Is Matcha Good for You?

Is Matcha Good for You?
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If drinking tea is good for you, what about eating it?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Who cares how much nutrition is extracted from tea leaves, though, if you eat the leaves themselves? We know that drinking tea is good for you; what about eating it? Matcha, powdered green tea; invented in China about a thousand years ago, transplanted to Japan. Whole leaves of tea milled into fine powder; you dump a spoonful in water, and then drink the whole thing down.

Now, it sounds like a good idea. Why waste nutrition throwing away tea leaves when you’re done, when you can drink them whole? Or, were tea leaves just not meant to be eaten? Powdered green tea leaves: harmful, harmless, or helpful?

Super helpful! And easy. Carry around little packets of matcha with you wherever you go, and just dump them in your water bottle. You add zero calories at the same time you’re adding whopping loads of nutrition. I carry them around wherever I go. Never leave home without it.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Who cares how much nutrition is extracted from tea leaves, though, if you eat the leaves themselves? We know that drinking tea is good for you; what about eating it? Matcha, powdered green tea; invented in China about a thousand years ago, transplanted to Japan. Whole leaves of tea milled into fine powder; you dump a spoonful in water, and then drink the whole thing down.

Now, it sounds like a good idea. Why waste nutrition throwing away tea leaves when you’re done, when you can drink them whole? Or, were tea leaves just not meant to be eaten? Powdered green tea leaves: harmful, harmless, or helpful?

Super helpful! And easy. Carry around little packets of matcha with you wherever you go, and just dump them in your water bottle. You add zero calories at the same time you’re adding whopping loads of nutrition. I carry them around wherever I go. Never leave home without it.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

Check out these videos for more on green tea:
Cancer, Interrupted: Green Tea
Better Than Green Tea?
Antimutagenic Activity of Green vs. White Tea
Is Caffeinated Tea Dehydrating?

And check out my other videos on tea

For more context, see my related blog posts: Hibiscus tea: flower powerIs Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating? and Soy milk: shake it up!

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

53 responses to “Is Matcha Good for You?

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    1. Which green tea powder do you recommend? Is adding this to my morning berry smoothy as effective as dumping it in water abd drinking it?

  1. Is there any significant danger from the pesticides that the Chinese seem to lavish on their agricultural products in such great quantity when we eat green tea leaves?

  2. Dear Dr. Greger
    I would also be interested in knowing whether non-organic matcha (from Japan, or anywhere else) has dangerous herbicides that would outweigh the beneficial effects.
    Thank you,
    WIlliam

    1. Hello Paul and tokyovegan!
      To answer your questions, typically, phytochemical dense foods outweigh the pesticides they are sprayed with. For example, would you rather choose non organic kale over white pasta? Hope you chose the kale! If you consume matcha every day or so, the safest choice would be to get organic. Otherwise, once in a while of conventional matcha will not detriment your health. Hope this answers you questions!

  3. Hello,
    Dr. Michael Greger its an honor and privilege to be a serious student of your 2009 and 2010 “Latest In Clinical Nutrition”… I’m serious about my health. You had mentioned in one of your dvds that Matcha Green Tea is a highly recommend tea. What location, website etc., may I purchase Matcha Green Tea?? I could not
    find any store that carries the matcha green tea in packets that I can mix in a 16-20oz bottle of water. Especially at an affordable price. What do you suggest/recommend I do now? I need your help. Thank you for time and make it a grrreat 2012! I look forward to getting your response.

    regards,

    Luke Webb

  4. If matcha tea is that good, would it make any sense to ground your own green tea? Or blend it? I often let my tea brew in cold water, and throw away the green leaves, would it be preferable to just put everything in the blender instead, leaves and all?

    1. The reason matcha tea is so good is that you are eating the tea leaves! The tea leaves are your green leefies so it would be best to keep them.

      1. Thank you for your reply, but I don’t see how my question was addressed by your post. I might just be tired.

        So, basically matcha tea is grinded green tea. Would it then be (to use the words of Doc himself) helpful, harmless or harmful to just put some green leaves in my blender together with water instead of just letting it soak in the water? I drink it cold, by the way.

        Sorry for my

        1. Im sorry, I misunderstood your original question!

          Well sure, grinding up your own tea leaves is what matcha is! It would be better then soaking it and throwing away the leaves.

