It is a fact that matcha is one of the healthiest drinks in the world, as evidenced by countless studies that have demonstrated its neuroprotective, anticancer, antioxidant and antidepressant action. And from today we also know that matcha tea helps to counteract overweight, obesity, fatty liver and gut dysbiosis, which is the imbalance of the gut microbiota, the true heart of the health of the entire body. This emerges from a recent scientific research published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition thanks to the work of a Chinese team (Wang et al, Front Nutr, 2022).
The evils of our time
Fatty liver, obesity and intestinal microbiota imbalance are typical of our time and are linked to an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle, high levels of stress and a high fat and high sugar diet. If not properly treated, these conditions can cause long-term health problems. It is possible to observe an increase in chronic inflammation and a higher risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation of the liver and loss of function of this organ, but also hypertension and finally cellular degeneration. Hence the urgency to find effective strategies to prevent and treat overweight, alterations in the balance of the gut microbiota and hepatic steatosis, or fatty liver.
Matcha green tea, properties
Matcha green tea is a special, one of a kind tea. In fact, its leaves, reduced to powder, when added to the water to prepare the infusion, are not then filtered and thrown away, as happens with other types of tea, but drunk in the water in which they are dissolved. This gives matcha a high antioxidant power, which is not lost, but is concentrated in the drink thus obtained and reaches our body unchanged. In addition, matcha tea is, as demonstrated by previous studies, hypoglycemic, capable of reducing circulating lipids and protecting the liver. However, until now it has not been possible to understand the mechanisms of action of matcha tea on lipid metabolism and liver health. The study we are talking about today sheds light on this topic and demonstrates that matcha tea can help fight obesity, fatty liver disease and intestinal dysbiosis.
How matcha tea fights obesity and protects the liver, the study
The study took place in the laboratory and involved a population of mice. The mice were divided into four groups. Group one was given a standard diet, group two a standard diet with 1% matcha added, group three a high-fat diet, and group four a high-fat diet with 1% matcha. After two months, the scientists observed that matcha, within a high-fat diet, was able to counteract body weight increase and to improve fatty liver disease. Not only that, matcha reduced blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and AST and ALT values, which, when elevated, indicate liver damage. Scientists have also managed to understand how this happens. In particular, the answer is to be found in the gut-liver axis. Gut and liver are two intimately connected organs, just think of the portal vein which makes blood flow from the intestine to the liver, bringing with it nutrients but also any inflammatory or pathogenic substances that come from this organ. The quality of the blood that reaches the liver depends a lot on the state of the intestinal microbiota, whether balanced or not and no longer able to fight inflammation. Not only that, another mechanism that connects the gut and the liver is the pathway of bile acids. Synthesized by the liver, these arrive in the intestine to aid digestion and then return to the liver. Well, matcha tea has been able to rebalance the intestinal microbiota with a prebiotic action, favoring the proliferation of good bacteria capable of producing short-chain fatty acids with a useful action to reduce inflammation.
In addition to this, matcha also acted on the composition of bile acids, altered in the presence of a high-fat diet, and brought back to a condition similar to that which occurs in the presence of a normal diet, without excesses. These mechanisms have allowed matcha to counteract obesity, gut dysbiosis and fatty liver.
Conclusions and warnings
We know that it is important to follow a balanced and healthy diet and an active lifestyle, also avoiding bad habits such as cigarette smoking. But, to build our current and future health, we can also count on another valid ally, matcha tea, as we have just seen! Matcha tea is able, through two main mechanisms, which restore the gut microbiota and act on the composition of fatty acids, to nourish good bacteria of the gut microbiota, counteract hepatic steatosis, the accumulation of fat and weight gain. Matcha tea can be found in specialized shops. It is prepared by adding the powder to water, half a teaspoon of matcha per cup.
As for the water temperature, depending on the quality of the tea, it can be either cold or hot. Stir the water for 30 seconds with a whisk and the matcha is ready! Since matcha contains caffeine, do not exceed the amount and preferably drink matcha in the morning or early afternoon. Choose a quality and certified matcha tea to avoid possible contamination by heavy metals and pesticides.