Remember when avocado toast became a thing and now it’s part of that exotic breakfast that you have to order once in a while? Well, matcha has done the same over the years, thanks to social media and the array of influencers who’ve spoken at length about its benefits.
Matcha is so popular today that you’ll find it in nearly everything: from matcha lattes, shots, teas and even desserts. There’s also matcha breakfasts and even ice cream, and the latter is surprisingly quite nice too.
But what exactly is matcha?
For those of you who are not aware, it’s a type of green tea prepared by grinding tea leaves into a bright and green powder. You have to whisk it in water to create an earthy-tasting drink.
Matcha differs from your regular tea, wherein, the leaves have been infused in water before being removed. While social media influencers and brands will go and on the matcha’s benefits and uses, is matcha during pregnancy really safe?
With this article, we answer all your concerns about having matcha during pregnancy.
Matcha During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?
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Even though matcha has been there for centuries, its popularity only picked up recently in the West due to the numerous health benefits.
Matcha contains caffeine but it’s not nearly as much as you’ll find in a cup of coffee. A cup of matcha tea usually contains 25 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, a Starbucks Matcha Latte has 80 mg of caffeine. In comparison, an average-sized cup of coffee will have 70-140 mg of caffeine, depending on the brewing method.
So yes, if consumed in moderation, matcha is safe to drink during pregnancy.
How much caffeine should pregnant women consume?
Pregnant women should keep their daily caffeine consumption below 200 mg per day, which means it should not be more than than 1-2 cups (140-580 ml) of coffee per day.
Now, you may wonder that since matcha has a lower caffeine concentration, you can drink more than 4-8 cups per day to reach your daily quota of caffeine. However, we would advise against doing that until you speak to your healthcare professional about it.
Consuming large amounts of caffeine during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. So it’s best that you limit your intake of caffeine during these 40 weeks.
Is Matcha Consumption Safe For Breastfeeding Mums?
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Matcha green tea is not only a safe caffeine alternative for pregnant women but also great for breastfeeding mums. Do note, nursing mums shouldn’t consume more than 300 mg of coffee per day anyway.
Also, keep an eye on your baby’s body dynamics. For instance, if you notice changes in your baby’s sleep cycle, then reduce your matcha intake for a while to see if it actually makes any difference.
The variety of health benefits have been motivating enough for mums to incorporate the tea into their diet, especially during pregnancy and postpartum.
5 Health Benefits Of Having Matcha
1. Can prevent cancer
A 2001 study found that green tea extract can decrease tumour size and slow the growth of breast cancer in rats. Experts say that there is reason to believe that antioxidants and polyphenols present in matcha can prevent cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm the speculation.
2. Matcha can protect the liver
Researchers have also found that matcha can help to improve the liver’s health. A study found that the kidneys and livers of diabetic rats improved after being given matcha for 16 weeks.
3. High in antioxidants
Matcha is high in catechins, which is a class of plant compound in tea that acts as a natural antioxidants.
Matcha powder will actually have more catechins and antioxidants than simply steeping green tea leaves in water. According to one estimate, the number of certain catechins present in matcha is up to 137 times more than in other types of green tea.
Thus, including matcha in your diet can increase your antioxidant intake. It helps prevent cell damage and even lowers your risk of severe chronic diseases.
4. Boost brain health
Research shows that several components in matcha can help enhance brain function. According to a study, researchers discovered that matcha can cause improvements in attention, memory and even reaction time.
Similarly, another small study proved that consuming two grams of green tea powder daily for two months helped to improve brain function.
Several other studies have also linked caffeine consumption to improvements in brain function. Matcha also has a compound called L-theanine that promotes alertness and helps avoid the crash in energy levels.
L-theanine compound is also known to increase the alpha wave activity in the brain and it may help to decrease stress levels and induce relaxation.
5. Promotes healthy heart
Due to the rising levels of stress and unhealthy lifestyle, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide in today’s times.
Studies reveal that drinking green tea that has similar properties to that of matcha can actually help to protect your heart.
Some studies have further highlighted that drinking green tea can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
How To Prepare Matcha Tea?
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Keeping in mind the numerous health benefits of consuming matcha during pregnancy and other times, it will come in handy, if you know how to prepare it.
- Sift 1-2 teaspoons (2 to 4 grams) of matcha powder into your cup of hot water (59 ml).
- Mix it with a bamboo whisk.
You can adjust the ratio of matcha powder to water depending on the consistency at which you want to consume it.
Thinner matcha tea:
Reduce the powder of matcha to half a teaspoon ( 1 gram) and mix around 89 to 118 ml of hot water.
Mix 2 teaspoons of matcha powder (4 gm) and just 30 ml of water.
If you are in a creative mood, then try whipping up matcha lattes, puddings, and some smoothies to boost the nutrient content of your favourite recipes.
Note of Caution!
While there’s no doubt that consuming matcha during pregnancy is safe but remember moderation is the key.
There are studies that reveal the dark side of excess matcha consumption:
So, remember to always consume matcha or even other nutrients in moderation. One to two cups a day is always a healthy number. At the same time, make sure to look for certified and organic products.
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