Could Matcha Be the Answer to Your Seasonal Depression?

BY ABBIE BLAUSER

Many of us are met with depression at some point in our lives. I’ve battled bouts of depression throughout my young adult life, and it can be a confusing and debilitating experience that can happen to anyone at any time. With the proper care and understanding, depression can be treated in effective, holistic ways starting with our internal health.The good news is, there may be a natural treatment to keep us feeling our best –– matcha.

Matcha has so many healthy benefits. The routine alone of preparing matcha is  said to support the balance of the nervous system. By creating a morning ritual, we remind our body that we’re not in “fight-or-flight” mode, like our fast-paced society has trained us to adopt. Although, the amino acid L-theanine (found in matcha) relieves anxiety and depression at an even smaller level. L-theanine and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) work together to slow the release of hormones firing in the brain. And the low caffeine content in matcha provides sustained, no crash energy which can also help to lower the risk of depression. Today you’ll leave here better equipped to fight off these winter (spring, summer, and fall…) blues!

The Power of Routine

Some of my best days start with a perfect cup of Whimsy Official Ceremonial Grade Matcha, a delicious breakfast, and a podcast. Some of my down-days are instantly made better while whisking up some matcha to pick me up. It always does the trick.

Time spent at home during the pandemic has caused me to fall into unsupportive habits like eating a little too much ice cream, staying up too late, and then sleeping in too late. Starting this new year, I knew it was time to pick up a new routine and practice more self-care.

I’ve always known that a morning routine can support my mental health, it just took some discipline to get back into it. Here’s how routine supports mental health: it starts your day off right, reserves brain power for future decision making, and reduces anxiety by creating predictable situations.

However, the most important part is to find out what morning routine works best for you. Whether it may be starting your day with sixty minutes of exercise or ten minutes of meditation, it is important to do what makes you feel well and prepare your mind and body for the day ahead.

The best part of my morning is enjoying matcha. With the Whimsy Official Artisanal Matcha Kit, you have everything you need to start your matcha ritual. The beautiful, hand-carved Japanese chasen enhances your matcha ritual while also making your drink ultra-smooth.

Above: Whimsy Official Ceremonial Grade Matcha via @sarahshabacon

Amino Acid L-Theanine and Neurotransmitters

Before I researched L-theanine, I was completely unaware of its potent content in my beloved matcha. L-theanine is an amino acid known to encourage relaxation when ingested. It is the predominant amino acid in green tea, and it increases in concentration in top-tier grade teas. L-theanine is also the component that gives matcha its rich, umami taste.

L-theanine works hard in the reformation of gamma aminobutyric acid, known also as GABA. (Do you remember this from high school biology class?) GABA blocks brain signals, or neurotransmissions, to slow the nervous system and relieve anxiety. L-theanine and GABA work together to provide matcha lovers with alert relaxation, increased focus, and less anxiety.

So, L-theanine and GABA may sound like (less) foreign ideas to you now, but I’m sure you’ve heard of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Oh, sweet, sweet dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. (Yes, I mean the big O). Serotonin is the neurotransmitter associated with happiness and mood stabilization. A study shows that consumption of matcha supports the production of both of these valuable neurotransmitters.

Above: Whimsy Official Ceremonial Grade Matcha via @deanaduka

Caffeine

Lastly, let’s talk about the caffeine content of matcha. Matcha actually contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Per 1 teaspoon of Whimsy Official’s Ceremonial Grade Matcha, it contains 70 mg of caffeine. Thanks again to L-theanine, the release of the caffeine in your body is slower and more sustained to prevent a jittery buzz.

More importantly, the benefits of caffeine for treating depression are especially notable. A meta-analysis of caffeine consumption and depression showed that caffeine consumption decreases the risk for depression. So, drink up!

Here’s the bottom line. You’re here because you love matcha too (and you’re also a human being with emotions that are difficult to navigate in a world that is constantly changing). We’ve learned that a healthy routine is truly supportive of a healthy mind. L-theanine is the badass ingredient in matcha that makes us feel less anxious and provides sustained, alert energy. And, we really shouldn’t feel bad about drinking caffeine to feel better. The science is there.

Ultimately, we hope you can find solace in our growing community and delight in our thoughtful products. We also hope that you make Whimsy Official matcha a part of your everyday self-care routine.