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Analysis of Matcha Powder Benefits vs. 5 Best Green Powder Superfoods

Nicholas Noble | September 11, 2020

Have you ever wondered what’s the best green powder? It’s no longer a choice between just leafy green powder or spirulina, as now we have countless choices of superfood powders. Some familiar, and as well a growing range of exotic green powders – more often than not coming with little info besides bold claims.

And with so many options, it grows tougher to make a decision, especially if you’re coming from a place of needing a convenient, daily one-stop-shop green powder to help optimize your health and nutrition. Can there really be one green powder to rule them all? 

Here we’ll compare and contrast the benefits and qualities of matcha green tea against each of the most common other green powders:

Pros and Cons of the most Common Green Powder Superfoods

Some of the highlights include a comparison of matcha powder vs. spirulina, matcha tea vs. chlorella, green matcha powder vs. moringa, and the differences between matcha and green tea powder.

As we’ll explain, each of the common green powders may have their merits, but evidently it’s only matcha powder which has the impressive long history of safety and health boosting properties – not to mention the emerald color!

Keep reading for some surprising details and easy-to-remember facts:

What’s the Best Superfood Green Powder?

One of the common advantages of green powders is that they are easy to digest and add to your diet – whether in a smoothie, a latte, or a fresh juice – super greens are thought to be better to absorb and able to help fortify your health.

Albeit a surprise, some of the green powders below (e.g. chlorella, spirulina) carry potential health risks, and have questionable effects on the body. Below you’ll find the pros and cons of each one as we compare them each to matcha powder tea. 

At the end, you’ll likely agree that matcha tea powder comes out on top as the only green powder of reasonable certainty for your health and diet.

Spirulina Green Powder vs. Matcha Tea 

Spirulina is a dried form of algae from freshwater. It’s most often in a powdered form, with a very dark green powder color. Typically spirulina is considered a source of protein, certain vitamins, and trace minerals. 

Yet because it’s a concentrated food source, it can have high levels of certain nutrients that you might need to be careful of, including iron.  

How much Iron is in Matcha? How about Spirulina?

Compared to spirulina, matcha green powder has very little iron, something those with an already-balanced diet might want to take note of. While an essential mineral, iron is also tricky because having too much in your diet may cause problems.

Fortunately, compared to spirulina, matcha has virtually all of the other trace minerals including copper, manganese, and magnesium which can still be tough to have enough of in a balanced diet. In most cases, matcha has them in helpful levels, even zinc. 

Vitamin content comparison of Spirulina to Matcha

Like spirulina, matcha also has high levels of certain b-vitamins, vitamins A and E, and many other essential vitamins. Nutrients which most of us will gladly take more of.

As a fortifying dietary source, matcha powder is equal, if not more suitable than spirulina – it also doesn’t carry the same contraindications as the freshwater algae.

  • It’s said that those with blood-clotting medication and other medicines may need to stay away from spirulina.

Which to choose: Nutrition-wise, matcha is comparable if not generally more recommended/more nutritious than spirulina. Health-wise? Many of the possible benefits of spirulina are not fully understood, unlike matcha powder which has hundreds of research studies behind it.

  • Matcha powder also isn’t known to concentrate certain contaminants like microcystins and heavy metals as spirulina is reported to.  

Key point: It’s also thought to be safe to enjoy as much matcha as you want, something that cannot be said about spirulina.

Chlorella Powder compared to Green Matcha Powder

To most, chlorella is equally as familiar as spirulina. Both are dried powder forms of blue-green algae, and often come together in superfood bars, supergreens powders, and green juices. So if matcha might be healthier than spirulina, is that also the case for chlorella?

Real quick, compared to spirulina – chlorella looks about the same as a dark green powder, but it differs most notably because of increased levels of vitamin B12. Though some research demonstrates chlorella as a supplement form for B12 deficiency, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not the only source of this vitamin – even for vegans.

Is Chlorella necessary for B12 Supplementation?

Considering that some of the risks of spirulina (above) are the same for chlorella, it may not be sensible to choose this green powder solely for B12 supplementation – especially if needing to make a decision between green chlorella or green matcha powder.

