Moringa vs Matcha

Posted by Stephany Morgan on

I'm about to take a detailed look at how moringa and matcha differ in terms of different health measurements.

But first, I'll give a quick intro to these two antioxidant superfoods and a summary table of moringa and matcha's health benefits. 

What are moringa and matcha?

For those new to these teas, moringa is a tree native to India (Moringa olifera) and is considered to be an adaptogen superfood thanks to its rich nutrient, antioxidant and vitamin content. It is often used to address malnutrition by NGOs - that's how super it is. Its leaves are ground into a fine powder that can be used for tea and cooking. Read a full introduction to moringa here and to adaptogens here. 

Matcha is also a powdered tea, but made from Japanese tea leaves from the tea bush (Camellia sinensis sinensis). The tea bushes are shaded for a few weeks before harvest, leading to an increased production of plant chemicals (caffeine, antioxidants, flavonoids, etc) which contribute to matcha's powerful color, unique flavor and higher antioxidant levels than normal green tea. Read my full introduction to matcha here. 

Both moringa and matcha powders are blended into hot water, rather than steeped, so you are drinking the actual leaf.

Now that's covered, down to business: Remember this chart below from my piece The Dark Truth About Matcha Tea? I compared several different teas with matcha and how they all stack up. Today I am going to look at how matcha compares with moringa, as moringa is used as a direct substitute for matcha. 

Here's the summary, and below I break it down and explain each area:

Comparisons

Moringa

Matcha

Antioxidants (ORAC levels)

~1575

~1384

Complete plant protein 

Yes

No

Blood glucose level moderation

Yes (significant: improves insulin sensitivity)

~Yes (limited to starchy foods)

Prevents high blood pressure

~Yes

Initially increases blood pressure due to caffeine

Reduces inflammation

~Yes

~Yes

Weight loss effects

~Yes

~Yes

Caffeine

No

Yes

Provides energy

Yes, due to being an adaptogen

Yes, due to caffeine

Matcha Ceremony, Matcha v Matcha

Matcha vs Moringa Antioxidants

Some notable catechins in matcha are Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), Epigallocatechin (EGC), and Epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG). EGCG is abundant in matcha. More on EGCG can be found here.

EGC blocks inflammation. It helps prevent fat accumulation in the liver by regulating lipid clearance. It supports waste removal and regulates the body’s ability to “clean out” damaged cells (autophagy). It also has antiviral activity against influenza A and B. ECG protects against neuronal degeneration and may reduce inflammation due to the Hepatitis C virus.

Moringa contains 46 antioxidants, some being: quercetin, beta carotene, chlorogenic acid, and moringin. Quercetin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and it modulates immunity. It improves disease resistance and is anti-carcinogenic. Beta carotene converts to vitamin A in the body. It lowers cancer risk, aging signs, supports immunity, and reduces risk of heart disease. Chlorogenic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, particularly in the brain. It reduces oxidative damage in the brain and can improve memory. Moringin is anti-inflammatory, and has anti-cancer properties.

Matcha has an ORAC level of 1384, whereas moringa's is 1575. (ORAC is a measure of antioxidant levels that allows comparison between foods, teas, etc.) You can see a chart of ORAC (antioxidant) levels in the teas sold at MatchaAlternatives.com here.

Moringa: The Complete Plant Protein

You'l have to wait for our Moringa as a Complete Protein article coming next week! Spoiler: Moringa contains a whopping 17 amino acids, and all 9 essential amino acids, making it one of the very rare complete proteins in the plant world and ideal for vegans.

Matcha, on the other hand, doesn't contain any protein. For the matcha protein shakes you see around the net, they usually have added manufactured powders which often have other less than ideal effects.

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Matcha and Tea Sweet, Matcha v Matcha

Matcha & Moringa Moderation of Blood-Glucose Levels

For matcha to reduce blood sugar levels, some very specific circumstances must be met. Matcha contains EGCG, an antioxidant that is credited with these blood-glucose lowering properties. But in the referenced studies, it was found that this is only applicable when eating starchy foods. It had no effect on sugars themselves, so if you like adding sugar to your tea, you’re out of luck.

