If you don’t know anything about yerba mate tea benefits, you need to read this article!
Are you looking for a way to start your morning off on the right foot every day?
Are you looking for a natural fat burner, that can help you break through any plateau?
Well, yerba mate tea is the drink for you!
I did not find out about how awesome yerba mate tea is until the summer of 2017, probably about 2,000 years after other parts of civilizations.
Do I feel a little bit left behind?
Yes, I do.
There is no doubt that the most common way for billions of people around the world to start their day is with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
However, there are parts of the world where people drink something quite different from the traditional coffee or tea to get themselves going― yerba mate.
Popularly known as the “drink of the gods” by several indigenous South American cultures, yerba mate is regarded as “the green gold of the Indios” by the European settlers who came to this part of the world hundreds of years ago.
This unique drink may not be entirely well-known by the Western cultures, but there are many yerba mate benefits that we can all benefit from in our daily lives!
What is Yerba Mate Tea?
Yerba mate is a traditional South American brew, believed to offer the strength of coffee, the euphoria of chocolate, and its own blend of unique health benefits.
Yes, you can get all these benefits in just one beverage!
After a few months of drinking this tea every day, I am a firm believer in its benefits!
Yerba is a traditional drink produced from the dried leaves of a native plant of South America― the evergreen holly, Ilex paraguariensis.
This tea is among the several Amazonian caffeine-containing plants that are used in preparing stimulating beverages, such as this.
As stated in a Fox News report on the drink, yerba is popularly consumed in Southern America; being cultivated in Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina.
Although this plant can be found in the wild, it is also well-cultivated on plantations similar to the more familiar types of tea.
Yerba is itself similar to other types of tea, although being cultivated from a distinctly different plant.
As soon as yerba mate is brewed it has a greenish color, and an earthy herbal aroma.
The brewed mate tea has a mild flavor, which is often times described as an infusion of herbs and grass just like some varieties of green tea.
I can’t say that it is the “sweetest” tea I’ve ever drank, but its health benefits make up for its rather earthy taste.
Yerba mate contains tannins and caffeine just like black tea, however, it is less astringent than black tea.
In South American cultures, yerba mate often assumes the cultural importance that is exemplified by Japanese tea ceremonies, and coffee cafes.
Apart from the unique benefits of this drink, sharing yerba from a traditional gourd is regarded as a sign of friendship and bonding; along with being asocial event.
Interestingly enough, yerba mate drinking has its own vocabulary even!
It’s extremely popular in Uruguay where you can easily spot people walking down the street sipping mate, and carrying a thermos of hot water that will be used to refresh the drink.
In Argentina, yerba is their national drink even!
Incredibly, studies show that about 500 million dollars worth of mate is consumed annually.
The Health Benefits of Yerba Mate Tea
You probably don’t know this yet, but in 1964, the Pasteur Institute discovered that yerba mate contains all of the vitamins that are essential to sustain life!
Unbelievable, a little.
Yerba mate benefits are truly amazing for your body, let’s take a look at some!
1) Enhances Healthy Weight Loss
Out of all the other benefits of this amazing drink, the most notable quality for most people is that it accelerates and helps in weight control.
There is a complex collection of saponins found in the leaves and stems of yerba mate. Mainly, oleanolic acid glycosides, and ursolic acid.
The ingestion of yerba mate has shown to increase fat oxidation, and energy expenditure during exercise.
It was concluded based on the research published in The US National Library of Science that exercise, when combined with the augmented metabolic benefits of yerba mate ingestion, could contribute to the prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity associated metabolic health risks.
THese risks include hypercholesterolaemia, cancer, diabetes and hyperinsulinemia.
Basically, yerba is very good for helping people lose weight. Which is very good for your health!
The researchers concluded that the acute ingestion of yerba mate before exercise enhances fat metabolism when you engage in light, and moderate exercise intensities.
Along with this, they also determined that it does not affect maximal performance negatively. Furthermore, the effects suggest a glycogen sparing potential for exercise performance, which would insinuates that yerba can help you sustain a longer workout!
In other words, exercising after drinking yerba will substantially help you burn fat. Especially if you already have a consistent and dedicated training program, yerba mate tea will help you burn fat and become leaner.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2016 which investigated the effect of yerba mate intake on muscle strength recovery and oxidative stress markers after engaging in eccentric exercise, it was discovered that the consumption of 600 ml of yerba mate improved the rate of recovery of isometric strength by 8.6 percent during the first day!
