Caffeine with a Purpose: Try Matcha Instead of Coffee

Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN

Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, and owner of Level Up Bariatrics, LLC, a bariatric lifestyle coaching program that provides pre and post-op support for weight loss surgery patients. Learn more on Instagram (@level_up_bariatrics).

Are you considering swapping your coffee for something more functional and healthy? Say hello to matcha — the vibrant green, nutrient-rich powdered tea that has taken the wellness world by storm! While coffee has its perks (hello, caffeine!), it also has its downsides. Matcha, on the other hand, is proving to be a superfood swap that offers more functional benefits to your diet and wellness goals. After WLS, you really do have to ensure that each of the choices you make consistently holds value, as the number of opportunities you have to eat and drink is precious. So if you’re drinking coffee out of habit only, it’s time to think bigger and perhaps level up your caffeine game. Let’s compare coffee and matcha so you can decide if it’s worth it for you to swap out your standard coffee for a more beneficial option.

1) Antioxidants. When it comes to antioxidants, both coffee and matcha have their own unique advantages. While coffee has a higher concentration of antioxidants per serving, matcha boasts a wide variety of them! In particular, matcha contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, which have been linked to various health benefits. These include improved heart health, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of cancer and stroke.

2) Let's talk about pH levels. Did you know that coffee is acidic while matcha is alkaline? Research shows that coffee has a pH level between 4.6 and 5, making it quite acidic. On the other hand, matcha has a pH level between 7 and 9, giving it an alkaline nature. This means that matcha is less acidic than coffee and can have a more alkaline effect on your body. But why does this matter? Well, if you're someone who experiences acid reflux, heartburn, or other digestive issues, consuming acidic beverages like coffee is likely to worsen your symptoms. Conversely, opting for alkaline beverages like matcha can help reduce acidity in your body, promoting better digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall health.

3) What about caffeine? We all know that coffee is infamous for its caffeine content, with around 95 mg per serving. However, for some people, this can be a bit too much, especially after WLS. It can lead to issues like acid reflux, heartburn, jitters, and anxiety and even negatively affect your appetite. Too much caffeine or calorie and sugar-loaded coffees can confuse these signals, and as a WLS patient, understanding and listening to your body (especially to hunger cues) is crucial.

On the other hand, matcha contains approximately 35 mg of caffeine per serving, which is significantly less than coffee. Plus, matcha has the added bonus of L-theanine, an amino acid that can counterbalance the jittery effects of caffeine and promote relaxation, giving you a somewhat sharp, focused feeling.

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4) Are you ready to try matcha? Here are some ways to make the most out of your matcha...

  • Traditional hot matcha: Mix 1 tsp Matcha powder with 2 oz hot water, whisk until frothy, and pour over 6 oz hot water. Voila, classic matcha!
  • Iced matcha latte: Mix 1 tsp Matcha powder and 2 oz hot water, pour over ice-filled cup, add 6 oz milk, and sweeten to taste with sugar-free sweeteners or nothing at all, which I enjoy.
  • Matcha smoothie: Blend 1 tsp Matcha powder, 1 banana, 1 cup spinach, and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and one serving of plant-based protein powder for a nutrient-packed breakfast or pre-workout fuel.
  • Matcha lemonade: Mix 1 tsp Matcha powder, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 cups water. Chill and enjoy a refreshing twist on lemonade.

Get creative and experiment with matcha in your favorite beverages and treats. Your taste buds and your body will thank you for it!

Now, here's the key takeaway. It's not just about coffee or matcha itself, but what you add to them that truly matters. Excess sugars, artificial sweeteners, and flavors can diminish the health benefits of both beverages. So, think about why you're reaching for that cup and what you truly need to achieve your goals. Remember, it's important to prioritize your health, especially since you're likely enjoying these drinks daily. Make choices that align with your well-being, and enjoy the incredible benefits!

BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.

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