Japan has loved matcha for centuries, and with its recent rise to stardom as a dessert flavor, it’s arguably more popular than ever. Green tea fans will therefore be delighted to hear that new research suggests that matcha not only tastes good, but is good for you in several very important ways.
Tea producer Itoen and MCBI, a medical research company established by the University of Tsukuba, recently announced the results of a year-long clinical trial investigating the effects of sustained daily matcha consumption. From a group of 939 men and women between the ages of 60 and 85, 99 were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or subjective cognitive decline (SCD). These 99 people then participated in a year-long trial in which the target group consumed matcha daily for 12 months, while the control group received placebos.
Participants underwent assessments of cognitive function and sleep quality, as well as various blood and neuroimaging tests, at the start and end of the trial, which the researchers describe as a randomized, double-blind, controlled comparative study. by placebo. At the end of the year, the matcha group, compared to the placebo group, showed “significant improvement in social cognition assessed with a facial expression recognition test, specifically, the accuracy of their perception of emotions based on facial expression”.
Additionally, the matcha group showed an improvement in their sleep quality. This was determined using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a self-questionnaire protocol in which a lower numerical score indicates better sleep.
What’s particularly interesting about the study is how the matcha was consumed. Each day, the matcha group consumed two grams of matcha, the average amount found in a cup of matcha green tea. However, matcha was administered in the form of capsules. This would imply that the improvements the matcha group experienced were not the result of extra time spent relaxing or quietly reflecting while quietly sipping a cup of tea, but came from the matcha itself, which in turn suggests that perhaps the same benefits could be experienced by eating matcha candies.
▼ The placebo group received colored cornstarch capsules and, unfortunately, the study provides no similar medical rationale for also eating matcha-free candies.
The study results were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s international conference, held this month in San Diego, and although the matcha and control groups showed no significant differences in other neuropsychological tests, the prospect of better sleep really means we’re now completely out of reason not to eat matcha ice cream for dessert every night from now on.
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