Have you noticed? Most of us have the gut instinct to equate the color green — or the natural compound behind green pigment, known as chlorophyll — with health.
Could it really be that simple? Green = healthy? Well, looking at matcha powder for a moment as a spotlight, it might be.
It turns out a broad range of medical studies have shown chlorophyll really can soothe and improve wellness from the inside out. Keep reading to find out exactly what chlorophyll is and why matcha is the best natural source of chlorophyll.
Matcha and chlorophyll | Does matcha have chlorophyll?
Matcha — a finely-powdered green tea — is high in chlorophyll due to how matcha tea leaves are shade-grown and stone-ground. Most naturally green vegetables contain chlorophyll, but matcha is one of the richest natural sources you can find. Matcha contains almost six times as much chlorophyll content when compared to regular green tea.
As a rule of thumb the higher quality the matcha, the more vibrant green coloring.
Why is quality matcha so brightly green colored?
Chlorophyll is a catalyst for photosynthesis. It is the natural compound found in green plant cells that allows most green plants — like matcha — to convert sunlight into food and energy.
So the higher concentration and quality of chlorophyll— the more brightly green and beneficial a green plant will be. Proper shading techniques when growing matcha as well as other tea varieties greatly increases the concentration of chlorophyll, which is why high-quality matcha powder — like our Matcha Kari ceremonial grade matcha - is so vibrantly green it evokes joy.
Matcha and Chlorophyll | What makes matcha the best natural source of chlorophyll
By itself, chlorophyll is a powerful antioxidant, and medical studies have suggested that it can help combat oxidative stress, clear up acne-prone skin, fight off chronic conditions, help keep body odor in check, provide a natural energy boost, and more. But by having your daily cup of matcha, you get all the benefits of chlorophyll along with the even longer list of well-studied health benefits that come with matcha.
Health properties of chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll (the bones behind that green hue) has an interesting twist when it comes to health, here we’ll discuss what actual health benefits chlorophyll might have, and why it’s a helpful visual indicator, but not always an absolute for a healthy diet.
In what may seem a narrow emphasis of dietary color, many mistakenly accredit the vegetal green of chlorophyll as a stand-alone wellness compound. Not to say we shouldn’t trust our eyes, but as we’ll show here – just go with your gut instinct of green being healthy wisely. (Don't be fooled by fake green powders and dyes..)
How much Chlorophyll should you have each Day?
Popular supplements like chlorella and spirulina often make use of bold claims surrounding chlorophyll content as a leading health property. It’s true, their dense chlorophyll content makes it easy to believe we’re caught up on our daily greens through just a single teaspoon.
What’s the best source of natural chlorophyll?
Certainly there are benefits these other green powders may offer, approaching that of matcha powder, but like health chlorophyll too is a complicated topic:
“Just add a teaspoon to fight cancer, boost energy, eliminate toxins, and improve digestion,” you’ve probably read it before. Bright green powders like chlorella almost solely rely on their color to convince upon health properties – is that all they’ve got?
- As a side note, if you do choose to supplement with chlorella or spirulina, look for sources that standardize against BMAA, a neurotoxic amino acid.
- Better yet, below we’ll explore matcha powder as a superior, brighter green alternate without the risks.
Admittedly, not every green powder superfood is a shortcut, but like matcha powder the best ones are few and far between.
How to choose the best matcha tea for chlorophyll content
When choosing a high quality source of authentic matcha, it’s one of the few cases where you can rest assured in that happy green color – indicative not only of the possible benefits of chlorophyll against disease, but as well a host of other health compounds present alongside.
Is chlorophyll actually healthy? Studied health benefits of chlorophyll | Bioactive properties
The chlorophyll in lush greens actually has fewer roles in our physiology and health than you’d first expect. That said, more research is underway everyday and the latest science does, in fact, mention chlorophyll as a possible antioxidant and health promoter.
To reiterate, here are some reasons that chlorophyll might be good for your health, while still reminding that it’s not the be-all, end-all of healthy powders. Choose your greens wisely, expect good things from chlorophyll but pay attention to what else it comes with.
Unlike algae powders like chlorella and spirulina, matcha powder has potent antioxidants, and is not subject to potential contaminants like BMAA.
- It’s also known that other green powders you can definitely have too much of, but Japanese matcha powder is generally safe for as much as you want to use.
What is Chlorophyll good for? Nutrients and Antioxidants in Chlorophyll
One of the most basic values of chlorophyll is as a natural (visual) indicator of real nutritional density. Simply put, when plants are healthy, they are also rich in chlorophyll because it provides the necessary energy to produce nourishing and health-protective veggies (and shade-grown matcha!).
