Matcha may not be always good enough for pregnant women as it contains a small amount of caffeine. However, it can still be taken during conception provided that the consumption does not exceed 4 cups. The maximum amount of caffeine intake should only be 200 mg or less. Note that this amount includes caffeine from all sources like coffee and soda. So it is better if you only take up to 2 cups of matcha and not the other caffeinated drinks.
Caffeine prevents the absorption of folic acid that is essential for brain development. Without folic acid, the developing baby is at risk of spina bifida. This is a condition when the neural tube has defects. Also, a study showed that drinking green tea too much is highly related to the existence of anencephaly, spina bifida and encephalocele due to the caffeine content.
In addition, another study revealed that caffeine has a strong connection to miscarriage, which is why an overdose of matcha is not healthy during conception.
The good news is, matcha contains alkaline caffeine that is different from the caffeine found in other sources. This is because the amino acid L-theanine works with caffeine that are both found in matcha. L-theanine prevents the stimulating effect of caffeine to regulate sleep and enhance concentration. Additionally, matcha has a significant low level of caffeine compared to other caffeinated beverages. The reason why there’s no record that matcha is totally bad for pregnant women.
Furthermore, caffeine disappears after 3 to 6 hours of drinking matcha as it is utilized within this time frame. It is best to drink matcha in the morning and in the evening as the maximum frequency.
Matcha Lowers High Blood Pressure
Hypertension during pregnancy may result to several conditions such as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia and stroke. With these conditions, there’s a need to induce labor and placental separation from the uterine wall through medicine. High blood pressure also causes premature birth. If the mother is suffering from this condition, the baby will have to come out early as it does not receive sufficient nutrients and oxygen.
Matcha is known to be a good blood thinner for those suffering from hypertension. It also relaxes the arterial walls for a better blood circulation. Therefore, matcha is a good alternative to decrease blood pressure.
Matcha also benefits pregnant women in the first stages by providing constant energy levels. Expectant mothers easily get tired during their first trimester. The perfect combination of amino acid and harmless amount of caffeine in matcha adds more energy without the jittery feeling. These are the same compounds that positively affects your concentration and alertness.
Other Matcha Nutrients That Are Beneficial to Pregnancy
Antioxidants found in matcha are also beneficial to both the mother and baby as it prevents inflammation. Unlike what some people believe, epigallocatechin does not adversely affect fetal development. Instead it prevents cell damage and the existence of chronic diseases.
Moreover, matcha is rich in vitamins and minerals that can help in developing your baby. It has protein that helps develop the baby’s brain and fetal tissue. Protein is also essential in increasing blood supply that is needed on your baby’s growth.
Matcha is also high in vitamin C that promotes wound healing, metabolic process and strengthens the immune system. The mother needs a strong immune system to fight against sickness. It is very dangerous for a pregnant woman to get sick as it may cause fetal disability.
Vitamin C is also regarded as an essential nutrient in developing bones and teeth for both the mother and the child. Some expectant mothers who lack in vitamin C lose some of their teeth while others experience hair thinning. Therefore the mother’s daily dose of vitamin C should be higher than regular intake.
The amount of needed vitamin C during pregnancy is between 80 to 85 mg. per day. Women aged 14 to 18 years old can take 80 mg of this vitamin daily, while older women should be taking 85 mg of it during pregnancy. Matcha is also a rich source of vitamin C that can be added to the daily intake.
A premium matcha is a good source of vitamin B as well. It has vitamin B1, B2 and B6. Vitamin B1 also known as thiamine helps in the baby’s brain development. Making your baby smart is possible by consuming 1.4 mg of thiamine everyday. One good idea is to drink matcha while munching on these delicious snacks that are also natural sources of thiamine:
Fortified bread and cereals
Whole grain pasta
Another beneficial nutrient for pregnancy found in matcha is vitamin B2 or riboflavin. Riboflavin is responsible for the development of the eyes and glowing skin. This nutrient is in charge of many cellular processes and energy metabolism. A hundred grams of matcha contain enough riboflavin the body needs. So a cup of matcha a day will be helpful to fulfill this amount together with these foods:
Ricotta and Cottage Cheeses
Vitamin B2 aids in lowering the possibility of pre-eclampsia. It also helps in developing the baby’s bones, nerves and muscles.