This type of result is much more likely to be found in a protein drink, which makes it incredibly surprising for a tea!
Most likely, this is caused by yerba helping to increase circulation, calm your body, and properly restore your muscles.
This truly is an incredible benefit for a natural drink, and is no doubt one of the best yerba mate benefits.
The study also found that the positive effect of yerba mate on muscle recovery was large, and significant, in agreement with reports stating that dietary phytochemical supplementation ameliorated muscle function after EEIMD.
Yerba is without a doubt one of the healthiest drinks on the planet, I think you’re starting to get the picture!
Yerba is also very effective as an appetite suppressant, which is another way that it can improve your weight loss efforts. This statement is proven by science, as well!
Studies have shown the ability of this tea to suppress your appetite, helping you to intake less calories each day.
One of the main reasons that yerba is an excellent choice for an appetite suppressant is because it is a natural source for this, and will not disrupt your body in many additional ways as well.
Fat burning pills and other products which claim to suppress your appetite can come with a host of negative side-effects, but yerba will not do this!
2) Yerba Mate Defends Against Cancer
The benefits of yerba mate tea are not solely based around weight loss or fat loss.
Based on a 2011 scientific study, it was discovered that yerba mate tea leaves possess both anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory capabilities.
Similar to the cancer fighting components of green tea or oolong tea, it was revealed that the caffeoylquinic acid (CQA) derivatives from yerba tea were able to treat human colon cancer successfully!
The scientists found that In vitro cancer cells died when they were exposed to the bioactive compounds present in a cup of the yerba mate beverage, a truly incredible finding!
Also, cancer cells died due to apoptosis as the scientists increased the CQA concentration.
Specifically, a study published in the Journal of Food Science concluded that
“diCQAs found in yerba mate could actually be potential anti-cancer agents, and could also mitigate other diseases associated with inflammation.”
In a bid to estimate the benefits of this drink, it was compared with other teas such as green tea; which is believed to possess high anti-cancer potential.
Yerba mate benefits have actually shown to have the highest cytotoxicity against human liver cancer cells, even when compared to green tea.
Proteasome inhibitors are a very important aspect of cancer research, and a compound found in green tea known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCH) has exhibited the ability to inhibit proteasomes.
However, similar compounds have been discovered in yerba mate, and these compounds show proteasome inhibition as well.
There are other compounds found in yerba that have been studied for their chemopreventive properties as well!
Two of the compounds that show distinct cytotoxicity to HepG2 cells are quercetin and rutin.
Studies have shown that these compounds are found in small concentrations in yerba mate, and they exhibit the diversity of flavonoids that are present and greatly contribute to its anti-cancer potential.
3) Improves Your Heart Health + Acts As a Great Digestive System Booster
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of yerba help to protect the heart, and the cardiovascular system.
Yerba also contains theobromine, which helps to relax the blood vessels and allow for better blood flow. Specifically for people who have heart related issues, this is a major positive!
One of the great yerba mate benefits is that it is used traditionally in the treatment of diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion! Next time you have a sever stomach ache, reach for this natural drink instead of Tums or Pepto Bismal!
It also has a natural antibacterial effect against E. coli, which is one of the most common causes of food poisoning.
Along with this, yerba mate is also very useful not just for the prevention of urinary tract infections, but also for the treatment of both urinary infections, and bladder and kidney stones.
4) Benefits for the Immune System
Apart from the polyphenols in yerba leaves, it also contains saponins; a class of chemical compounds found naturally abundant in several plant species. Saponins are bitter and highly soluble compounds that are believed to be among the factors behind the distinct flavor of yerba mate tea.
Saponins have great beneficial effects on bone health, blood cholesterol levels, and cancer.
Saponins have been found to specifically stimulate the human immune system, which aids the body in protecting against diseases. Frequent intake of yerba tea is a great way to increase your intake of phytochemicals and by proxy, phytonutrients.
Overall, this proves to be a great way tea naturally strengthens your body’s defenses.
5) Wide Variety of Nutrients
As we have mentioned a few times, one important aspect of yerba mate compared with other drinks is that it is that it’s loaded with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
In fact, it contains practically all the important micro-nutrients needed to sustain life!
The following vitamins and minerals can be obtained in high concentrations from each serving:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B,5
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Some of the minerals that are contained in high concentrations in yerba are:
These are all of special interest to us due to their importance in human metabolism, and the development of a healthy life.
Yerba mate not only contains 11 polyphenols, but also exhibits more antioxidant power than any other tea on the planet!
