Strawberry and Matcha cheesecake plus what is so good about polyphenols?

Strawberry matcha cheesecakeThere is something subtle yet unique about the flavour of Matcha green tea powder. The colour is awesome too; almost soothing and peaceful. I added avocado to the Matcha green tea layer of this Strawberry and Matcha cheesecake to enhance the colour, and for the creaminess. And would you believe that there are no refined carbohydrates, meaning no added sugars or grain flours, and no butter in this cheesecake! Of course this cheesecake is extremely tasty, too.

Strawberry matcha cheesecake 2Furthermore, Matcha green tea is extremely abundant in antioxidants. More specifically, Matcha green tea is very rich in the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a potent antioxidant (1). In fact, Matcha green tea was found to contain 137 times the amount of EGCG compared to a commercial brand of green tea (2). What is so good about polyphenols I hear you ask? Polyphenols have a range of important biological properties in both plants and animals. These compounds have antioxidant function and are the most abundant antioxidants in the diet (3). There has been a lot of research conducted on polyphenols because oxidative stress is associated with many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and aging. It is therefore believed that natural antioxidant compounds, such as polyphenols, which can scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS), can be used in the treatment of such diseases (4).

Strawberry matcha cheesecake 3Epidemiological and animal studies have suggested that EGCG shows protective effects in neurological disorders by inhibiting the aggregation of amyloidogenic proteins. The aggregation of these proteins occurs in many neurological diseases (5-8).

Additionally, studies in animal models and human cells have shown that EGCG, as well as (-)-epicatechin, the polyphenol found in cocoa beans, may have the ability to reduce the damaging inflammatory reactions associated with diabetes, atherosclerosis and allergies (9-12).

So not only does this dessert taste good and look cool, but it also has potential health benefits.

Strawberry and Matcha cheesecake

Ingredients

Base

½ cup shredded coconut

½ cup coconut flour

½ tablespoon stevia

1 tablespoon homemade coconut butter or oil, melted

½ cup light coconut milk

Matcha layer

½ a 250 gram tub of light cream cheese

½ cup of light coconut milk

½ an avocado

1 teaspoon of Matcha green tea powder

1 tablespoon stevia

½ a teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg white

Strawberry layer

½ a 250 gram tub of light cream cheese

½ a cup of light coconut milk

½ cup Greek yoghurt

3 large strawberries, tops removed and roughly chopped

1 ½ – 2 tablespoons stevia (depending on how sweet you want this)

½ a teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

¼ cup shredded coconut

1 egg white

Extra strawberry to slice and put on top

Utensils

Measuring cups and spoons

Large mixing bowl

Dessert spoon

20cm x 20cm baking tray

Baking paper (not required if you are using a non-stick baking tray such as a silicone based tray)

Sharp knife

Food processor

Method

  • For the base add the shredded coconut, coconut flour and stevia to a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine. Add in the coconut butter or oil and coconut milk and mix well to combine the dry and wet ingredients.
  • Tip the base mixture into a 20cm x 20cm baking tray lined with baking paper and press it down firmly with wet hands. Bake the base in the oven at 160°C for 15 minutes or until the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Remove the base from the oven and allow it to cool while you prepare the Matcha layer.
  • For the Matcha layer, add the cream cheese, coconut milk, avocado, Matcha green tea powder, stevia and vanilla extract to a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth and an even consistency is achieved. Add in the egg white and process until it is combined.
  • Pour the Matcha layer over the base and spread it out evenly with the back of a dessert spoon. Bake the Matcha layer in the oven at 160°C for about 10 minutes until it starts to go firm. Remove it from the oven while you prepare the Strawberry layer.
  • For the Strawberry layer add all the ingredients to the food processor except the shredded coconut and egg white. Process until the mixture is fairly smooth and an even consistency is achieved (some small chunks of strawberry will remain). Add in the shredded coconut and egg white and pulse until combined.
  • Pour the Strawberry layer over the Matcha layer and spread it out evenly with the back of a dessert spoon. Place the cheesecake back into the oven and bake at 160°C for about 50 minutes or until the cheesecake is completely firm.
  • Open the oven and allow the cheesecake to deflate before removing it from the oven (I have found that this prevents the cheesecake from cracking). Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before removing it from the baking tray and slicing.
  1. Singh BN, Shankar S, & Srivastava RK (2011) Green tea catechin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG): mechanisms, perspectives and clinical applications. Biochemical pharmacology 82(12):1807-1821.
  2. Weiss DJ & Anderton CR (2003) Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Journal of chromatography. A 1011(1-2):173-180.
  3. Scalbert A, Johnson IT, & Saltmarsh M (2005) Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond. The American journal of clinical nutrition 81(1 Suppl):215S-217S.
  4. Shay J, et al. (2015) Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic Effects of (-)-Epicatechin and Other Polyphenols in Cancer, Inflammation, Diabetes, and Neurodegeneration. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity 2015:181260.
  5. Bieschke J, et al. (2010) EGCG remodels mature alpha-synuclein and amyloid-beta fibrils and reduces cellular toxicity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(17):7710-7715.
  6. Meng F, Abedini A, Plesner A, Verchere CB, & Raleigh DP (2010) The flavanol (-)-epigallocatechin 3-gallate inhibits amyloid formation by islet amyloid polypeptide, disaggregates amyloid fibrils, and protects cultured cells against IAPP-induced toxicity. Biochemistry 49(37):8127-8133.
  7. Porat Y, Abramowitz A, & Gazit E (2006) Inhibition of amyloid fibril formation by polyphenols: structural similarity and aromatic interactions as a common inhibition mechanism. Chemical biology & drug design 67(1):27-37.
  8. Zhang T, Zhang J, Derreumaux P, & Mu Y (2013) Molecular mechanism of the inhibition of EGCG on the Alzheimer Abeta(1-42) dimer. The journal of physical chemistry. B 117(15):3993-4002.
  9. Kim MJ, et al. (2004) Inhibitory effects of epicatechin on interleukin-1beta-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in RINm5F cells and rat pancreatic islets by down-regulation of NF-kappaB activation. Biochemical pharmacology 68(9):1775-1785.
  10. Morrison M, et al. (2014) Epicatechin attenuates atherosclerosis and exerts anti-inflammatory effects on diet-induced human-CRP and NFkappaB in vivo. Atherosclerosis 233(1):149-156.
  11. Singh A, et al. (2014) Identification of epicatechin as one of the key bioactive constituents of polyphenol-enriched extracts that demonstrate an anti-allergic effect in a murine model of food allergy. The British journal of nutrition 112(3):358-368.
  12. Ognjenovic J, et al. (2014) Interactions of epigallo-catechin 3-gallate and ovalbumin, the major allergen of egg white. Food chemistry 164:36-43.

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