Science & Spirit: Matcha for Anxiety, Cultured Meats, and Soy Is Redeemed

Science & Spirit: Matcha for Anxiety, Cultured Meats, and Soy Is Redeemed

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This week, the focus is the latest news in nutrition. Discover how matcha tea helps with anxiety; why “clean meat” is a label you’re likely to soon see; and how soy has gotten a thumbs-up for heart health claims. Want the details? Here we go!

Matcha Tea Reduces Anxiety

Made from powdered green tea, matcha naturally comes in a pretty, verdant color and has been booming in popularity due to its reported health benefits, such as weight loss and antioxidant properties. Researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan have found that matcha also appears to calm anxiety. Their study was done on mice, who, once fed matcha powder or matcha extract, exhibited reduced signs of anxiety. The calming effects appear to come from activated dopamine and serotonin receptors. Although more research is necessary, “the results of our study show that matcha, which has been used as a medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial to the human body,” wrote lead author Dr. Yuki Kurauchi. Want to try matcha? Check out ourvegan, gluten-free green tea ice cream recipe.

Would You Eat This?

Like self-driving cars, lab-made meats—cultured from animal cells—are coming at us in the very near future. “Cultured meat has the potential to reduce the ethical, environmental, and public health burdens associated with conventional livestock farming,” wrote researcher Christopher Bryant of the University of Bath. On the con side, some consumers may not respond to the idea of “high tech” meats. Marketing the food as “clean meat,” with the same taste, nutrition, and building blocks as traditionally farmed meats, may help make it more popular. What do you think? Are you into the idea of cultured meat? For more on this brave new world of protein, read Rabbi Rami’s funny take on it at “Luciferian Meats: We Answer to a Lower Authority.”

A New Look at Soy

To eat it or not to eat it, that is the question. Over the past 10 years, soy in the U.S. has been touted as a wonder food, then called into question. Does it contribute to breast cancer? Does it negatively impact testosterone?

When it comes to heart health, you can rest more easily. After an analysis of 46 clinical trials, scientists at the University of Toronto have found a consistent cholesterol-lowering effect. “These data strongly support the rationale behind the original FDA heart health claim for soy,” wrote David Jenkins, a professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto. “And it’s important to note that while the reduction in cholesterol was less than five percent, if you put that together with other plant-based foods in a portfolio you get a much stronger effect.”’

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