You can find other health-promoting compounds in yerba including:
- Healthy fatty acids
- Various trace minerals
- 15 or more different amino acids
According to research conducted in 2007 that was published in the Journal of Food Science, the concentration of polyphenols in yerba mate has shown a strong correlation to its general antioxidant capacity.
Believe it or not, it even shows a slightly higher polyphenol concentration when compared to green tea!
Yerba mate contains an overall higher antioxidant capacity than green tea, and therefore has better potential for inhibiting free radical cells than green tea!
Think you feel healthy after your cup of green tea in the morning? just wait until you make the switch to yerba mate!
6) Lowers Bad Cholesterol Levels
The consumption of yerba tea according to studies has proven to naturally improve serum lipid levels, which lowers cholesterol levels overall.
Available information from a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry indicates that yerba mate tea consumption led to a reduction of LDL (bad) cholesterol for healthy dyslipidemic people― those having high cholesterol level and/or triglycerides but healthy.
Yerba mate consumption also resulted in an additional LDL-cholesterol reduction in people on statin therapy.
Thus, by reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the body, yerba tea consumption can help to reduce the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
According to an article published in NZ Herald, 2017, one of the yerba mate health benefits is that it helps to reduce the rapid swings in blood sugar levels and insulin which often leads to snacking.
It has a long history of being used traditionally to curb hunger, which helps in weight management.
Since it contains theobromine and theophylline, it helps to stimulate the metabolism and break down of stored fat.
Yerba Mate Tea Preparation
There are several ways to prepare this tea in order to enjoy all of its incredible benefits.
Although the traditional methods of brewing yerba are awesome, it is usually better to prepare yerba tea in a way that will not require any special equipment to save yourself time and effort.
One of the easiest ways to brew it is by simply using yerba tea bags, such as these from Amazon.
If you don’t want to use ready-made tea bags, you can also make yerba mate tea from loose leaves by simply using a strainer or infuser.
You can steep yerba just like you would do to any loose tea.
It’s better to buy yerba products that are organic.
Although relatively knew to the Western market, you can already find it in ready-to-brew tea bags, loose-leaf tea, or even in a bottled cold beverage.
It’s advisable to avoid heavily smoked and roasted yerba tea, because it contains a higher level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), than those that are not heavily smoked.
This smoking process does not make the tea dangerous, but it can diminish some of the benefits and nutrients.
High-quality yerba mates make use of a flash-heating process in order to protect the antioxidants, and nutritional properties. This higher quality tea also is dried at a lower temperature, to sustain more nutrients.
While preparing the tea, allow the water or milk to simmer- rather than boil. When you use boiling water, it leads to a more bitter tea.
You can use about one teaspoon per cup, if you are using a loose tea. You can use less if you want it weaker, or more if you prefer it stronger.
Allow the tea to steep for three to five minutes, and then add your favorite natural sweetener!
I prefer honey, stevia, or raw beet sugar to sweeten my tea!
You can drink yerba hot, or iced, wither way is great!
Side Effects and Caution for Drinking Yerba Mate
Ideally, yerba is safe for most people when consumed in moderation.
However, because it contains caffeine, it should not be consumed in excess quantities.
For those who are extremely caffeine sensitive, you should be more aware of how much you are drinking each day.
Yerba is great for a wake-up tea, or mid-day boost, but I highly suggest you don’t drink it within a couple hours of your planned bed time.
Believe me, you will be wide awake much longer than you want!
Although yerba does contain a huge amount of health benefits, there are few side-effects to be aware of.
Some of the known side effects are:
- Sleep Trouble
- Upset stomach
- Increased heart rate and breathing
- Increased blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
Luckily, most of these side effects are mild, and unlikely.
The easiest way to avoid most of these unwanted effects is to reduce your overall daily intake of caffeine.
Concluding Thoughts – Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
As indicated in Fox News Health, there are many yerba health benefits and this has resulted in the increasing popularity of yerba mate in the U.S market.
Currently there is only one brand producing mass amounts of yerba tea packets and to-go drinks, but more are soon to follow soon.
The more people who know about yerba, the faster it will grow!
Honestly, this tea is filled with benefits that many of us can take advantage of.
Sure, the general taste of yerba can put some people off, but as a tea it is easy to consume in various flavors from plain, to chai spiced.
Whether you want to brew your own every morning, buy the ready-to-drink beverages from your local natural food store every day, there are many ways to enjoy the amazing yerba mate benefits!