Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate: Health Benefits and Side Effects

Popular in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and other South American nations where the plant is native, yerba mate is a herbal tea brewed from the leaves and twigs of the mate plant. Yerba mate stimulates the nervous system like coffee and other teas and is most frequently eaten as an energy boost.

Numerous studies have shown that mate tea is a very nutritive beverage and that it has great effects on both physical and mental health. Nearly all of the micronutrients required by the human body are naturally present in yerba mate. Your immune system will generally improve, your body will detoxify, and many diseases will be prevented if you regularly drink mate. Yerba mate is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in addition to antioxidants and polyphenols.

What is yerba mate?

The dried leaves of the South American natural plant Ilex paraguariensis, an evergreen holly, are used to make the traditional beverage known as yerba mate.

Although it grows in the wild, this plant is also grown in plantations. Having yerba mate tea is frequently a group activity.

It is a symbol of friendship and camaraderie to share this beverage from a traditional gourd.

Yerba mate shares cultural significance with Japanese tea rituals and coffee shops in nations where it is frequently consumed.

Health Benefits of Yerba Mate

Because of the presence of compounds including xanthines, caffeoyl derivatives, and saponins, yerba mate is a rich source of antioxidants. But some of the properties that make yerba mate so strong, such its high caffeine concentration, can also harm some people’s health.

Yerba mate is perfect for sports

Starting with its caffeine content, which stimulates the nervous system and is best consumed before engaging in any kind of physical or mental activity, yerba mate is a valuable source of advantages that support the practice of sports. For athletes looking for an alternative to commercial energy drinks, try this beverage.

Mate functions as a stimulant beverage prior to exercise, being more natural than energy drinks and other sports additives. During exercise, mate promotes a more efficient metabolism of carbohydrates and reduces the buildup of lactic acid in the body, all of which lead to improved energy levels, greater physical stamina, reduced fatigue, and the capacity to train for longer periods of time. But on top of all that, a research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that yerba mate significantly boosts the pace of recovery following exercise. Mate enhances motor skills and reduces inflammation after exercise, especially in high-impact sports.

Some renowned soccer players from the national teams of Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay, including well-known figures like Leo Messi and Luis Suarez who routinely sip mate tea, are said to have benefited from yerba mate. They perform better on the field thanks to the energy boost and overall physical improvement provided by yerba mate.

However, yerba mate’s health benefits have spread beyond South America, and more and more international athletes are now consuming it. For example, French goal scorer Antoine Griezmann admitted to drinking mate tea every morning; Chinese striker Wu Lei caused controversy in Chinese media by sharing a photo of him drinking yerba mate with his teammate “El Mono” Vargas; or even Alice Beretta, an Italian national team professional hockey player.

Purifies your body

Because it lessens fluid retention and enhances renal function, yerba mate also has a diuretic and mildly laxative impact. This aids the body’s natural detoxification and toxin removal processes. This action is perfectly natural and diuretic. Yerba mate stimulates urine excretion by inhibiting the antidiuretic hormone, commonly known as arginine vasopressin (AVP) or argipressin. To keep the body hydrated, this should be matched with a healthy daily water intake of 2 liters.

Additionally, yerba mate promotes bowel movements, aiding the body’s normal process of removing waste and toxins. It is advised for those who are constipated for this reason. By including digestive herbs in your mate tea and consuming high-fiber foods, this effect can be increased.

The minimum amount of water that is advised every day is 2 liters, and experts agree that yerba mate in no way substitutes for this amount. To get the most out of yerba mate, keep a glass of water nearby in addition to your mate kit.

Natural energizing effect

Yerba mate boosts energy and concentration, favoring improved performance in daily tasks requiring focus and alertness, like studying, working, or exercising. The stimulating method is different even if the effect is comparable to that of coffee and even though both have roughly the same quantity of caffeine. Coffee’s effects can occasionally be overpowering, whereas yerba mate gradually and pleasantly “awakens” individuals. This might be as a result of the yerba mate’s caffeine being diluted in more water before being consumed sip by sip.

Mate is also visibly healthier than commercial energy drinks and hypertonic beverages, which contain high concentrations of additives like caffeine (which can occasionally be so much that it can cause insomnia and jitters), sugar (up to 10%), colorants, carbs, and electrolytes. The stimulating properties of yerba mate, on the other hand, originate from nature rather than an artificial procedure as it is a natural beverage. While these commercial beverages are not poisonous, they also do not add much to the body compared to mate’s myriad health advantages.

As a particularly unique energy source, mate activates neurons and supports mental function, including conscious consciousness, memory, and reasoning. It also contains theophylline and other xanthines, whose calming properties aid in the regulation of all bodily functions. Because yerba mate has a dual impact that is both stimulating and soothing at the same time, it appears that it has a more restorative effect on the mind and body than other beverages containing caffeine. Throughout the day, sipping mate tea may be both peaceful and energetic. Yerba mate also boosts your mood and gives you physical energy, but it has no effect on the quality of your sleep or slumber.