        1. no one in india consumes the powder the powder is used as a hair mask or skin mask etc (topical) that’s why it’s hard to find it…amla is consumed in its entirety the actual fruit is either pickled or cooked with or eaten raw (it has the most unique flavor sour and then incredibly sweet after taste a unique experience!)! try looking for the fruit at the store…in bigger stores you’ll find them in the frozen section (swad is a common brand). also always ask the grocer for it they can get you some fresh amla…n def do not consume the oil! it’s a hair potion so mixed with other herbal oils and such not to be consumed!

  5. Dear Dr. Greger,
    Thank you for your dedication to spreading such valuable news about nutrition and health! I’ve always loved matcha tea. Since the Tohoko tragedy in Japan, do you know if Japanese matcha is still safe to consume due to radiation?

  6. Dr. Greger,

    I would also like to know about the radioactivity? I have been hesitant to buy matcha green tea from Japan because of this. Surely it cannot be good.

  7. Michael, do you drink plain water by itself anymore? Or do you just make cold matcha tea or the hibiscus tea as your regular beverages? Is there any benefit to drinking plain water? Or should you always mix it with either green tea or the hibiscus tea? Or perhaps cucumber water? I would appreciate a response.

  8. What about the caffeine in Matcha? And what about Sencha? I’ve read some web sites stating that Sencha has less caffeine. I would love to see a comparison among different types of teas, Sencha, Matcha, etc. in terms of caffeine and phytonutrients.

  9. Does the drink have to be matcha, or “green” tea?

    Why couldn’t one do this with any tea leaves? Is it just green tea, or matcha, or whatever. Assuming it is really tea, why not just break open the tea bag and let the tea mix with the water and eat it/drink it? I’m assuming tea the planet, not tea the generic idea of infusing plant extracts into water?

  10. There are great little packets of organic matcha and sencha (cheaper and not as brilliant in color, but still tastes great to me) made by Rishi. I carry them in my purse or backpack and add one to a bottle of cold water any time I need a healthy, thirst-quenching, and refreshing drink. Best price I have found is at iherb.com, and new customers can get $10 off a $40 order + free shipping with code POD782

  11. Thanks for you wonderful info Dr. Greger. Something very important I haven’t been able to find out elsewhere: how much steviol is created in our colon from green stevia rather than the refined stuff. I wonder also what is the proportion of steviol creation to /stevioside intake in general? Thanks again!.

  12. I like matcha tea but have found one I like even better: sencha. Japanese sencha is another powdered green tea that I think has a milder taste than matcha. I buy both the sencha and powdered Japanese genmaicha (which is green tea with toasted brown rice) in my local grocery stores, and the brand is “Sei Mee Tea.” They have both caffeinated and water-method decafeinated. They also offer some flavored versions, including a sencha with tropical mango.

  13. So a friend gave me some matcha recently. I had never had any before, knew nothing of it.

    I just looked it up, made some, and was sitting here for it to cool a bit. NOW that I know more about it, I’m happy to drink it.

    And realized immediately upon tasting (I had some suspicions), that it’s the ESPRESSO version of green tea!

  14. Hi I’m 24 years old and I’ve struggled with trying to be healthy and loose weight. one of my biggest things is my low energy. I’m constantly trying to find a way to boost my energy so I can get things done around the house. But the thing is coffee and some caffeine can give me anxiety and make me parinoid do you think matcha tea would be a good replacement for me ?

    1. Hi there! A diet rich in whole, plant-based foods should help improve your energy levels. You can find some meal ideas here: Free Meal Plan with Dr. Greger-Approved Recipes
      You should notice improvement when following this type of balanced meal plan. I would also recommend adequate hydration with water, daily walking, plenty of sleep (at least 7-8 hours per night), and also making sure you’re managing your stress. All of these positive lifestyle changes can help boost your energy and cam also help promote weight loss. Hope this helps!

  15. Matcha is one the only teas i add in most of the recipes, so refreshing and energizing <3 Goes well in coconut icecreams, lattes, smoothies. I think it also makes a difference on the quality of the brand you get.