Though it could be safe to add a small portion of chlorella to your daily diet, it’s an easy thing to get too much of. All it would take is accidentally adding an extra spoonful – and it’s not yet known what all the dangers of having too much might be.

Importantly, the health claims about possible antiinflammatory effects or immune properties are only in their first stages for chlorella. 

Is Chlorella tested as thoroughly as Matcha?

Those results are often contradicting previous research for chlorella, whereas matcha powder tea has a robust amount of medical research pointing towards the possibility of many amazing benefits. 

Which to Choose: Weighing the pros and cons of chlorella, it’s not significantly more nutritious than matcha green tea, in fact some vitamins are stronger in matcha. Furthermore, matcha is suggested as safe as much as you want to consume each day, and that is simply not the case for chlorella.

Deciding factor: One of the most important things to keep in mind, is that chlorella does not have the amino-acid L-theanine, like matcha powder does. That means it’s unlikely to offer a mood-boost and energy boost each day – something matcha powder does very well. 

Moringa Powder: Differences between Moringa and Matcha Powder

Moringa is an up-and-coming superfood powder which literally is from the moringa plant, native to India. This green powder is usually made from grinding leaves and seeds of the plant.

There’s no arguing that moringa green powder has nutritional properties: vitamin C and A, minerals including calcium and iron, and some levels of protein. We’re all wondering though – is moringa powder more nutritious than Matcha powder though? Let’s find out! 

Flavonoids in Moringa Powder and Matcha Powder

Besides those already mentioned, moringa also contains certain B vitamins and some notable flavonoids such as quercetin which have antioxidant properties. And if you’re wondering specifically how much protein is in moringa, well about 10% of the fresh leaves – so a good bit, but not a ton.

Still, it’s a well-rounded superfood powder, and though the claims against inflammation and longevity aren’t yet a fact, it appears to have a safer track record than that of spirulina and chlorella.

  • Just to reiterate, most green powders are relatively new, which makes them harder to be encouraged. Matcha on the other hand has over 1,000 years of history and safety, a theme through these comparisons.

Which should you buy? Matcha or Moringa?

If you’re thinking how to get the most ‘bang for your buck,’ then it’s not unreasonable that you’re thinking about moringa. But is it actually more nutritious than matcha tea powder? In terms of protein, authentic matcha powder is actually more dense in protein than moringa powder.

The traditional process of shading matcha means that the tea leaves grow with significantly more protein, almost 30% of the dry powder weight – especially when choosing a premium matcha (e.g. Ceremonial Grade). 

That’s more overall protein than moringa. Most of the protein in matcha powder is from bioactive amino acids; matcha is a complete source of protein due to it containing all essential amino-acids.

Green Powder for Daily Nutrition: What to look for

So just like moringa, it’s good to know that matcha can help you meet your daily nutrition needs for protein. Matcha also has most of the same vitamins and minerals, in some cases more (e.g. think about magnesium, matcha has a lot of magnesium-rich chlorophyll).

Choosing between Matcha or Moringa

As you weigh the pros and cons of these two green powder superfoods, it’s a close match. But in all fairness, moringa does not have the same complexes of antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids. These compounds in matcha include EGCG and others, and are one of the key things that separate matcha powder from other green powders.

Wouldn’t you prefer to get a daily dose of antioxidants with your nutrition, too?

Key point: There’s probably space in your health regimen to include both matcha and moringa, but if you had to choose one, then consider looking at matcha powder. 

Deciding Factors: Not only do you get your nutrients and antioxidants, you get a potent kick of caffeine and calming amino-acids which are believed to boost mental focus. They also give matcha a naturally sweet/savory flavor (moringa on the other hand may not taste as good). 

Wheatgrass and Barley Grass Powder vs. Matcha Tea Powder

In the world of green powders, one of the most established are those of wheatgrass and barley grass powder. Although they are both from the young shoots of grain plants, they are not from the same genus.

Still, there are similarities in nutritional benefits and possible health benefits from these grass powders. In order to compare them to matcha powder, let’s first understand their merits. 