The reason it can so successfully reduce blood glucose from starch (by up to 50%!) is due to the inhibition of the enzyme amylase, which is responsible for breaking starch down into sugar. Because amylase is found in large amounts in the mouth, the conversion to sugar begins there.

This means that if you eat a starchy breakfast (like bagels or toast), you have to drink matcha with the meal for it to work. Misrepresenting matcha as a tool to lower blood glucose levels from any food is misleading.

Moringa has antidiabetic effects. In another referenced study, Moringa lowered blood glucose levels compared to placebo and control (not effecting normal blood sugar levels). In the diabetic group, it was observed that insulin resistance decreased, and glucose uptake improved, which is likely due to kaempferol, an antioxidant. Quercetin also played a role in blood glucose reduction. Moringa affected blood glucose levels regardless of the source of sugar.

To summarize, matcha prevents the conversion of starch to sugar, making it less bioavailable as a sugar starting at the beginning of the digestive tract, but won’t reduce already high blood glucose levels. Moringa reduced previously elevated blood sugar levels.

Note that elevated blood sugar can be dangerous, and should not be addressed lightly or without supervision. Do not attempt to use either matcha or moringa as an intervention without first discussing it with your qualified health professional.

Impact on Blood Pressure Levels by Matcha vs Moringa

A meta-analysis literature review looked at the blood-pressure-lowering effects of green teas. Decaffeinated green tea extract supplements were most common, though decaffeinated green tea was also used, and others included caffeine in the control group to rule out its confounding effects.

While green tea lowers blood pressure by several avenues (maintaining vascular tone, balancing vasoconstrictive substances, improving ventricular function), it’s important to note that higher doses of green tea can raise blood pressure due to more caffeine. More studies are needed to be conclusive.

So, if you are drinking matcha in hopes of supporting a healthy cardiovascular system, keep an eye out for the caffeine. De-caf may be better. Or...

Consider caffeine-free moringa. One referenced study concluded that moringa (extract) may be a natural approach for reducing blood pressure. They found that the antioxidant activity reduced vascular dysfunction and promoted vasorelaxation.

Another study found that the juiced moringa leaves reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in stage 1 hypertension. In another study, moringa powder (leaf) demonstrated hypotensive action in obese subjects. Moringa has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels.

Links to the studies are below in the References section if you want to read the details. This is one of the things that sets our blog apart! ;-)

Moringa Leaves, Matcha v Matcha

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Matcha and Moringa

Matcha’s anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to the antioxidant action of the catechins, particularly EGCG. 

Moringa has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in lab studies, but this specific effect has yet to be studied in humans. However, we do know Moringa contains Quercetin, the aforementioned powerful anti-inflammatory. Animal trials look promising, and there’s a call for human trials in the near future.

There's a lot of research out there, and I'll be doing a deep-dive into this topic in a future post!

Can Matcha or Moringa Help with Weight Loss?

In theory, matcha may help with fat break down by increasing metabolism, energy expenditure, and fat oxidation. Of course the effects of green tea on fat and metabolism can not be relied upon as the sole weight loss method, and requires additional changes (food choices, exercise, etc - as always!). So don't be convinced by any isolated miracle cures. A systematic review concluded that most of the weight-loss was on average 0.2 - 3.5 kg more weight was lost compared to controls.

Moringa was found to modestly reduce weight in obese participants, but not in non-obese participants. An animal study concluded that it reduced body weight with no change in feeding. Moringa weight-loss/fat loss is caused by correcting hormone levels that signal satiety, control fat storage, and influence insulin sensitivity.

By correcting these levels, and by inducing thermogenesis (increased body heat which reduces appetite, improves fat burning, and metabolism) and lipolysis (the breaking down of fats), moringa shows promise for aiding weight loss.

