Can Matcha Really Improve Social Cognitive Health?

Can Matcha Really Improve Social Cognitive Health?

Social cognitive health refers to the state of your cognitive (brain) functions—the ones that are specifically related to understanding, processing, and responding to social information. Various mental processes help you interact effectively and appropriately with others. Studies show that matcha green tea can improve and positively impact all of those processes! 

Can matcha improve social cognitive health?

What is social cognitive health?

Ok, so what exactly are we talking about when we say “social cognitive health?” What differentiates it from cognitive health.

While some of the aspects of social cognitive health go hand in hand with overall cognitive health, social cognitive health is specific to human <-> human interactions. 

Some of the key aspects of social cognitive health include: 

Theory of Mind (ToM): This is the ability to understand and attribute mental states—such as beliefs, intents, desires, and emotions—to yourself and others. Having ToM helps you predict and interpret other people’s behavior. 

Emotional Recognition and Regulation: This is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions as well as those of others. It includes skills like empathy, which involves connecting with and responding to others' emotional experiences.

Social Perception: This is the ability to accurately perceive and interpret social cues like facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. It is crucial for traditionally effective communication and interaction.

Social Problem Solving: This is the ability to navigate social situations and conflicts, make decisions, and form appropriate responses based on the context of the social situation you are in. 

Communication Skills: This is the ability to express yourself clearly and to understand others, including both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Social Memory: This is having the capacity to remember information like names, faces, and details. Having a strong social memory is important for maintaining relationships, and is something many of us struggle with! 

Matcha and overall cognitive health

Matcha and cognitive health

Matcha green tea is packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories - matcha is a superfood! Some of the known active ingredients in matcha that have been scientifically proven to improve overall cognitive health and brain function are catechins, vitamin K, and lutein. 

Catechins are phytochemicals that help your body fight inflammation and chronic diseases. They can improve your heart health, help you lose weight, fight cancer, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in your brain, which in turn can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

Vitamin K has a positive effect on cognitive brain health in a few key ways. Like catechins, Vitamin K2 has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in your brain. Vitamin K2 also plays a role in the health of sphingolipids. Sphingolipids are essential components of brain cell membranes and help support healthy cell structure, cell signaling, cell neuroprotection, and cell immune response. 

Lutein, like catechins and vitamin K, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Lutein has also been proven to improve memory, learning, and processing speed. Lutein also contributes to eye health and supports visual processing, which is closely linked to brain function and cognitive performance. 

Matcha and social cognitive health 

Matcha and social cognitive health

Matcha is a special type of green tea that has more health benefits than regular tea. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and calming effects benefit the way your brain and body work and lead to improved social cognitive health and overall improved social interactions. 

The l-theanine in matcha acts as a calming aid that reduces anxiety

Reducing anxiety can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable in social situations which leads to improved emotional recognition and communication skills. L-theanine is proven to decrease your heart rate, and a calm body and mind can help you focus, remember key elements of a social interaction, and interpret social cues accurately. The l-theanine in matcha can also help improve your sleep quality. The better you sleep, the more time your brain gets at night to process interactions that happened throughout the day and turn those into long-lasting memories. 

The caffeine in matcha helps you focus and improves your reaction times and attention span. 

An improved attention span and focus helps with social problem-solving skills, social memory, and communication skills. The easier it is for you to focus on the social interaction you’re having, the more tuned-in you are to the person or people you’re communicating with. Being present in the moment has a positive effect on how well-integrated you are into a conversation and the way the people around you perceive your interest in them and the subject you’re communicating about. 

In a study done in Japan in 2020, groups of people over the age of 60 were tested to see if matcha green tea had an effect on their social and overall cognitive health. The results of the study showed that the participants who consumed high levels of matcha green tea had improved verbal episodic memory (recalling times, places, and what was said), improved word recall memory (the ability to retrieve specific words from your memory and use them in communications) and an overall improved mood

Bottom line

Brain and cognitive health are extremely important parts of our overall well-being. Drinking matcha green tea has proven health benefits that improve the way our brains function in social situations and help prevent diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s that lead to cognitive decline. Matcha is delicious and good for us in so many ways! 

Matcha recipes you’ll love

Matcha Green Tea Arnold Palmer

Easy Vanilla Matcha Latte 

Healthy Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

Gluten-free and Dairy Free Matcha Mint Sorbet

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.  


Sakurai, K., Shen, C., Ezaki, Y., Inamura, N., Fukushima, Y., Masuoka, N., & Hisatsune, T. (2020). Effects of Matcha Green Tea Powder on Cognitive Functions of Community-Dwelling Elderly Individuals. Nutrients, 12(12), 3639.

Dietz, C., & Dekker, M. (2017). Effect of Green Tea Phytochemicals on Mood and Cognition. Current pharmaceutical design, 23(19), 2876–2905.

Mancini, E., Beglinger, C., Drewe, J., Zanchi, D., Lang, U. E., & Borgwardt, S. (2017). Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, 34, 26–37.

Islam, K. F., Awal, A., Mazumder, H., Munni, U. R., Majumder, K., Afroz, K., Tabassum, M. N., & Hossain, M. M. (2023). Social cognitive theory-based health promotion in primary care practice: A scoping review. Heliyon, 9(4), e14889.

Booth, S. L., Shea, M. K., Barger, K., Leurgans, S. E., James, B. D., Holland, T. M., Agarwal, P., Fu, X., Wang, J., Matuszek, G., & Schneider, J. A. (2022). Association of vitamin K with cognitive decline and neuropathology in community-dwelling older persons. Alzheimer's & dementia (New York, N. Y.), 8(1), e12255.