What do Grass Powders do for you? Is it more than matcha?

Both barley and wheat grass are sources of chlorophyll, essential vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron, and even some nutrients that may be good to have more of for certain people (e.g. folate, vitamin K). It’s also reported that they can help increase antioxidant levels in the body.

Best Green Powder for Protein?

In terms of protein, both are decent, though barley grass powder is recommended as higher-in-protein. And although the individual’s preference may differ, it’s generally though that barley is more mellow flavored.

Now, let’s compare each benefit and nutritional property to matcha powder.

Barley and Wheatgrass powder compared to Matcha Health Benefits

Matcha contains virtually all of the same nutrients as these green grass powders. Matcha is known to contain vitamin K, almost every essential nutrient, a significant protein content – and a range of trace minerals which support metabolism and cognitive function. 

Although barley grass powder and wheatgrass powder don’t contain the kick of caffeine and L-theanine like matcha, they seem comparably nutritious. So, let’s consider the specific health benefits reported for each of these 3 green powders.

Health Benefits of Green Powders: Matcha, Wheatgrass, and others

It’s reported that both wheatgrass and barley grass powder (“grass powders”) may be able to support health blood sugar levels [1-2]. Yet most of this research revolves around animal studies. 

On the other hand, the very same (and more!) can be said about matcha powder, which is scientifically known for possible therapeutic benefits for blood sugar, metabolic balance, and anti-diabetes properties in humans [3-5].

Matcha vs Green Grass Powders for Heart Health

Nature’s original superfood green powder might honestly be matcha tea, afterall. Some researchers suggest grass powders (i.e. barley or wheatgrass) as quick sources of potential cardiovascular benefits; one study demonstrated lower cholesterol after about a month’s time using barley grass powder [6].

Yet, these studies are few and far between, with conflicting results typically. The good news is that grass powders seem generally safe for your health, but if you’re interested in legitimate heart-health possibilities, consider matcha powder.

  • It’s reported that polyphenols in matcha powder may reduce blood pressure, reduce long-term mortality from heart disease, and balance against high bad-cholesterol (including VLDL), and increase good-cholesterol [7].

Green Matcha Powder vs. Grass Powders (Barley, Wheat) for Weight Loss

Another popular reason that some people choose to use wheatgrass powder or barley grass powder, is because of the reported weight-loss benefits. The evidence here is tedious, as some research doesn’t easily control for all the variables; few studies actually demonstrate elevated energy-expenditure, rather than simply reduced caloric intake – whereas matcha powder is actually studied to increase energy expenditure.

Fat-burning Effects of different Green Powders: Matcha is best?

Nevertheless, grass powders may promote weight loss due to their fiber content. Research connecting fiber intake to weight loss definitely adds points to side for grass powder benefits [8].

Matcha is still a source of dietary fiber, but it’s arguably more compelling that the polyphenols in matcha powder increase weight-loss by activating fat oxidation [9], increasing total energy output.

Best Green Powder for Excess Weight: Polyphenols to know about

This is something no other green powder is able to do as well as matcha, and a lot of it comes down to the renowned, rare polyphenol EGCG found nowhere else in nature in therapeutic levels except in matcha tea powder.

Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha: Which Superfood Green Powder for you?

So far we’ve reviewed 5 of the most common green powders, and compared them to one another. To recount, they have been barley and wheatgrass powders, matcha powder, chlorella, moringa, and spirulina green powders. 

But to finish this review, we’ll compare green tea powder to matcha green tea powder, where the most unsuspecting differences can lead to huge changes in health benefits and flavor. That’s right, aren’t they the same thing? Nope!

Green Tea Powder vs. Green Matcha Powder

Green tea powder is a different product from matcha green tea powder. Though they both come from the same plant, and from the same green tea leaf, just because it’s a powder doesn’t mean it’s matcha. 

This is why a lot of the so-called “matcha” on the market is bitter, brown-colored and lacking in health benefits.

How to know if your matcha is real?

