Your Brain on Matcha

“Tea is calming,

But alerting at the same time.”

Andrew Scholey

Matcha is best known for its ability to help you relax and unwind after a stressful day. We’ve even covered the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, and its humbling, meditative practices. Even outside the formal setting, brewing matcha is a process that requires focus and preparation. After all, studies have shown that the process of brewing tea increases the relaxation brought on by drinking it! But while matcha excels with maintaining spiritual health and wellness, it’s also been shown to be good for your mental health and brain function! And while drinking matcha is by no means a cure for any condition, it does show signs that it can improve one’s mood and mental state. 

Because the effects may differ for everyone, we recommend anyone who is experiencing signs of mental illness or cognitive impairment to seek treatment and guidance from a trained professional. And if you feel you might need treatment, know you’re not alone! One in four people in the world will experience mental or neurological disorders in their lifetime, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help. If you do need to speak to someone about your mental health, that’s okay! Beneath this article, we’ll list some resources that may be helpful. 

EGCG Whiz! 

Hey, there’s a reason why matcha is used in meditation! Drinking matcha helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol thanks to an antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate — we know it as EGCG. EGCG makes up about 42% of the dry weight of green tea, and helps you feel calm and more alert. One study in Singapore showed those who drank even one cup of tea per week performed better at memory and information-processing tasks than non-drinkers. And if you’re wondering how coffee did, prepare to be disappointed: it didn’t help at all. 

And that’s not just anecdotal. That’s right, they looked at some brains, baby! In one study, scientists used a very fancy brain scanning tool that is difficult to pronounce (electroencephalography) to prove that EGCG contributed to a relaxed state of mind. Another study showed that EGCG can improve the health of blood vessels in the brain for a greater supply of nitric oxide. Together, these two processes add up to improve cognitive function and immune response.  Healthy brains and healthy bodies! 

Well, Well, Wel(L-theanine)

Sure, EGCG does a lot of the heavy-lifting! But matcha does have a few stress-reducing benefits thanks to our old friend, the amino acid L-theanine. Studies have linked drinking three grams of matcha mixed into 500mL of water led to decreased anxiety levels (remember that formula!). Thanks to the combination of L-theanine and caffeine, not only did anxiety levels decrease among matcha drinkers, but continued to decrease steadily over time. That means the longer you drink matcha, the longer you can feel free to relax! 

And just like with EGCG, there’s brain stuff! L-theanine passes through a filter called the blood-brain barrier which carries blood to the brain and spinal cord. This process can benefit brain plasticity. If I lost you with all that, I don’t blame you! That was a lot of technical stuff that even I don’t understand! Basically, what it means is that L-theanine makes it easier to change and adapt to new experiences. That’s what makes matcha so helpful with memory and brain function! 

It’s Good Mood Brewed! 

We all have bad days! You hit that midday slump, so you turn to the clock, but there’s still a few hours of work left, and you’re just waiting for someone to tell you to take the rest of the day off. Well, for the days when that doesn’t happen, there’s matcha! Luckily, L-theanine and caffeine are not just good for de-stressing, they’re also great for improving your mood! One study in Korea showed that those who drank green tea were 21% less likely to develop depression over the course of their lifetime compared to those who didn’t. Of course, green tea of any kind is not considered a treatment for depression, but drinking it definitely has its benefits! 

Green tea is also not considered a replacement for exercise. But that same study showed that in terms of its mood-boosting abilities, regular green tea consumption has a similar effect to two and a half hours of exercise per week! So for uplifting hydration after a workout, consider brewing up some matcha! 

“Why not have a nice cup of tea? 

It’s easier than running three times a week!”

Stefan Borgward

The More, The Merrier!

That’s right! The more you drink, the better you may feel! Green tea has been shown to reduce psychological distress among those who drank it in higher amounts per day. In this instance, participants who drank at least one cup of green tea per day experienced less psychological stress than those who drank none. In fact, the more cups someone drank, the less stress they felt! 

Less than One32%
One to Two29%
Three to Four21%
Five or More17%
Cups of Green Tea Drunk Per Day vs. % of People Who Continued to Experience Psychological Stress

More than Yum! 

If only there were a beverage that had the brain benefits of EGCG and the mood benefits of L-theanine in a convenient package perfect to mix into 500mL of water…

Oh wait! There is! 

Yum Matcha™

These transitions just keep getting better, don’t they?

Remember that study that had participants mixing matcha into 500mL of water? I told you it would come up again! 

Yes, it’s true. Yum Matcha™ comes in the perfect serving size for any bottle of water you can find! That means you don’t have to wait until you get home to unwind or boost your mood. All of the great brain benefits we talked about are available on-the-go with our portable packets. And with five fantastic flavors including Citron Lemongrass and Mint Mojito, there’s even more you can smile about when drinking it!

Spice It Up!

Not only do we have lemon and lime flavors of Yum Matcha™, but we recommend adding a little to whatever flavor you try! And it’s not just for the flavor boost — there’s a health boost to be had! 

For all the benefits that EGCG has, it’s possible to extract even more! Adding a little citrus juice or vitamin C to your matcha can enhance your body’s absorption of EGCG by up to 75%. Reportedly, the juices and vitamins protect the catechins from any oxidative damage brought on by digestion. 

And it’s not just citrus! Adding milk to your matcha can improve the antioxidant properties by up to 50%. And if you’re non-dairy, great news! Soy and rice milk are even better — up to 69% improved antioxidant power! 

Don’t be afraid to make your matcha your way. After all, what’s going to make you feel the best is the one that you think tastes the best! As long as it tastes good and makes you feel good, then the matcha is doing its job, and you’ll get to enjoy it again and again!

For Assistance With Mental Healthcare or Cognitive Therapy

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml

https://www.psychologytools.com/downloads/cbt-worksheets-and-therapy-resources/

Remember, help is never far away!

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