What are matcha benefits and side effects? Is matcha low fodmap? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Vegan? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are matcha pros and cons: all the info on matcha that every ethical consumer wants to know…
Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on matcha benefits and side effects.
After learning if matcha is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about matcha benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Matcha Benefits and Side Effects
Matcha benefits for health may include:
- boosted brain function
- decreased stress levels
- enhanced memory
- faster reaction times
- increased attention
- alertness while avoiding an energy crash that would follow caffeine consumption
- better metabolism to increase energy
- cancer prevention
- decreased risk of liver disease
- heart health
- liver health
- lower risk of several chronic diseases
- liver damage prevention
- heart disease protection
- reduced levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol
- fat burning
- weight loss
Additionally, matcha is…
- Gluten Free
- Not a Common Food Allergen
- Beware of some matcha brands unnecessarily adding MILK powder, a common food allergen
- Note: Matcha contains caffeine
- Low Fodmap
Water footprint: likely high, it takes 8,856 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of green tea / 1,061 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of green tea
Carbon footprint: likely low, 1.9 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of tea, a car driving equivalent of 4.5 miles or 7.25 kilometers
Destruction: low, matcha production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc., a typical tea plant used to produce matcha can live for a half-century or longer, making it one of the most sustainable and environmental food crops in existence, matcha is the only kind of tea that uses the entire leaf which creates less waste
- Moderately Sustainable
Kills: none, matcha production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, matcha production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from matcha production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
- Beware of some matcha brands unnecessarily adding milk powder to their products
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: hazardous, limited access to clean water, lack of sanitation, which create health risks, may lead to disease, many workers and their children are malnourished, low immunity to diseases, dangerous exposure to pesticides leads to loss of appetite, numbness in hands, breathing difficulties, reports of starvation deaths
Living conditions: poor, in India, Kenya, Rwanda, Bangladesh, most workers live on tea plantations in decrepit homes, no working toilets, minimal electricity, child trafficking occurs as a result of low wages, children then become slaves, child labor to help meet worker quotas, oppressive conditions intensified by caste system
Wages: low, men work non-leaf-plucking tasks and earn a nearly double hourly wage compared to women, tea pluckers must look for additional work elsewhere to supplement their incomes
- Labor issues, human rights concerns
Where does most matcha come from?
Tea cultivated specifically for Matcha is primarily grown in two Japanese regions: Uji in Kyoto and Nishio in the Aichi prefecture.
Is matcha nutritious?
Yes! Matcha contains antioxidants called catechins and is high in a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to have cancer-fighting effects on the body.
Is matcha gluten free?
Yes, matcha is gluten free. Matcha does not contain gluten. Matcha is a type of green tea, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
Is matcha a common food allergen?
No, matcha is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to matcha but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
Is matcha low fodmap?
Yes, matcha is low fodmap, a drink you can eat if on a low fodmap diet.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High FODMAP and Low FODMAP List of Foods
Water footprint of matcha?
Matcha likely has a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods and beverages.
It takes 8,856 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of green tea / 1,061 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of green tea.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Carbon footprint of matcha?
Matcha likely has a low carbon footprint.
It takes 1.9 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of tea, a car driving equivalent of 4.5 miles or 7.25 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Is matcha sustainable?
Matcha is likely moderately sustainable.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
Is matcha vegan?
Yes, matcha is vegan. Matcha is a finely ground powder made from green tea leaves and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List
Does matcha have human rights issues?
At this time there are concerns with matcha production and the tea industry.
It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about matcha benefits and side effects.
organic matcha – FoodData Central
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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