The Health Benefits of Yerba Mate Tea
Are you getting your daily dose of caffeine from coffee? Energy drinks? Soft drinks? Those may get the job done, but they don’t do anything more. Filled with artificial flavors and sugar, they may even be doing more harm than good.
Yerba Mate Tea may be the game changer.
This tea, from the yerba mate ilex paraguariensis leaf, originates from Southern America, and was traditionally used for numerous health benefits, such as alleviating fatigue, providing antioxidant properties, and supporting cardiovascular health. Over the past few decades, it has made its way across the world and has become increasingly popular in the United States. (1)
Continue reading to find out the reasons why yerba mate may be worth a try.
Yerba mate is mostly recognized for its caffeine content. If you are tired of the same old coffee in the morning, yerba mate is a great alternative; it contains nearly the same amount of caffeine as brewed coffee and contains significantly more than black and green tea.
Brewed Coffee (8 fl oz.): 95mg caffeine
Yerba Mate Tea (8 fl oz.): 85mg Caffeine
Black Tea (8 fl oz.): 42mg caffeine
Green Tea (8 fl oz.): 30 mg caffeine
What is it about “caffeine” that gives us that energy boost? Caffeine is a stimulant, which stimulates the activity of the central nervous system, giving you that rush of adrenaline and energized feeling.
The effects of caffeine peak roughly about an hour after consumption and last anywhere from 4-6 hours which is just enough to get you through the morning, through a workout, study session whatever it is you are looking to be alert and awake for!
Some research suggest that Yerba Mate tea has a high antioxidant capacity and may have some anticancer properties. Due to the high content of polyphenols and caffeoyl derivatives— nutrients found in plant-based foods, high in antioxidants with various health benefits.
Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that leads to the formation of free radicals—cancer causing agents. Oxidation is caused by many things in our everyday lives including stress, pollution, alcohol, exercise, intake of carcinogens, smoking and more.
While antioxidants are found in many plant-based items, mate tea has a higher antioxidant capacity when compared to green and black tea due to the nature and the processing methods of the mate leaves. (3)
Heart Health Benefits
Mate tea may also affect lipid metabolism according to some studies. In some animal studies, it was shown to lower atherosclerosis which is caused by the build up of plaque near and around the heart, related to the consumption of high cholesterol.
Hand in hand with lowering the risk of atherosclerosis other studies suggest that yerba mate may be capable of vasorelaxation, which causes the arteries to dilate allowing blood to flow.
These effects suggest that the tea may help lower the risk of heart disease such as heart attacks.
Weight Loss and Appetite Control
Yerba Mate also shows some promise in weight loss benefits. In various studies YM has shown to increase fat oxidation, after continuous use, leading to weight loss.
In other studies, the tea shows to increase feelings of being full and a suppressed appetite, which will result in reduced intake.
While there is some evidence to support these health benefits, as with most things, it’s best to enjoy yerba mate in moderation. There are some potential side effects if consumed in large amounts. Those with caffeine sensitivity may want to be extra cautious as the tea does contain a generous amount of caffeine. Excess caffeine may cause dehydration as it is a diuretic, as well as headaches, and anxiety symptoms.
Women who are pregnant and children should also take extra precautions with the consumption of the tea. If taking any medications, consult with your physician before consuming to make sure there are no drug nutrient interactions.
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1) Barroso MV, Graça-reis A, Cattani-cavalieri I, Gitirana LB, Valenca SS, Lanzetti M. Mate tea reduces high fat diet-induced liver and metabolic disorders in mice. Biomed Pharmacother. 2019;109:1547-1555.
2) Alkhatib A, Atcheson R. Yerba Maté (Ilex paraguariensis) Metabolic, Satiety, and Mood State Effects at Rest and during Prolonged Exercise. Nutrients. 2017;9(8)
3) Heck CI, De mejia EG. Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): a comprehensive review on chemistry, health implications, and technological considerations. J Food Sci. 2007;72(9):R138-51.
4) Filip R, López P, Giberti G, Coussio J, Ferraro G. Phenolic compounds in seven South American Ilex species. Fitoterapia. 2001;72(7):774-8.
5) Souza SJ, Petrilli AA, Teixeira AM, et al. Effect of chocolate and mate tea on the lipid profile of individuals with HIV/AIDS on antiretroviral therapy: A clinical trial. Nutrition. 2017;43-44:61-68.
6) FoodData Central Search Results. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171890/nutrients. Accessed February 3, 2020.
7) Katherine Zeratsky RD. Is yerba mate your cup of tea? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/yerba-mate/faq-20058343. Published January 15, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2020.