Dietary minerals are very important for our health.
A sustained lack of a specific mineral results in a corresponding illness, much like what happens with vitamins.
While not a rich source of them, green tea leaves have many minerals. The catch is, that the only way to get a significant amount of them is to eat the leaves, not brew them.
This is another reason why matcha is a healthy tea, because the leaves are in powdered form.
The minerals with the greater amount in green tea leaves are potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. In a lesser amount we have manganese, zinc, copper and iron.
I’ll be using amounts relating to sencha. Since it’s the most consumed tea in Japan, many studies focus on it.
For convenience, I used 100 grams as the basis for comparisons. Of course, having that amount of tea leaves in one day isn’t feasible (that’s about 50 bowls of matcha), but my intention is just to give you an idea.
Also, keep in mind that sencha leaves are dry. The fact that there’s little water content means that it has in general more nutrients available per gram of weight, so comparing it with non-dry vegetables isn’t really fair.
Potassium is an essential mineral for the human body. It is important in nerve function, and to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.
The daily reference value of potassium intake for adults is 4,700 mg. A popular food high in potassium is the banana, with 358 mg of potassium in 100 grams.
In 100 grams of sencha loose leaves, you’ll get 2,200 mg. In gyokuro leaves it’s even higher: 2,800 mg of potassium!
As we all know, calcium is crucial for our bones. It’s also important in the function of blood cells.
A cup of milk has 276 mg of calcium, while 100 grams of sencha leaves contain 450 mg.
The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg.
Phosphorus plays a major role in the structure of the DNA molecule. In addition, phosphorus is present in ATP, which can be thought of the body’s source of energy.
Like calcium, the recommended daily intake of phosphorus is 1,000 mg. You can find a good amount of phosphorus in beef, and especially liver. In 100 grams of liver there are 387 mg of it.
In 100 grams of sencha, there’s 290 mg of phosphorus.
All enzymes utilizing or synthesizing ATP require the presence of magnesium ions for their function. Magnesium is also needed for the structural development of bone.
Our bodies need 400 mg of magnesium per day. A good source of magnesium is spinach, with 79 mg of it in 100 grams of spinach.
100 grams of sencha has 200 mg in it.
Although manganese is an essential nutrient, the human body needs only 2 mg of it per day. It’s a cofactor in many vital enzyme functions.
Ground cloves contain a lot of manganese: 30 mg per 100 grams of cloves. In contrast, 100 grams of sencha leaves only amount to 5.5 mg of manganese.
Involved in different aspects of cellular metabolism, zinc also plays a role in immune function. Since our bodies can’t effectively store zinc, we must include it in our daily diet.
The recommended daily intake of zinc is 15 mg. You can achieve that intake with 100 grams of raw oysters, since you’ll get 16.6 grams of zinc.
With sencha, you’d just get 3.2 grams of zinc in 100 grams of loose leaves.
Although we only need 0.9 mg of copper per day, it’s nevertheless an essential mineral. It’s involved in melanin formation, transportation of oxygen, and it’s present in many enzymes.
Whole, dried sesame seeds are especially rich in copper, with 4.1 mg in 100 grams. The same amount of sencha, on the other hand, has 1.3 mg of copper.
Another necessary trace element, iron is needed for many proteins, the most important one being hemoglobin.
We need a daily intake of 18 mg of iron per day. 100 grams of lentils contain 7.5 mg of iron. This time sencha leaves win, you’ll find 20 mg of iron per 100 grams of leaves.
Sorry for the long list, but I wanted to have the complete info 🙂
Don’t try to get your daily intake of minerals solely through tea leaves. A balanced diet is a much better approach.
Still, it’s nice to know that you get many additional nutrients in green tea leaves, although in a small amount.