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The health benefits of matcha tea

Matcha tea has received a lot of health buzz over the years and for a good reason – this powdered variety of green tea is packed with nutrition benefits. Since it is highly concentrated, it may have three times the antioxidant power of regular green tea, says Shayna Komar, RD, LD, a licensed and registered dietitian at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont.

According to Komar, studies have found that matcha:

Matcha has a different flavor than traditional green tea because it is made from tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder. Traditional green tea is made from tea leaves, veins and stems.

“Due to the high chlorophyll and amino acid content, matcha is aromatic and has a unique vegetal taste and a lingering sweet aftertaste,” says Komar.

How to add matcha tea to your diet

Matcha tea is more versatile than you think. In addition to enjoying a cup of matcha tea or a matcha latte, Komar suggests:

  • Adding it to boiling water when cooking oatmeal, pasta, grains or soups

  • Adding it to smoothies

  • Stirring the powder into muffin mix before baking

“You don’t really taste it too much once you add it to these foods,” she says.

Matcha tea and lead contamination

Some research suggests that lead contamination is a concern with matcha. To decrease your risk, Komar says, “Be a label detective and buy your matcha green tea from Japan, not China.”

Can you drink too much matcha?

“I caution people about consuming too much caffeine,” she says. “Even the decaf varieties contain some natural caffeine that affects people. Because matcha is made from crushed whole tea leaves, the caffeine content is somewhat higher than that of bagged tea.”

Matcha contains about 70 milligrams of caffeine per cup, while coffee contains 100 to 120 milligrams per cup.

“Remember, caffeine tends to be addictive and drinking too much of it can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you ever stop drinking it,” she says. “I suggest sticking to one or two cups of matcha green tea per day.”

Check out additional nutrition tips from Living Better experts.