Many of us can fall into the trap of stress eating. But what if cookies really could reduce stress? Researchers in Japan found that to be the case. Especially with cookies using matcha green tea powder.
Matcha green tea powder – made from the young, fresh leaves of green tea that has been cultivated under shade for about three weeks before harvest – is increasingly popular. While the catechin content in matcha is lower than standard green tea, its caffeine and theanine content is more concentrated.
Theanine is an amino acid in green tea that gives people a sense of calm focus without causing drowsiness. Coupled with the right ratio of caffeine (too much negates the effect of the theanine), matcha powder may be the exact ingredient you need if you deal with stress or anxiety.
In one clinical study, cookies containing matcha green tea were served up to college students whose stress markers (including alpha amylase) were recorded for two weeks.
It turned out that the cookies seemed to do the trick. In that short amount of time, the student’s stress levels went down, and so did the markers that indicate them. The researchers noted that the right ratio of theanine, caffeine, and catechins was crucial to the stress-lowering effect. But, they also noted that it was a good solution for those who ordinarily wouldn’t drink green tea.
Unno K, Furushima D, Hamamoto S, et al. Stress-reducing effect of cookies containing matcha green tea: essential ratio among theanine, arginine, caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate. Heliyon. 2019;5(5):e01653. Published 2019 May 7. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01653
The stress-reducing effect of matcha, a high-quality fine-powdered green tea, has recently been clarified by animal experiments and clinical trials. However, the effect of matcha added to confectioneries is not clear. One aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between matcha components and their stress-reducing effect in mice that were loaded with territorially-based stress. Adrenal hypertrophy, a marker of stress, was significantly suppressed in stress-loaded mice that had ingested matcha components, displaying a caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate to theanine and arginine (CE/TA) ratio of 2 or less. Another aim was to evaluate, in humans, the stress-reducing effect of matcha in cookies using test-matcha (CE/TA = 1.79) or placebo-matcha (CE/TA = 10.64). Participants, who were fifth year pharmacy college students, consumed 4.5 g of matcha in three pieces of cookie daily for 15 days. Salivary α-amylase activity, a stress marker, was significantly lower in the test-matcha group than in the placebo group. These results indicate that the CE/TA ratio of tea components is a key indicator for the suppression of stress. Moreover, matcha with a CE/TA ratio of 2 or less displays a stress-reducing effect, even if it is included in confectionery products. Such products may also benefit individuals who have no habit of drinking matcha as a beverage.
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