Improves digestion

By promoting bowel movement and the flow of bile and digestive juices, drinking mate tea helps digestion. As long as you also consume 2 liters of water each day, yerba mate is a fantastic ally in the fight against constipation. The impact of yerba mate on intestinal activity is a known fact. It also assists the digestive system by promoting a healthy fluid intake. It acts by inducing gastrointestinal system contractions and motions. (that is why sometimes yerba mate has a slight laxative effect).

The most frequently used digestive herbs are dandelion (digestive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic), sage (digestive, antibiotic, astringent, antioxidant, and relaxing), rosemary (digestive, purifying, stimulating), pennyroyal (digestive, aphrodisiac, and soothing during menstrual discomfort), and mint. (digestive, analgesic, anti-inflammatory). So don’t be afraid to use some of these herbs to make your own yerba mate infusion.

High-fiber foods are especially beneficial when combined with one another. Fresh fruits like apples, pineapples, and oranges (you can even add a few slices to the infusion) are some of the greatest snacks to consume with your mate tea and promote digestion, along with high-fiber crackers and nuts. The energy boost from yerba mate also makes it possible to engage in healthy routines that benefit the digestive system, such exercising and playing sports.

Regulates cholesterol and helps improve blood pressure

It has been demonstrated in numerous studies that yerba mate promotes cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels by 15% to 18%, which can help prevent disorders like arteriosclerosis. Additionally, it has a mild vasodilator and hypotensive action that may be advantageous for patients with high blood pressure. This is because yerba mate increases the activity of saponins, which are cardio-protective substances that help the body lower LDL cholesterol (commonly known as “bad cholesterol”) much more quickly than usual. Thus, saponins raise HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

To build healthy cells, the body requires cholesterol. However, if there is an excessive amount of cholesterol in the circulation, it is oxidized and forms fatty deposits that block the arteries, increasing the chance of developing specific diseases including arteriosclerosis and other cardiovascular disorders. As a hypotensive vasodilator and contributor to cardiovascular health, yerba mate’s antioxidant-rich polyphenols, vitamin C, magnesium, and manganese actions work together to inhibit cholesterol oxidation and prevent its buildup in the arteries.

Consequently, yerba mate is a great natural strategy to lower your levels of harmful cholesterol in conjunction to a good diet and exercise.

Yerba mate is antioxidant

Traditional yerba mate infusions are more potent antioxidants than red wine, green tea, black tea, and orange juice. Yerba mate’s strong polyphenol content (including chlorogenic and gallic acids) helps to restore cellular balance and fight against the damaging effects of free radicals, which hasten aging and the onset of chronic diseases.

However, the body may not be able to adequately absorb polyphenols just because they are present in food or beverages. What therefore is the key of yerba mate’s remarkable antioxidant capacity? This may be because of how we consume mate, which traditionally involves adding hot water to effectively extract all of the antioxidants. This has been suggested by numerous studies over the years. In other words, although there are alternative methods to consume mate, such as cold brew (called “terer√©”) and boiled mate (in tea bags), the traditional hot mate tea, where the most yerba mate is used, can contain up to 90% more antioxidants than the well-known green tea.

During the manufacturing process, yerba mate’s antioxidant power can also be increased, particularly during the “aging” stage, where it is carefully preserved for between 6 and 15 months to reach maturity and develop its distinct flavor, color, and aroma. Therefore, it is crucial to select yerba mate that has through a trustworthy production process. The addition of natural herbs like mint, pennyroyal, peppermint, and lemon balm, which combine their curative characteristics with those of the yerba mate to increase the antioxidant impact, is another component that significantly influences the Yerba Mate’s antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants strengthen the body’s defenses and stop cell aging, which is frequently sped up by stress from daily living and an excess of free radicals. Because of this, yerba mate boosts a person’s ability to defend and prevent themselves.

Prevents diseases

The indigenous Guarani people of South America have used the potent chemicals in mate tea for healing purposes since ancient times. Mate’s curative properties, however, are not a forest legend. Throughout history, the benefits of mate use and its efficiency in treating specific disorders have been amply documented.

As an illustration, a study from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil that was reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that consuming mate tea frequently can help prevent and even reverse Type 2 diabetes. This study, which involved both diabetic and pre-diabetic patients, demonstrated that yerba mate infusions can help control lipids and blood sugar. When used in conjunction with a healthy diet, yerba mate is also very effective at lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides in pre-diabetic patients, which lowers their risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Yerba mate lowers the risk of arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular illnesses by limiting the buildup of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the arteries. It also raises HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” which lowers the risk of heart ailments. Yerba Mate contains polyphenols that shield cardiac tissue and stop cell death brought on by reduced blood flow.