The neurological and enzymatic functions of your baby and you are aided by vitamin E. Twenty-three grams of matcha is enough to complete the 15 grams vitamin E daily requirement of the body. Since vitamin E is water soluble, it cannot be obtained just by steeping tea leaves. Matcha is an excellent source of vitamin E because they are finely grounded leaves.
One study has proven that green tea extract is actually more beneficial to expectant mothers and their babies. It showed that matcha is capable of increasing locomotive and cognitive abilities. Mothers who took a higher dose of matcha gave birth to babies with higher neurological functions. Although their weight gain is slower, they are more alert with enhanced memory and higher learning skills.
On the contrary to what most people say that matcha could be dangerous to pregnancy due to its caffeine content, there’s actually more benefit in drinking it. It’s caffeine is 25 grams only, but again, this synthesizes with L-theanine and only lasts within 3 to 6 hours in the body as it is utilized. Therefore, it has zero negative effect. In addition, there are no reports of birth defects due to drinking the right amount of matcha.
If you are pregnant and matcha lover at the same time, just make sure you are drinking a premium grade matcha to avoid possible lead content. Premium grade matcha is traditionally processed using stone grinders instead of machines. It only means they are not exposed to anything with a very high amount of lead. So premium grade matcha has close to zero amount of lead.
Unlike most beverages, matcha is quite flexible in the kitchen. It can be incorporated with other food from drinks, cookies to main course dishes. You can mix it with fruits to get additional amount of nutrients from your smoothie. For example, you can make a green tea mango smoothie that combines all the nutrients of both ingredients. A cup of mango contains sufficient vitamin C, 20% folate, 35% vitamin A and 8% of potassium and vitamin K.
Despite the high sugar content in mango, the polyphenols and amino acid in matcha regulates the blood sugar level. This smoothie mixture has a balancing benefit in taste and nutrients that makes it ideal for pregnant women.
Other benefits of matcha are:
Prevents cardiovascular diseases
Protection from possible stroke and hypertension
Prevents certain cancer
Type 2 Diabetes prevention
Prevents skin inflammation and other inflammatory diseases
Strengthens the immune system and brain function
Reduces stress and antidepressant
Preparing a Good Matcha Drink (Even If You’re Not Pregnant)
The best matcha drink is not just all about the proper measurement of the ingredients. You will notice that in traditional Japanese ceremonies, their matcha teas are foamy. It looks so good that it will make you feel like you just want to grab it and gulp the entire thing. Its richness, with a little veggie bitter taste and creaminess already depict its enticing flavor. And if you are a matcha lover, you definitely want that same consistency when you drink it.
But how can we bring out that frothy goodness in it?
The secret behind this is the proper whisking. Note that you can use other materials to whisk it, but it will not turn out as good as when using a matcha whisk. A matcha whisk is called “chasen” in japanese. Making a perfect chasen is not as easy as how it looks. It will take time to gain the knowledge in assembling the right whisk for a matcha drink.
This tool is made of bamboo. Unlike metal and other kitchen utensils, bamboo is the perfect material as it bends and does not damage the utensils upon using it. The cup and matcha containers might already be antiques and could be too pricey to leave a scratch.
When preparing your matcha using a chasen, put a small amount of water on a teaspoon of matcha powder then blend it, removing the clumps. When smooth, you can add another small amount of water while slowly mixing it. Then whisk it back and forth with just the right amount of speed, until it’s frothy. Afterwards, you can add water up to your desired amount and enjoy it.