals with memory and learning) and in increasing the brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein (also known as BDNF), which stimulates new brain cell production and helps to protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases.
All this in one uniquely tasting cup of tea!
We've all heard about the influx of superfoods in recent years and it's often difficult to work out which ones are the most beneficial to us. Nevertheless, when it comes to matcha green tea, scientific studies are the proof of the pudding that it really works but let's put that in the context of numbers. There is evidence to prove that antioxidants benefit not just our physical health but also our mental health and Tufts University experts in the US used a particular testing method called oxygen radical absorbance capacity (or ORAC) to compare various superfoods in this way. ORAC works to quantify the total antioxidant capacity of a food and the experts discovered that matcha green tea has an incredible seventeen times more than blueberries or pomegranates! Matcha green tea was found to have 1573 units per gram, compared to goji berries with 253 units per gram, pomegranates 105 units per gram and blueberries 93 units per gram. While not always classed as a superfood, it's interesting to note that spinach contains just 12.6 units per gram. I know which green of the two I'd rather consume, and not just because matcha green tea contains an unbelievable 125 times more antioxidants than spinach!
It isn't just scientific studies in the US that prove the astounding effects that drinking green tea has on your brain. The University of Basel in Switzerland conducted a blind taste experiment where some people drank an ounce of green tea, and others drank an ounce of a whey protein drink that tasted the same. An MRI machine was used to observe the brain functions of the participants when taking part in an activity to test the quality of their short-term memory. The green tea drinkers not only all performed better but they also showed significantly different brain functions on their frontal and parietal lobes. While the frontal lobe is where humans perform most of their advanced thinking, the parietal lobe processes speaking and background information. Drinking green tea was shown to have a significant effect on the abilities of both areas of the brain interacting with each other, in boosting natural thinking speed and providing increased information recall.
As you can see, there are more than just a few brain-boosting benefits to enjoying this incredible drink, so whether you want to improve your mental health, elevate your productivity, relax your mind or heighten your focus, you can achieve any or all of these and more just by looking after yourself with a powerful, natural, chlorophyll-rich detoxifier. Quench your thirst with something that simultaneously does so much good to your mind and body - matcha green tea, a truly wise choice.