• What's the Best Green Tea? Chromatography Explores

Electrophoretic Separations

What's the Best Green Tea? Chromatography Explores

Jun 10 2021

Some love it, some hate it, and some drink it regardless because it’s good for them. Of course, we’re talking about green tea, which is renowned for a number of health benefits if you drink it on a regular basis. But which green tea is the most advantageous to your health? According to chromatography, nothing comes close to matcha…

The benefits of green tea

Green tea is far from a controversial form of homeopathy which is lacking in evidence to support it. Quite the opposite in fact. There are a number of research-backed health benefits of green tea, including:

  • Improved brain function from caffeine and L-theanine
  • Increased fat burning by as much as 17%
  • Lower risk of certain cancers including breast, prostate and colorectal
  • Protective effects on the brain which could reduce the risk of dementia and Parkinson’s
  • Improved oral health with a reduced chance of bad breath
  • Lower risk of diabetes with reduced blood sugar levels and better insulin sensitivity
  • Less chance of cardiovascular diseases including heart disease and stroke
  • Owing to many of the above, a lower risk of death – ranging from 12% to 76%

Maximising those benefits with matcha

While some people may well enjoy the flavour of green tea, it’s undeniable that the associated health benefits play a part in the decision to drink it daily. With that in mind, it’s only natural that many green tea drinkers want to maximise the rewards they’re reaping.

It’s long been thought that matcha is the superior form of green tea because of how it’s made. Unlike other green teas which are typically brewed or ‘steeped’ to release the flavour, match is a green tea powder which is whisked into the water to create a frothy drinkable mixture – sounds delicious, right?

What this means, is that you get all the nutrients from the whole tea leaf, rather than simply those which are released during steeping. Or, at least, that’s the logic…

Putting matcha to the test

To find out whether matcha really is the superior green tea of choice, scientists from the University of Colorado used micellar electrokinetic chromatography to analyse the levels of catechins and caffeine in matcha compared to the levels from water extraction (steeping) from dry leaf tea.

Micellar electrokinetic chromatography is a modification of capillary electrophoresis, a method which is discussed in the article, ‘Capillary Electrophoresis-Mass Spectrometry for Metabolomics: Addressing Perceived Misconceptions’.

The Colorado researchers found that the catechin levels in matcha were a whopping 137 higher than those in a popular green tea brand – China Green Tips, to be specific. So, next time you reach for the green tea, it’s worth weighing up whether you want a cup of matcha or 137 cups of the other stuff!

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