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Matcha Tea's Anti-Depressant Properties Confirmed

A tea that’s been enjoyed for nearly 1,000 years might be just what the doctor ordered as a treatment for depression, a new study has revealed. Already renowned for its health benefits, researchers have now demonstrated matcha green tea’s anti-depressant-like effects.


Cup of matcha tea

Matcha tea is a fine powder made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used to produce white, green, black and oolong teas.


In recent years, the health benefits of matcha tea have been touted due to its high concentration of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. Matcha tea is also thought to reduce anxiety and elevate mood - and now it's been proven that it does.


Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric disorder worldwide and, in the US, it is estimated that one in five adults will struggle with a depressive disorder at some point in their lifetime. The mechanism underlying depression is thought to be caused by reduced dopaminergic function in the brain.


Dopamine is the “feel good” neurotransmitter and hormone responsible for feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation. This is what the current raft of drugs available for treatment targets. But, now there's the humble matcha tea as a safe, natural alternative.


Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that drinking matcha tea improves mood, there have been no scientific studies exploring its anti-depressant properties. Researchers from Kumamoto University have now succeeded in doing so.


“These results suggest that matcha tea powder exerts an anti-depressant-like effect by activating the dopaminergic system of the brain, and this is influenced by the mental state of the individual,” said Dr Yuki Kurauchi, the study’s lead author.


The researchers’ findings, published in the journal Nutrients, have implications for future research and the development of new anti-depressant medications. In the meantime, they recommend brewing a cup of matcha tea.

 

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