“Green tea powder” only becomes “matcha green tea powder” when it’s grown in Japan under careful agricultural techniques. Regular green tea is typically grown in full-sun and without any special care, and when powdered carries those same characteristics.

Yet, matcha powder is emerald green, naturally sweet and savory, and a totally different chemical composition than regular green tea. 

Real authentic matcha becomes richer in protein, all vitamins and minerals, and those key antioxidants which help health. You can be careful of shopping at only a reliable source of matcha, and by using our color-guide to identify quality if you’re unsure.

The bottom line – Matcha vs. other Common Green Powder Superfoods

If you’re torn between what convenient, once-daily green powder to incorporate in your diet, this review has hopefully led you to an easy conclusion: matcha powder is nature’s original green powder energy drink, packed with all the same (and more!) nutrients as the other common green powders.

You get all or more of the same vitamins and minerals, lots of proteins through rich amino-acid content, including L-theanine (other green powders don’t have it), and a host of antioxidant benefits.

Although other green powders (e.g. chlorella, spirulina, moringa) may have some antioxidants, matcha not only has more, it also has some which are unfound elsewhere in nature and are more rigorously studied. 

Matcha for Daily Greens

Best of all, matcha is a source of daily, all-day energy. With the synergy of calming focus and caffeine, this special green powder tea will help your health while boosting your mind.

When choosing a premium quality of authentic matcha, it’s also generally regarded as safe to enjoy as much as you’d like, a big difference between the other guys. So, if you need only one green powder, then choose matcha!

And if you have time for a more invested green powder regimen, then it’s reasonable to consider adding your preferred superfood powders to matcha, or even make an adaptogenic matcha latte. 

It’s not a bias, it’s science. The health benefits that matcha may offer are more established and time-tested than most any other green powder. And besides, the naturally sweet and savory flavor doesn’t hurt – arguably the most delicious green powder too!

  

– Team Matcha.com

 

SHOP MATCHA

 

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References
[1] Takano, A., Kamiya, T., Tomozawa, H., Ueno, S., Tsubata, M., Ikeguchi, M., ... & Tanaka, K. (2013). Insoluble fiber in young barley leaf suppresses the increment of postprandial blood glucose level by increasing the digesta viscosity. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.
[2] Shakya, G., Randhi, P. K., Pajaniradje, S., Mohankumar, K., & Rajagopalan, R. (2016). Hypoglycaemic role of wheatgrass and its effect on carbohydrate metabolic enzymes in type II diabetic rats. Toxicology and industrial health, 32(6), 1026-1032.
[3] Liu, K., Zhou, R., Wang, B., Chen, K., Shi, L., Zhu, J., & Mi, M. (2013). Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: A meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 98(2), 340-348.
[4] Lin, Y., Shi, D., Su, B., Wei, J., Găman, M. A., Sedanur Macit, M., ... & Guimaraes, N. S. (2020). The effect of green tea supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and dose–response meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytotherapy Research.
[5] Liu, C. Y., Huang, C. J., Huang, L. H., Chen, I. J., Chiu, J. P., & Hsu, C. H. (2014). Effects of green tea extract on insulin resistance and glucagon-like peptide 1 in patients with type 2 diabetes and lipid abnormalities: a randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled trial. PLoS One, 9(3).
[6] Yu, Y. M., Chang, W. C., Chang, C. T., Hsieh, C. L., & Tsai, C. E. (2002). Effects of young barley leaf extract and antioxidative vitamins on LDL oxidation and free radical scavenging activities in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes & metabolism, 28(2), 107–114.
[7] https://matcha.com/blogs/news/heart-health-and-matcha-green-tea-what-you-need-to-know
[8] Miketinas, D. C., Bray, G. A., Beyl, R. A., Ryan, D. H., Sacks, F. M., & Champagne, C. M. (2019). Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study. The Journal of nutrition, 149(10), 1742–1748.
[9] Lin, Y., Shi, D., Su, B., Wei, J., Găman, M. A., Sedanur Macit, M., ... & Guimaraes, N. S. (2020). The effect of green tea supplementation on obesity: A systematic review and dose–response meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytotherapy Research.

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