Matcha green tea and mango cheesecake (no refined carbs) and can collagen assist with recovery after training?

Matcha and mango cheesecakeMangoes are now appearing in the fruit and vegetable aisle signifying that summer is approaching here on the Gold Coast – my favourite time of year. The long hours of daylight and the warmer weather make training at 5am so much more enjoyable. Although I try not to eat too much fruit due to the high sugar content (maximum of one piece per day), I could not resist making a dessert featuring this delicious fruit. I wanted to make a dessert with minimal refined carbohydrates and a lower calorie content. I combined a matcha green tea layer with a mango layer in this cheesecake set with gelatin. The slightly bitter matcha green tea worked well with the sweet mango.

This cheesecake contains a number of potentially beneficial compounds for your health. Matcha green tea is abundant in polyphenols known as catechins. The major catechin in green tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a known antioxidant (1). Matcha green tea was found to contain 137 times the EGCG compared to a commercial brand of green tea and at least three times the amount compared to the largest value for other green teas cited in the literature (2).

I have previously discussed the potential benefits of gelatin for your skin (read about it here). Gelatin is a mixture of peptides (small amino acid chains) derived from collagen. However, I was curious to know if any research has been conducted on gelatin/collagen peptides and exercise recovery. I wondered about this because I made this tasty cheesecake with gelatin after my recent trail running race that I placed second in (read about my preparation here). Could the gelatin assist with my recovery?

It seems that the majority of research looking at collagen peptides has focused on skin health and degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis. Very few studies have looked at the impact of collagen peptides on recovery and body composition because it is generally believed that the relatively low biological value of collagen would not promote muscular protein synthesis. Collagen is considered to have low biological value mainly due to the low amounts of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) and lysine. However, I came across a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition that investigated the effect of post-exercise protein supplementation with collagen peptides on muscle mass and muscle function during a 3-month resistance training program in elderly men (3). The scientists found that compared to a placebo, supplementation with 15 grams of collagen peptides per day in combination with resistance training three times a week further improved body composition by increasing fat-free mass and muscle strength.

The authors of this study speculate that their results can be explained by the rapid digestibility and absorption of collagen peptides. The high arginine and glycine content of collagen may also explain their results as these amino acids are both important substrates for the synthesis of creatine in the human body. Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve muscle mass and muscle function in some but not all studies (4). Collagen peptides may also enhance microcirculation (circulation of the blood in the smallest blood vessels to tissues), thus promoting amino acid delivery and muscle growth.

One final explanation is that collagen peptides are able to effectively maintain nitrogen balance. Nitrogen is a fundamental component of amino acids which make up proteins. Positive nitrogen balance indicates that the intake of nitrogen is greater than the loss of nitrogen from the body, therefore there is an increase in the total body pool of protein. In a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the effects of supplementation with whey and a collagen based protein hydrolysate on nitrogen balance were compared in older women. Despite the low protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of collagen (the PDCAAS is a method for measuring the protein value in human nutrition), women who consumed the test diet containing the collagen hydrolysate maintained nitrogen balance. Also, women who consumed the test diet containing whey had a small decrease in body mass with no change in body fat while women consuming the collagen hydrolysate supplement showed no decrease in body mass (5). This study suggests that supplementation with collagen can maintain nitrogen balance and muscle mass, although this study only included 9 women.

While there has been little research into the role of collagen peptides in recovery, the studies above make me think that gelatin could assist with muscle repair and growth. All the more reason for me to eat this tasty matcha green tea and mango cheesecake after my trail running race!

Matcha and mango cheesecake 2Matcha green tea and mango cheesecake

Ingredients

Base

1/3 cup walnuts

1/3 cup coconut flour

½ tablespoon stevia (I like Natvia brand stevia)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons homemade coconut butter (find out how to make it here) or coconut oil

½ cup coconut milk

Mango layer

1 medium mango, roughly chopped

½ of a 250 gram block of light cream cheese

½ cup reduced fat coconut cream

2 tablespoons stevia

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons gelatin dissolved in 3 tablespoons boiling water

Matcha green tea layer

½ of a 250 gram block of light cream cheese

½ cup reduced fat coconut cream

½ cup Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder

1 tablespoon stevia

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons gelatin dissolved in 3 tablespoons boiling water

Utensils

Measuring cups and spoons

Food processor

Large mixing bowl

Spoon

20cm x 20cm baking tray

Baking paper

Small mixing bowl

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  • Add the walnuts to the food processor and process until they resemble the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Tip the processed walnuts into the large mixing bowl.
  • Add in the coconut flour, stevia and ground ginger and mix to combine. Add in the vanilla extract, coconut butter or oil and coconut milk and mix well. Tip the base mixture into a 20cm x 20cm baking tray lined with baking paper and press the base down firmly and evenly with wet hands. Bake in the oven at 160°C for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
  • Take the base out of the oven and allow it to cool while preparing the matcha green tea layer and mango layer.
  • For the mango layer add the chopped mango, light cream cheese, reduced fat coconut cream, stevia and vanilla extract into the food processor. Process until a smooth, even mixture is achieved. Add the dissolved gelatin to the food processor and process briefly until it is mixed well through the mango layer.
  • Pour the mango layer over the base and spread it out evenly and smoothly with the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge and allow to set while preparing the matcha green tea layer (I was impatient and did not allow the mango layer to set completely hence my mango and matcha layer fused together).
  • For the matcha green tea layer add the light cream cheese, reduced fat coconut cream, Greek yoghurt, matcha green tea powder, stevia and vanilla extract into the rinsed food processor. Process until a smooth, even mixture is achieved. Add the dissolved gelatin to the food processor and process briefly until it is mixed well through the matcha layer.
  • Pour the matcha layer over the partially set mango layer and spread it out evenly and smoothly with the back of a spoon. Place the cheesecake back into the fridge and allow it to set completely (at least 3 hours) before slicing.
  1. Khan N, Afaq F, Saleem M, Ahmad N, & Mukhtar H (2006) Targeting multiple signaling pathways by green tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Cancer research 66(5):2500-2505.
  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. Zdzieblik D, Oesser S, Baumstark MW, Gollhofer A, & Konig D (2015) Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. The British journal of nutrition 114(8):1237-1245.
  4. Antonio J & Ciccone V (2013) The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10:36.
  5. Hays NP, Kim H, Wells AM, Kajkenova O, & Evans WJ (2009) Effects of whey and fortified collagen hydrolysate protein supplements on nitrogen balance and body composition in older women. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109(6):1082-1087.

 

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