A Note From The Herbalist...

Both moringa and matcha have their place in the tea world, but for me the natural sweetness of moringa and the fact it's a third the cost of matcha while containing a greater level of antioxidants makes it my go-to drink. I most often drink it in the mornings when I want some caffeine-free energy to start the day, and LOVE cooking with it. (A new Recipes series coming in 2020!)

Superior Moringa Tea PowderI also like that I can use moringa as a direct matcha replacement: in lattes, drinking straight, sprinkling on top of my granola, or when I feel like centering and unwinding with my whisk and chawan for a little Japanese tea ceremony. 

If you enjoyed this piece, subscribe to the MA Blog so you never miss another! It's all about tea, alternatives to matcha, antioxidants and smashing the pseudo-science myths peddled by the wellness industry. Also, don’t worry we hate spam as much as you do: we won't send any marketing emails. Any new teas or occasional offers are simply included in the regular "latest blog" notifications :-)

 

Disclaimer

All of the information regarding the herbs, botanicals, minerals, vitamins, etc., is information drawn from traditional use data or academic research and should be regarded as such. If you, the reader, has a health or medical concern, please consult your healthcare professional. The information found here is not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe or cure and has not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only.

Moringa versus Matcha References and Further Reading

https://www.jpsr.pharmainfo.in/Documents/Volumes/vol5issue09/jpsr05091301.pdf S. Aafrin Thasleema /J. Pharm. Sci. & Res. Vol.5(9), 2013, 171 - 173

http://foodb.ca/compounds/FDB017700 Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC) Database, Update date 2019-11-27 17:33:51 UTC

http://www.imedpub.com/articles/assessment-of-nephrotoxicity-antiinflammatory-and-antioxidant-properties-of-epigallocatechin-epicatechin-and-stigmasterol-phytoste.php?aid=20845 Osuntokun OT, Oluduro AO, Idowu TO, Omotuyi AO (2017) Assessment of Nephrotoxicity, Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties of Epigallocatechin, Epicatechin and Stigmasterol Phytosterol (Synergy) Derived from Ethyl Acetate Stem Bark Extract of Spondias Mombin on Wistar Rats Using Molecular Method of Analysis. J Mol Microbiol. Vol. 1 No. 1: 5.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405301/ Elmarakby AA, Abdelsayed R, Yao Liu J, Mozaffari MS. Inflammatory cytokines as predictive markers for early detection and progression of diabetic nephropathy. EPMA J. 2010;1(1):117–129. doi:10.1007/s13167-010-0004-7

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/epicatechin-gallate Science Direct definitions, Epicatechin Gallate. Accessed 19th December 2019

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-benefits-of-moringa-oleifera#section2 6 Science-Based Health Benefits of Moringa oleifera, Atli Arnarson, PhD, May 4, 2018

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691509002774 In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of different fractions of Moringa oleifera leaves
Arti R.Vermaa M.Vijayakumara Chandra S.Mathelab Chandana V.Raoa, Received 6 March 2009, Accepted 3 June 2009, Available online 9 June 2009.

https://www.amchara.com/detox-and-cleanse/92-nutrients-and-46-antioxidants-in-one-tree-maringa-oleifera#List%20of%20the%2046%20Antioxidants 92 nutrients and 46 antioxidants in one tree Moringa oleifera, Amchara. Accessed 19th December 2019

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/ Li Y, Yao J, Han C, et al. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients. 2016;8(3):167. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.3390/nu8030167

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758.php#uses_benefits All you need to know about beta carotene, Tim Newman, December 14, 2017

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/chlorogenic-acid Science Direct definitions, Chlorogenic Acid. Accessed 19th December 2019

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5922181/ Yu Y, Shen Q, Lai Y, et al. Anti-inflammatory Effects of Curcumin in Microglial Cells. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:386. Published 2018 Apr 20. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00386