  16. For those planning on using matcha tea, please be aware that you will get *much* higher amounts of caffeine that way than you would from ordinary green tea. That is partly because the caffeine content of matcha tea is higher, due to it being grown in the shade and partly due to consuming the whole leaves. Thus consuming the whole leaves of regular green tea would also give you more caffeine than the tea alone, but not as much as matcha tea. You can look this up by googling caffeine content of varieties of tea.

    Although I appreciate Dr Greger’s videos, his advice is sometimes off because he goes by studies that examine individual properties of certain foods without looking at the overall effect of these foods. Sometimes the apparently good qualities in a certain substance are outweighed by the harmful qualities in the same substance. Furthermore the “good” may be obtained from other foods that do not have the negative qualities of the other source of nutrients.

    After all, an argument can be made for the good qualities of tobacco, though I doubt anyone bothers any more …

  17. I was reading that Matcha is very high in LEAD. Will this be bad for those who drink Matcha? Also is Caffeine really good for you?

    1. I avoid Match tea because it is exceptionally high in cafeeine, being grown in shade specifically for that purpose. By contrast, green sencha tea is grown in sunlight and is relatively low in caffeeine. Anything grown in sunshine is bound to be better for you than the same plant grown in shade.
      ;)

  18. I have seen your video about milk/soy milk reducing the impact of green tea. Does the same hold for other plant milks? And is matcha any different from steeped tea in this regard?

    1. Asgedur:
      I went to the sources listed in the NF video and then beyond that to try to answer your question. While I could find no specific study that compared different nut milk’s effects on green tea, I did find this study which I believe is relevant;

      http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf010855a
      Interactions between Flavonoids and Proteins:  Effect on the Total Antioxidant Capacity

      The summary points out that tea flavonoids are potent antioxidants and that flavonoids bind to proteins, so that proteins could mask the antioxidant The effect of the interaction between tea flavonoids and proteins weakened the antioxidant capacity. Considering that nut milks would contain proteins, it would seem they might have the same effect, perhaps not as great(?) as diary or soy milks.
      I’m afraid that’s the best answer I can provide at this time. Hope that helps you even if it means giving up all milk in your tea.

  19. Hello! I remember Dr. Greger mentioning somewhere how he used to put green tea leaves in his smoothies but he stopped because of the toxins that are in the whole leaves. Drinking green tea is okay though since the toxins don’t leach into the water. (did he mention this on that 2 hour interview on London Real?) Anyway, my sister up in California is drinking Matcha, which is green tea powder, and all I could find was this video from 2010.

  20. Hi Doctor Greger, I used to drink Matcha tea on a daily basis, but then I heard too much Match tea or any green tea for that matter, is bad for your liver, is this true?

  21. Hi I’m a moderator with nutritionfacts.org. Thanks for your great question. I’m not sure where you heard this, but you always want to look at the peer reviewed research. Dr. Greger hasn’t posted anything on this specifically. He recommends if you are looking for info on a topic he hasn’t addressed yet to go to pubmed.gov. I took a quick look at the research available there and it looks like most of the studies showed green tea had benefits to the liver. This was the only one I saw citing possible harm:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25975988
    It doesn’t sound like it was a very strong association. And some of the issue might have been with green tea supplements which have other ingredients. Dr. Greger recommends greet tea from Japan rather China due to possible lead contamination. Most of the studies on green tea have been favorable. The Asian countries that drink a lot of green tea do not have high liver disease rates.

    NurseKelly
    Moderator

  22. I apologize if this is the wrong place to post, but can you tell me if Dr. Gregor thinks matcha from Japan would not be contaminated from radiation. I know he said Japan over China due to lead, but is this risky?

    1. Hi Valerie- There is a large database recording findings of radioactive compounds in foods including green tea since Fukushima. Green tea samples have been found to be contaminated in several cases, both near and farther away from the reactor. The levels were lower than reportedly harmful. In situations like this, ask yourself if you feel reassured by the lower levels or if you feel it’s best to avoid given any risk of radioactive contamination. I am personally on the side of “avoid foods unless proven healthy,” as opposed to others who reasonably feel, “ok to include if not proven immediately harmful.” I hope that helps!

      Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  23. MAY 15TH, 2018 AT 1:54 PM
    I apologize if this is the wrong place to post, but can you tell me if Dr. Gregor thinks matcha from Japan would not be contaminated from radiation. I know he said Japan over China due to lead, but is this risky?

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