Full of nutrients

Numerous studies have shown that mate tea is a very nutritive beverage and that it has great effects on both physical and mental health. Nearly all of the micronutrients required by the human body are naturally present in yerba mate. Your immune system will generally improve, your body will detoxify, and many diseases will be prevented if you regularly drink mate. Yerba mate is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in addition to antioxidants and polyphenols. The majority of the vitamins in yerba mate come from the B complex, which contains 8 of the 13 necessary vitamins for DNA metabolism, cell renewal, and protein and fat metabolism.

Along with many other advantages, it also contains vital minerals like magnesium and potassium, which enhance cardiac function. It has flavonoids, tannins, trace minerals, and chlorophyll, which provide it additional qualities and health advantages. Theobromine and theophylline, which act on the central nervous system with a strong effect that is both invigorating and restorative at the same time, make up for the caffeine concentration in the beverage.

In reality, yerba mate satisfies all criteria for classification as a superfood: it has a potent impact on health; it is a rich source of vitamins and minerals; and it contains a variety of phytonutrients and phytochemicals, including cell regulators, antioxidants, detoxifying agents, and phytoestrogens.

The well-known travel magazine CNN Travel lists yerba mate as one of the world’s “most surprising and pleasing discoveries” and notes that it has more antioxidants than green tea. Yerba mate is ranked above the top-selling energy drink on this list. Discover why mate is one of the best drinks in the world by reading more.

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Additionally beneficial to mental and emotional health, yerba mate is regarded as a natural antidepressant. Because of this, it is regarded as a “good companion” at all times of the day. For instance, drinking mate in the morning will provide you motivation and energy for the day because it contains caffeine. However, the yerba mate energy is kind on the body and mind and has no negative side effects. And because mate tea is consumed slowly, the body absorbs this energy gradually. Since mate tea has relatively little impact on your sleep cycle compared to other beverages like coffee, tea, or commercial energy drinks, it typically does not cause insomnia.

Additionally, particularly in Argentina, mate is customarily consumed in drinking sessions known as “mateadas” with family, friends, and coworkers. The ideal custom for building good memories with your loved ones and fostering a vibrant social life.

Helps you maintain a healthy weight

Yerba mate is extremely low in calories, has no fat, and almost no sodium, making it simple to incorporate into any diet or routine for anyone attempting to lose weight or eat healthier. More information about yerba mate and weight loss can be found here.

Mate tea decreases weight gain due to fluid retention and aids in the removal of impurities because it is a diuretic and purifying infusion. When you exercise, for example, yerba mate gives you the energy you need. Although yerba mate shouldn’t be a substitute for meals, it is true that drinking mate produces satiety and generally decreases appetite, which can aid in weight loss. It also speeds up metabolism and helps you burn more calories. Additionally, by improving mood, it helps stop what is known as “emotional appetite,” or stress-related hunger.

The numerous nutritional benefits of yerba mate, however, make it the ideal addition to a healthy lifestyle. These benefits go beyond weight loss to support long-term wellbeing. The health advantages of yerba mate make frequent consumption highly advised for maintaining good physical, mental, and emotional health.

In fact, yerba mate is a great ally for individuals who take pride in their aesthetic routine and enjoy keeping an eye on their looks in general. For instance, it benefits skin and hair quite well. Yerba mate extract is used to make shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, soaps, and even bath salts.

How to prepare yerba mate

Yerba mate is typically served in a gourd, also referred to as a calabash.

The leaves are typically strained out with a metal straw that has a filter on the bottom end.

To make mate, place dried or toasted mate leaves in the bottom third of the calabash before adding hot water.

It can be made in a French press if you don’t have a calabash.

Before using fresh leaves to prepare a new batch, the tea may be repeatedly topped off with hot water and is frequently served with milk, lemon juice, or burnt sugar.

Side Effects

Consult your doctor before using yerba mate or any other supplement because it includes a strong combination of caffeine, antioxidants, and other ingredients. Prior to consuming yerba mate, think about the following:

Carcinogenic Properties
While some studies have suggested that yerba mate may have anticarcinogenic qualities similar to those of green tea, other studies have suggested a possible connection between yerba mate and throat and mouth malignancies, particularly when consumed at high temperatures. To definitively establish how yerba mate affects cancer development in frequent and moderate drinkers, more research is required.

Stimulant Effects
Similar to coffee, yerba mate consumption increases alertness and energy through nervous system stimulation. Caffeinated beverages like yerba mate, for some persons with hypertension, heart disease, or heart arrhythmias, may result in consequences like elevated blood pressure, a higher risk of miscarrying during pregnancy, and elevated blood lipids.

Bottom Line

Some people may not be able to tolerate yerba mate, and consistently consuming it in extremely high temperatures may raise your chance of developing some cancers.

However, this beverage also has a number of advantageous substances that have been connected to remarkable health advantages.

If you want to try yerba mate, start out gently and wait until it has had a chance to cool before sipping.

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