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Is Matcha a Better Form of Green Tea? ConsumerLab.com Answers the Question
White Plains, New York, October 14, 2015 — For the past three years, ConsumerLab.com has been testing green tea products, including tea bags, bottled drinks, dietary supplements, and even a K-Cup®. Most recently it purchased and tested products containing a fine powder of young, green tea leaves known as matcha. The results show that matcha powders provide a higher concentration of antioxidant catechins, including EGCG, than brewable green teas. ConsumerLab also found these matcha powders to be virtually free of contamination with heavy metals (lead, arsenic, and cadmium) and pesticides, which has not been the case with other green teas. This is important because matcha powder, after being mixed with hot water, is consumed in its entirety — as opposed to tea which is brewed but the leaves, which retain contaminants, are discarded.
There is evidence that green tea, as a drink or extract, may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Much of the research behind green tea is not from clinical trials designed to establish cause-and-effect relationships, but from studies of populations (typically in Asia) where the use of green tea is common. The health benefits are generally associated with intakes of about 2 to 5 cups of brewed green tea daily (which should yield about 100 to 200 mg of EGCG). Higher amounts of EGCG from extracts have been used in some studies, particularly those for cancer and weight loss, which have shown some benefit, although the weight loss effect may be due to caffeine in green tea.