When we consume chlorophyll-rich foods, those nutrients and phytocompounds positively influence our bodies as antioxidants, immune-boosters, hormonal regulators, and more.
That vibrant emerald visual appeal usually means a great source of folate, minerals, and fiber. Also, the more deeply colored kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, and lettuce, the greater the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin — antioxidants which protect the eyes from aging.
And for cruciferous vegetables, the stronger the green, the more calcium and cancer fighting phytonutrients too. So what does chlorophyll mean for matcha tea plants?
What’s the greenest matcha tea powder for chlorophyll supplementation?
According to our Matcha Color Guide, the bright green chlorophyll color of matcha means that the tea plants have been grown with care, have been shade-grown, and have received the best possible soil amendments to promote a savory matcha flavor, and the best mental focus when consumed (see L-theanine amino acid).
The most nutritionally-dense matcha doubles as some of the most emerald green powder tea out there. This is the matcha you’d want to be drinking to help amplify your daily vitamin and mineral needs, and levels of key micronutrients and trace phytocompounds.
Is matcha a source of chlorophyll? How much chlorophyll is in matcha powder?
According to science published this year, high quality matcha powder contains almost 10mg of chlorophyll per 1 gram serving. That’s estimated at 5.8x the chlorophyll content of regular green tea .
Furthermore, two of the most common forms of chlorophyll are chlorophyll-a and chlorophyll-b. Respectively, real Japanese matcha powder contains about 4.32mg of chlorophyll-a and up to 2.73mg of chlorophyll-b per 1g serving size .
What are the benefits of chlorophyll in matcha tea?
Even in the late 1990s researchers began considering the health benefits of chlorophyll found in tea preparations like matcha. Research on the forms of chlorophyll has since continued to identify antioxidant and potential DNA-protective and DNA-repairing properties of these two forms of chlorophyll found in matcha [2-4].
These sources explore the importance of plant pigments for optimal human health, and how chlorophyll derivatives and sub-types are able to potentially help against free radical oxygen [3-4].
And in human testing, different studies have demonstrated the potential of key chlorophyll derivatives to work actively per inhibition of cancer cells. It’s suggested the physiological pathways are more than one, where chlorophyll found in rich sources like matcha tea could offer multiple angles to cancer therapy .
Focus on eating the rainbow, not just green
Dr. Andrew Weil recommends eating the rainbow, informing us that our health may benefit from the unique nutrients, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and other phytocompounds found in the spectrum of fruits and veggies.
That said, ‘eat your greens’ has been drilled into us from time immemorial, remaining a pivotal color in our health, and doubling exemplary in how vision can guide our health. If you want some practice backed by a difference you can feel, apply these ideas to your choice in matcha.
The characteristics of premium matcha are ideal for one, because its jade green color indicates healthy growth and maximum nutrient uptake before harvest. Premium matcha also has not been left exposed to oxidation, where unlike the off-color of wilted produce, the vibrant chlorophyll remains intact and conducive to good flavor.
The bright appearance is a visual guarantee of physiologically potent antioxidants, amino-acids, and other key health promoting compounds. Besides, fresh matcha looks beautiful as it’s prepared.
The bottom line: choose matcha powder over artificial green powders
So… before you trust a new supplement or cut-corners in your diet with the latest artificial green powder, start by giving 1,000 years of health and history a try for better mental health and physical health through matcha.
Best of all it’s a safe alternative (and more nutritious) to other trending green powders such as spirulina – not to mention that kick of matcha caffeine and all-day energy those other green powders simply do not have.
* * *References
 Koláčková, T., Kolofiková, K., Sytařová, I., Snopek, L., Sumczynski, D., & Orsavová, J. (2020). Matcha Tea: Analysis of Nutritional Composition, Phenolics and Antioxidant Activity. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 75(1), 48-53.
 HIGASHI-OKAI, K., & OKAI, Y. (1998). Potent suppressive activity of chlorophyll a and b from green tea (Camellia sinensis) against tumor promotion in mouse skin. Journal of UOEH, 20(3), 181-188.
 İnanç, A. L. (2011). Chlorophyll: Structural Properties, Health Benefits and Its Occurrence in Virgin Olive Oils. Academic Food Journal/Akademik GIDA.
 Hsu, C. Y., Yang, C. M., Chen, C. M., Chao, P. Y., & Hu, S. P. (2005). Effects of chlorophyll-related compounds on hydrogen peroxide induced DNA damage within human lymphocytes. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 53(7), 2746-2750.
 Zepka, L. Q., Jacob-Lopes, E., & Roca, M. (2019). Catabolism and bioactive properties of chlorophylls. Current Opinion in Food Science, 26, 94-100.