Drinking tea is good for health. All tea contains protective phytonutrients, plant compounds that help us. The most important are catechins, types of a larger category of beneficial plant-based compounds called flavonoids. These are present in many foods, including cocoa, red wine, apples, some berries and a few other fruits, and some vegetables. Some of them are the pigments that color fruits, and some account for the bitterness of coffee, tea, and cocoa. Flavonoids in general and catechins in particular have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The most studied catechin is EGCG, and far-and-away the richest source of it is brewed green tea.
Many population studies correlate green tea consumption with good health and reduced risk of cardiovascular and other disease. One, published in 2015, studied the dietary patterns of more than 90,000 Japanese and concluded that those who drank the most green tea had the lowest all-cause mortality — that is lower death rates compared to those who drank the least or no green tea. Green tea helps lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health and may protect against cancer. Most researchers believe that EGCG is primarily responsible for these benefits.
Although most studies have looked at sencha (ordinary brewed green tea) and few at matcha, there is reason to believe that matcha offers even more health benefits. There are two reasons for this. First, matcha is the only preparation of green tea that uses the whole leaf. When you drink it, you get all of the leaf, not just a water extract. Also, the shading of tea plants in the weeks before harvesting changes their composition. In response to less exposure to sunlight, the plants produce larger, thinner leaves with more chlorophyll and more phytonutrients, including L-theanine and catechins. As a result, they have a deeper green color and richer, more complex flavor than regular green tea. The vibrant color and deep flavor of matcha are distinctive and obvious. Why matcha has a higher catechin content is not apparent, but it has been documented. One study found that the concentration of EGCG available from drinking matcha is 137 times greater than that available from a typical green tea.
We think it is fair to say that regular consumption of matcha contributes to good health.