There are so many different ways to experience the antioxidant and nutritional values of matcha. A lot of matcha recipes - both food and drinks - contain milk or dairy alternatives.
That got us thinking… Does the milk you mix your matcha with have an effect on the way your body absorbs the vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients in matcha?
What should I mix matcha powder with?
You can mix all sorts of different liquids to create delicious and healthy matcha drinks. The possibilities are endless, but different types of milks, juices and water are the most common combinations for creating matcha drinks. Beyond hydration, mixing your matcha with only water won’t bring any added nutritional benefits to the matcha. Mixing your matcha with different fruit juices can bring you an added dose of vitamins like Vitamins A, C and B from the juice itself.
But how about mixing your matcha with milk? And what about mixing matcha with dairy alternatives like almond, soy and coconut milk?
Check out some yummy matcha recipes and additional articles like the benefits of adding matcha to green juice, matcha lemonade & how to debloat your stomach with matcha and pineapple
What health benefits does matcha have?
The first step to answering if milk impacts the absorption of nutrients in matcha is knowing what those nutrients are!
Matcha contains a high concentration of catechins. Catechins are what give matcha its antioxidant properties and catechins act like a cleanup crew inside of your body. They scavenge for reactive oxygen species that cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause a range of diseases including, but not limited to, cancer, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, IBS, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma. Catechins also inhibit the formation of free radicals in your body. Free radicals cause damage to your body’s healthy cells and cause premature aging and chronic diseases.
We love catechins and matcha is chocked full of them!
Another key ingredient that matcha contains is L-theanine. L-theanine is known for altering the effects of caffeine to promote alertness and help minimize the negative “crash” like side effects you’d expect from a cup of coffee.
Matcha also contains a ton of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Zinc, B-Complex vitamins and more. To read about all of the vitamins and minerals in matcha check out our Vitamins in Matcha article.
Milk and matcha
Now that we know more about the health benefits of matcha we can dive into mixing matcha and milk.
Let’s get scientific about matcha green tea powder and milk
Recent evidence suggests that the consumption of dairy products is linked to a reduced risk in childhood obesity. In adults, milk can aid in weight loss, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes & stroke and improve bone density.
In a study performed by the Unilever Research Vlaardingen in The Netherlands participants were given a randomized selection of green tea, black tea, green tea mixed with 2% milk and black tea mixed with 2% milk. Blood samples were taken from the participants before and after tea consumption.
The results showed that green tea has significantly more catechins than black tea, the human body rapidly absorbs those catechins after drinking both types of tea and that the tea mixed with milk had no effect on the amount or speed at which those catechins were absorbed.
Matcha lattes made with milk can also be a great way to take with your morning vitamins. Vitamin D, along with vitamin A, E, and K are considered fat soluble vitamins, meaning they need fat in order to be properly absorbed. The caveat is that you don't want to drink matcha at the same time you take any supplements containing iron, as matcha may limit iron absorption. Learn more about matcha's impact on iron absorption here.
Hoorah! Milk does not affect the bioavailability of catechins in tea!
Dairy milk alternatives and matcha green tea powder
While consuming dairy with your matcha is scientifically proven to have benefits, not everyone can comfortably drink cow’s milk. For those of us that are lactose intolerant or even lactose intolerant-ish, using a dairy alternative like soy, coconut or almond milk in our matcha can drastically improve the way we feel.
Do milk alternatives affect the way your body absorbs the vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients in matcha?
Unfortunately, not enough studies have been done on this topic to have conclusive evidence. Milk alternatives have their own pros and cons compared to cow’s milk. Not everyone can consume traditional dairy products - if you have to use a milk alternative, it’s important to weigh the upsides and downsides of which one you choose.
If you’re someone who is lactose intolerant, we can’t say with certainty if milk alternatives like almond, coconut and soy milk have an impact on the way your body absorbs the vitamins, minerals and catechins in matcha. If you haven’t already, consider trying products like lactaid pills that help your body digest the lactose enzyme or lactaid milk products that are lactose free but contain all the amazing nutrients in regular milk.
Love milk alternatives? Try our Vegan Matcha Latte Recipe
The bottom line
Drinking matcha with milk is a healthy and delicious way to get your daily dose of the impressive list of vitamins and minerals that matcha contains and mixing cow’s milk with your matcha has no effect on the way your body absorbs those nutrients. If you have to use a milk alternative, pay attention to the pros and cons of each one when choosing what to mix your matcha with.
Want to learn more about which grade of matcha powder is right for you? Read up on the quality & different grades of matcha green tea powder.
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Disclaimer: These statements in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.
Musial, Claudia et al. “Beneficial Properties of Green Tea Catechins.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 21,5 1744. 4 Mar. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijms21051744
Pham-Huy, Lien Ai et al. “Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health.” International journal of biomedical science : IJBS vol. 4,2 (2008): 89-96.
Kochman, Joanna et al. “Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 26,1 85. 27 Dec. 2020, doi:10.3390/molecules26010085
Timon, Claire M et al. “Dairy Consumption and Metabolic Health.” Nutrients vol. 12,10 3040. 3 Oct. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12103040
Van het Hof, K H et al. “Bioavailability of catechins from tea: the effect of milk.” European journal of clinical nutrition vol. 52,5 (1998): 356-9. doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600568
Vanga, Sai Kranthi, and Vijaya Raghavan. “How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow's milk?.” Journal of food science and technology vol. 55,1 (2018): 10-20. doi:10.1007/s13197-017-2915-yThorning, Tanja Kongerslev et al. “Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence.” Food & nutrition research vol. 60 32527. 22 Nov. 2016, doi:10.3402/fnr.v60.32527