Matcha may help improve the quality of sleep and emotional perception in those who consume it, a new study from Japan has found.
Traditionally consumed in East Asia, the powdered green tea plant has grown in popularity around the world in recent years for its rich and unique taste, but the latest research could encourage more people to try it for its health benefits.
Itoen, a Japanese green tea brand, and Molecular and Clinical Bioinformatics, a bioinformatics firm established by the University of Tsukuba, conducted the year-long clinical trial which investigated the effects of daily consumption of matcha.
Out of a group of 939 men and women between the ages of 60 and 85 who were diagnosed with either mild cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive decline, 99 were chosen to take part in the 12-month trial. Meanwhile, the rest — the control group — were given placebos.
The treatment group consumed two grams of matcha every day in the form of a capsule rather than a hot cup. The control group, on the other hand, received colored cornstarch pills.
By the end of the year, researchers found that the treatment group had an improved quality of sleep based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. They also demonstrated “a significant improvement in social cognition assessed with a facial expression recognition test, specifically, the precision of their perception of emotions based on facial expression,” as per SoraNews24.
The fact that the matcha was consumed as a pill suggests that the treatment group reaped all the benefits of consuming matcha without the experience of afternoon tea times or even trips to the boba shop. In traditional Japanese ceremonies, matcha is whisked in hot water, sipped from a bowl and served with something sweet on the side.
This suggests those who consume matcha in the form of sweets or confections may get the same benefits. More research is necessary to determine whether the results can be replicated.
The study’s findings were presented at the recently concluded Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego.
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