It seems like such a silly question to ask, doesn’t it? But when you suffer from constipation, you will pretty much go to any length to find something to help you have a bowel movement. So naturally, you may ask “does matcha make you poop?”.
I’ll give you a spoiler. Yes and No.
What is Matcha?
Do you ever find yourself asking, what exactly is Matcha? I know I’ve shied away from it for years, even with its popularity, because I just wasn’t familiar enough with it. Now that I’ve done the research, it’s quickly becoming a favorite, because it has so many health benefits and it tastes amazing.
Matcha is a green tea powder that is made from the green tea variety, Sencha (3, 4). It is traditionally grown in Japan and other parts of Asia. You may find it fascinating to know that because of its unique cultivation process, it is very rich in antioxidants and boasts many health promoting benefits (4).
More About Matcha
How Is Matcha Grown
Let’s dive into the background of match before moving on to the health benefits. During the growth of matcha tea leaves, the tea bushes are shaded from direct sunlight, often using bamboo leaves (4).
This process encourages the preservation and production of high amounts of several beneficial health compounds; amino acids, chlorophyll, and theanine (4).
While we will dive into the specific health benefits of these bioactive compounds in the next section, it’s important to know that these compounds give matcha its vibrant green color (4).
Matcha contains more caffeine and L-theanine than other green tea varieties (3). Interestingly, the presence of L-theanine alters the caffeine, making it less stimulating to the body yet beneficial in improving mood, cognition, concentration, and the ability to think clearly (3).
Matter of fact, when compared to coffee and other teas in general, matcha has a higher caffeine content (4). For example, most green teas have a caffeine content between 11-25mg/g and coffee beans generally contain between 10-12mg/g of beans, whereas matcha comes in with a caffeine content between 19-44mg/g (4).
Simply stated, matcha has nearly twice the caffeine of most green teas and approximately three times the caffeine content of coffee beans. Finally, it may come as a surprise to you that caffeine is a powerful antioxidant (4).
Health Benefits of Matcha
I know what you must be thinking, “What health benefits come from drinking matcha?”. There must be more to this than just learning if matcha makes you have a bowel movement. If you’ve read this far, you’ve waited long enough! So, let’s dive into the health benefits now.
For the purposes of this article, we will focus on how matcha helps prevent inflammation and improve gut health. Rest assured, the health benefits of matcha reach far beyond these two categories, however.
You may be surprised to know that matcha green tea also has antiviral properties, cardio-protective effects, anti-carcinogenic properties, the potential to help regulate carbohydrate metabolism, the ability to help improve cognitive function, and prevent neurodegenerative disorders as well (3, 4).
Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to miss this part!
Chronic inflammation is a big hitter when it comes to the progression of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disorders, and inflammatory bowel disease, to name a few (5).
The body is designed to maintain a delicate balance between (harmful) free radical production and (helpful) antioxidant defense mechanisms (5). When this equilibrium is disturbed it creates oxidative stress that promotes inflammation and therefore chronic disease, if left untreated (5).
You must be wondering, “What makes matcha green tea anti-inflammatory?”. Truth be told, there are several factors, but mainly the presence of antioxidants; namely polyphenols (flavonoids, catechins).
Understanding the gut microbiome gives key insight into learning exactly how does matcha make you poop. Are you familiar with the saying “you are what you eat”? That’s what comes to mind when I think of the effect that the gut microbiome has on one’s health and wellbeing.
Over the last decade, it has become increasingly evident that what we put in our mouth effects the health of our gut and in turn, the way that we feel and function.Matter of fact, diet is thought to be one of the main environmental factors behind shaping the ecosystem of the gut microbiome (2).
Let me explain, because green tea is no exception here. It’s coming to light that many of the health benefits provided by green tea to the gut microbiome stem from the guts ability to breakdown and absorb antioxidants in the colon (1).
Finally, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea are more readily absorbed in the gut. They help improve chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and other inflammatory diseases and infections that affect the overall health of individuals (2).
Are we starting to ring any bells here that may help answer the question, “does matcha make you poop?”? It should all start making sense now that we’ve discussed the microbiome and gut health.
Best Way to Drink Matcha
This is where it gets personal, and my daughter and I disagree. We are both matcha lovers, however she prefers to drink an iced matcha latte and I love a warm soothing oat milk matcha latte. I believe that’s also one of the qualities that I love about this superfood beverage, its flexibility. There’s a little something for everyone.
For starters, let’s dive into the matcha latte. A matcha latte is such a pleasure to drink. It’s a likely entry point for new matcha lovers, because the milk and sweetener take the edge off the earthy flavor of the matcha green tea powder.
Isn’t it interesting to know that there are endless ways to make a matcha latte. You can choose between dairy or non-dairy milks and various sweeteners, such as maple syrup, simple syrup, and honey. You can even add cinnamon or pumpkin spice if you are looking for a seasonal, Fall treat.
The customization continues when you decide if you prefer to drink your matcha latte iced, hot, or maybe even a little frothy. You can essentially create your own custom beverage that not only tastes good but is also great for your health.
Matcha Green Tea
For more seasoned matcha drinkers or even those of you that just love an earthy tasting warm pick-me-up, a matcha green tea may be just what you are looking for. I like to describe plain matcha green tea as an acquired taste.
You may agree that matcha green tea tastes stronger than the result of seeping a green tea bag in a cup of hot water, however you can season it much the same way, as desired. Honey or a little sweetener and a dash of cream will make this antioxidant-filled beverage delightful.
Does Matcha Make You Poop?
Now on to the fun part and what you’ve been waiting for! Does drinking matcha actually make you poop? As I alluded to earlier, the answer is two-fold. Let me explain.
There’s currently no conclusive research to support that green tea makes you have a bowel movement. Like coffee, matcha green tea contains caffeine, which is noted to have a laxative effect on the colon. In fact, the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders states that drinking too much caffeine could lead to diarrhea.
To answer this question more fully, I would like to point to the previously noted effects that matcha has on the gut microbiome. A healthy, balanced gut microbiota is going to promote healthy, regular bowel movements.
So, if you don’t get that immediate urge to run to the bathroom after you drink matcha, rest assured that including matcha in your diet daily may lead to healthy bathroom habits in the long run.
The Bottom Line
So yes, matcha can make you poop after all!
Just remember, we are all created differently and no one thing is going to solve all your bathroom woes. Rather, following an anti-inflammatory diet, getting regular exercise, making sure to hydrate adequately, and enjoying matcha green tea regularly will likely give you the results you are looking for.
The purpose of this information is to inform and empower the reader to make positive lifestyle changes. The intent is not to replace medical advice or instructions given by your doctor or healthcare provider.
Angela Lago is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and holds a Master’s of Science in Nutrition. She is passionate about researching the connection between gut health and mental wellness. Learn more about Angela’s journey from being depressed, anxious, and sleep deprived to being happy, healthy, and thriving!