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109084238.htm Penn State. "Drinking green tea with starchy food may help lower blood sugar spikes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2012

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5894151/ Villarruel-López A, López-de la Mora DA, Vázquez-Paulino OD, et al. Effect of Moringa oleifera consumption on diabetic rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018;18(1):127. Published 2018 Apr 10. doi:10.1186/s12906-018-2180-2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4150247/ Peng X, Zhou R, Wang B, et al. Effect of green tea consumption on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials. Sci Rep. 2014;4:6251. Published 2014 Sep 1. doi:10.1038/srep06251

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30668387 Moringa oleifera leaf extract lowers high blood pressure by alleviating vascular dysfunction and decreasing oxidative stress in L-NAME hypertensive rats. Phytomedicine. 2019 Feb 15;54:9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2018.10.023. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335321346_Effect_of_Moringa_oliefera_leaves_on_blood_pressure_in_hypertensive_patients Goothy, Sai Sailesh & Sudhan, Dr. (2019). Effect of Moringa oliefera leaves on blood pressure in hypertensive patients. 350. 

https://www.opensciencepublications.com/wp-content/uploads/IJN-2395-2326-3-143.pdf Management of Hypertension in Norma and Obese Hypertensive Patients through Supplementation with Moringa oleifera Lam Leaf PowderIndian Journal of Nutrition Volume 3, Issue 2 - 2016 © Edith N. Fombang. 2016

https://www.ijbcp.com/index.php/ijbcp/article/view/1152 An experimental study to evaluate the anti-inflammatory effect of moringa oleifera leaves in animal models
Amit Mittal, Monica Sharma, Abhinav David, Pinki Vishwakarma, Manish Saini, Mani Goel, K. K. Saxena. International Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology Vol 6, No 2 (2017)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S223125361112010X Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of Moringa peregrina. Seeds, Free Radicals and Antioxidants, Volume 1, Issue 2, April–June 2011, Pages 49-61 Author links open overlay panel Mahmoud A.Koheil Mohammed A.Hussein  Samir M.Othman Alaa El-Haddad Available online 17 April 2013.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27634207 Anti-inflammatory Action of Green Tea. Tea Science Center, University of Shizuoka, 52-1, Yada, Shizuoka 422- 8526; Japan. ; Present address: Division of Citrus Research, Institute of Fruit Tree and Tea Science, NARO, 485-6, Okitsunakacho, Shizuoka, 424-0292, Japan.. Japan.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/ Li Y, Yao J, Han C, et al. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients. 2016;8(3):167. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.3390/nu8030167

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938407004003 Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial. Physiology & Behavior, Paradee Auvichayapat
Volume 93, Issue 3, 27 February 2008, Pages 486-491. 

https://www.nafc.org/bhealth-blog/will-drinking-green-tea-help-me-lose-weight Will Drinking Green Tea Help Me Lose Weight? BHealth Blog. Accessed 19th December 2019

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4025876/ Jurgens T, Whelan AM. Can green tea preparations help with weight loss?. Can Pharm J (Ott). 2014;147(3):159–160. doi:10.1177/1715163514528668

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ab/2014/162914/ Antiobesity and Hypolipidemic Activity of Moringa oleifera Leaves against High Fat Diet-Induced Obesity in Rats. Souravh Bais. Advances in Biology Volume 2014, Article ID 162914. Published 10 July 2014

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/leptin-101#leptin Meet Leptin — A Hormone That Regulates Body Weight. Kris Gunnars, BSc December 4, 2018 Healthline. Accessed 19th December 2019

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169116305238 Fateheya Mohamed, Molecular mechanisms of the anti-obesity potential effect of Moringa oleifera in the experimental model. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine
Volume 7, Issue 3, March 2017, Pages 214-221. 

https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/leptin/ You and Your Hormones Definitions Resource. Society of Endocrinology. Accessed 19th December 2019 Reviewed: Mar 2018

 

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