Exploring Blue Matcha: Benefits, Risks, and How to Incorporate this Foodie Trend into Your Diet

Blue Matcha

Blue Matcha: The Latest Foodie Trend

Blue matcha has become a sensation on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, with millions of views on the hashtag #bluematcha. A recent video by the coffee chain @thenitrobar, featuring green and blue matcha, went viral with over two million views. Blue matcha has also made its way into various recipes for smoothies, teas, and even skincare products. This article will explore the hype surrounding blue matcha and whether it has any real health benefits.

Blue Matcha: What Is It and How Is It Made?

Blue Matcha is a trending ingredient that has gained popularity in recent years. While the name might suggest a connection to traditional matcha, this is not the case. Rather, it is made from the powdered petals of the butterfly pea flower, which is a plant in the pea family. The powder is mixed with hot water, similar to traditional matcha, hence the name. You can purchase the powder from tea purveyors like Harney & Sons.

The Origins of Blue Matcha: Butterfly Pea Powder

The Origins of Blue Matcha

Butterfly pea powder, also known as blue pea powder, was first used as a natural food colorant. Like other blue and purple foods, such as blueberries, its color comes from anthocyanins, which are plant-based compounds. The butterfly pea flower is known for its bright, bluish-purple petals, which are finely ground into a powder.

Color-Changing Properties of Butterfly Pea Powder

One characteristic that sets butterfly pea powder apart and has made it a hit on social media is its ability to change color in the presence of acids. According to a literature review published in the May 2019 Frontiers in Plant Science, when anthocyanins are dissolved in liquid, they are highly susceptible to the acidity of that liquid. As a result, the color of the powder changes from blue to red, violet, or green when it is mixed with acidic substances like lemon juice.

Blue Matcha vs. Traditional Green Matcha: What's the Difference?

Blue Matcha vs. Traditional Green Matcha

Matcha has been a popular beverage in Japan and other parts of the world for centuries. However, in recent years, a new type of matcha has emerged: blue matcha. While it may seem that blue matcha is just a blue-tinted version of traditional green matcha, the two have distinct differences.

  1. The Plants: Traditional matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, the same plant that produces black, white, and green tea. On the other hand, blue matcha is made from the powdered petals of the butterfly pea plant (Clitoria mariana L.).
  2. Caffeine Content: One of the primary differences between blue matcha and traditional green matcha is their caffeine content. Traditional matcha contains caffeine, while blue matcha is naturally caffeine-free. For those looking to avoid caffeine, blue matcha may be a better choice.
  3. Antioxidants: Both blue matcha and traditional green matcha are high in antioxidants. However, they contain different types of antioxidants. Traditional matcha is rich in polyphenols, while blue matcha's primary antioxidants are anthocyanins, which give it its distinct blue color.
  4. Health Benefits: Due to their antioxidant content, both blue matcha and traditional green matcha offer health benefits. Traditional matcha has been linked to improved brain function, increased fat burning, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Blue matcha, on the other hand, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help improve cognitive function.

The Potential Benefits of Different Types of Matcha

Matcha, a type of green tea in powder form, has gained popularity due to its purported health benefits. However, not all matcha is created equal. Different types of matcha, such as ceremonial grade and culinary grade, vary in quality and beneficial compounds. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of matcha and how they differ among types.

  1. High Antioxidant Content: Matcha is known for its high antioxidant content, particularly catechins, a type of flavonoid. A study published in December 2020 in the journal Molecules found that matcha has higher levels of antioxidants than other types of green tea. Antioxidants are beneficial for fighting oxidative stress and reducing inflammation in the body, potentially offering benefits for heart health, brain health, skin health, and overall well-being.
  2. Better Focus and Concentration: Matcha contains a unique amino acid called L-theanine, which has been shown to promote relaxation and reduce stress while improving focus and concentration. A review published in May 2022 in Food Science and Human Wellness supports this claim. L-theanine is known to increase alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with a state of relaxation and alertness. This is why matcha is so popular among those who want a natural way to improve their energy levels and mental clarity.
  3. Temporary Increase in Metabolism: Some research suggests that matcha may help boost metabolism and increase fat oxidation, which could potentially aid in weight loss efforts when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. Clinical herbalist Adriana Ayales, the founder of Anima Mundi, points out that while matcha has been shown to have some level of impact on metabolism, its effects are temporary and may vary among individuals.

The Health Benefits of Blue Matcha: What Research Says

Blue matcha is a unique type of matcha that is gaining popularity in the health and wellness industry. While it has not been studied as extensively as traditional matcha, recent research has shown that blue matcha, also known as butterfly pea flower powder, provides various health benefits. This article will explore the research findings on blue matcha and its potential benefits for human health.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory, Antidiabetic, and Antioxidant Properties: A study published in Antioxidants in March 2021 found that regular oral ingestion of butterfly pea extract can alleviate high blood pressure in rodents. Additionally, a laboratory study of human cells published in Molecules in May 2019 showed that butterfly pea flower extract inhibited the growth of fat cells. These findings suggest that butterfly pea powder may have anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, and antioxidant properties.
  2. Improved Glucose and Insulin Levels: In a small study of 15 men, drinking a beverage that contained butterfly pea flower extract and sucrose led to improved glucose, insulin, and antioxidant status. While more research is needed to determine the extent of these benefits, this study suggests that blue matcha may have positive effects on glucose and insulin levels.
  3. Anthocyanin-Rich Foods: Blue matcha contains anthocyanins, which are known for their antioxidant properties. According to a review published in Pharmaceuticals in July 2021, daily intake of anthocyanin-rich foods has been associated with preserved cognitive function as you age, reduced risk of several cancers, lower risk of diabetes and obesity, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, better eye health, and lower risk of macular degeneration. The anthocyanins found in blue matcha contribute to these potential health benefits.
  4. Heat Stability: Research published in Frontiers in Plant Science in December 2021 found that the specific type of anthocyanins present in butterfly pea powder tend to stand up better under heat, which means that using them in hot beverages like blue matcha tea will not destroy their nutritional value. This is a unique characteristic of blue matcha compared to some other foods that lose nutritional value when exposed to heat.
  5. Traditional Medicine: Butterfly pea flower powder has a strong history in traditional medicine, where it has been used for diabetics, blood pressure, retinal damage, edema, and indigestion. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, the butterfly pea plant has also been used for reducing stress and anxiety. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of butterfly pea flower extract may have a positive effect on cognitive function, including memory and learning abilities.

Understanding the Health Risks of Blue Matcha

Blue matcha, also known as butterfly pea flower tea, has gained popularity in recent years due to its vibrant blue color and supposed health benefits. However, there are potential risks associated with consuming blue matcha that individuals should be aware of.

  1. Allergic Reactions: While blue matcha is generally safe to consume in moderation, individuals with allergies to butterfly pea flower or any of its derivatives should avoid consumption. Consuming blue matcha can cause allergic reactions such as skin rash, itching, or gastrointestinal discomfort. It's essential to consult with a medical professional if you are unsure about any allergy concerns.
  2. Overconsumption: Overconsumption of blue matcha can lead to nausea, digestive discomfort, and diarrhea. Therefore, individuals should consume blue matcha in moderation to avoid any potential health issues.

Is Blue Matcha Worthwhile?

While blue matcha is a trendy and fun beverage to enjoy, there is currently no solid evidence that it has a greater impact on human health than any other anthocyanin-rich food. Blue matcha is rich in antioxidants, which can be beneficial to our health, but it's important to maintain a balanced diet and not rely solely on one ingredient.

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