Yerba Mate is “the drink of the gods”.
That’s what indigenous cultures of South-America called the powerful tea-like beverage.
It has the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoria of chocolate.
Isn’t that amazing?
Moreover, you can drink mate all day long. Its health benefits are wide-ranging, and its flavor is addictive.
In this blog, you’ll discover how Yerba Mate benefits your health and how it helps you perform better.
We’ll start with background information and unique insights into the Argentinian culture. Then we’ll continue to discuss the scientifically proven benefits of the green gold. These range from cognitive enhancement to reduced cancer risk.
I can hear you think: “do you really get all of those benefits with one cup of yerba mate?”
Yes, that’s true!
1. Where Does Yerba Mate Come From?
Yerba Mate goes by the Latin name Ilex paraguariensis and comes in the form of dried leaves. It’s a tea beverage widely consumed in the southern-most countries of South America. People in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina in particular. Argentinians even consider it to be their national drink. That’s also why the famous soccer player Leo Messi likes to drink yerba mate.
Yerba is consumed in 98% of all Argentinian households. Also, Argentinians take Yerba with them when they travel, when they hang out with friends or when they go for a walk. As a result, they only have one hand free because with the other they hold the mate gourd (cup). At the same time, they carry the thermos with hot water between their upper arm and torso.
But the beverage is also consumed in other countries. It’s not uncommon to see people from Chile, the South of Brazil, and even in the Middle East engage in a similar ritual.
Because a ritual it is. Yerba Mate is all about socializing, feeling good, and enjoying life.
Besides that, Yerba Mate has an impressive number of health benefits.
Are you curious about what they are?
Let’s dive right in.
2. Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
Improves Focus and Concentration
Thus, yerba is a great companion for when you need to study, focus at work or to perform well in sports.
2. Increases Anti-oxidants in the Body
Yerba mate tea is packed with so-called polyphenols. These are a type of micronutrients that have anti-oxidant capacities. These nutrients slow down naturally occurring degenerative processes and strengthen your immune system. One scientific study found that these anti-oxidants improved high lipid cholesterol.2 This good cholesterol protects your cardiovascular system against damage.
But that’s not all.
Yerba also contains anti-oxidants like:
- Rutin: protects tissues and improves blood circulation.
- Tannin: protects tissues and reduces the chance of adverse tissue growth.
- Theobromine: muscle relaxer.
- Chlorophyl: anti-bacterial properties3
3.Improves Cardiovascular Health
And, there is more when you look at the effects of mate on the cardiovascular system. As things go, people that drink more than one liter of yerba per day, had less diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases.4 Also, the amount of glucose in the blood was less in people that drank mate.
Thus, yerba helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, but also to regulate blood glucose levels.
4. Increases Vitamin Intake
Vitamins and minerals are essential for your body to function. They help your cells to generate energy, your bones to stay strong, and support your immune system to protect you from unwanted visitors.
5. Improves Bodyweight
In another study, they looked at the effect of Yerba Mate on bodyweight. Interestingly, over a time period of 12 weeks, the researchers found that the people who took yerba lost weight.5
6. Improves Fat Burning Capacity
Another interesting thing about drinking yerba is that it helps you to burn fat easier when you exercise. It seems that is that drinking yerba helps you to burn fat easier when you do sports.6
This means that if you want to improve your fat burning capacity during sports, yerba is a solution. Both from a performance as a weight-loss perspective. As things go, fat harbors more energy than any other tissue in the body. If you can mobilize all this energy, you’ll be able to perform better.
7. Decreases the Risk of Breast Cancer
In Uruguay, where mate is a normal part of everyday life, researches looked into the effect of mate on breast cancer risk.
And the results are stunning.
It seems that if women drink yerba mate it reduces the risk of breast cancer.7 There was an inverse connection between drinking the beverage and the cancer risk.
This means that if you drink more, the risk reduces. The best results were found in people drinking over a liter a day.
8. Decreases Inflammation
Inflammation in the body is at the basis of many diseases. Inflammation can be provoked by natural disease processes, pollution, and toxic substances like pesticides in your food.
But, that’s not all.
Something as simple as a heavy work-out may provoke inflammation in your body. If you want to regenerate quicker, you can help your body by consuming anti-inflammatory substances.
Yerba is such a substance. The beverage decreases the number of inflammatory cytokines and leukocytes. It’s, again, the anti-oxidants that help your body fight this inflammation.8
3. How Much Yerba Mate Should You Drink?
When it comes down to the health benefits of yerba mate it seems that a liter a day will significantly improve your health.
Still, there’s a big difference when it comes to the quality of Yerba Mate.
If you want the full potential of the beverage it’s best to drink Organic Yerba Mate. These leaves are organically grown, which means that the farmers didn’t use any herbicides. This way you know that you’ll not only profit from all the benefits. You also stay clear of any adverse effects of toxic pesticides.
Take Home Messages:
If you drink yerba mate you feel better and perform better. It’s great to drink together with friends and it has incredible health benefits.
Among these benefits are:
- Improves cognitive function
- Increases fat burning capacity
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Decreases inflammation
- Reduces breast cancer risk
With these unique traits in the back of your mind, you could say: “a liter of Yerba Mate a day, keeps the doctor away.”
1. Dietz C, Dekker M. Effect of Green Tea Phytochemicals on Mood and Cognition. Curr Pharm Des. 2017;23(19):2876-2905. doi:10.2174/1381612823666170105151800
2. Balsan G, Pellanda LC, Sausen G, et al. Effect of yerba mate and green tea on paraoxonase and leptin levels in patients affected by overweight or obesity and dyslipidemia: a randomized clinical trial. Nutr J. 2019;18(1):5. doi:10.1186/s12937-018-0426-y
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-R151. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00535.x
4. da Veiga DTA, Bringhenti R, Copes R, et al. Protective effect of yerba mate intake on the cardiovascular system: a post hoc analysis study in postmenopausal women. Brazilian J Med Biol Res = Rev Bras Pesqui medicas e Biol. 2018;51(6):e7253. doi:10.1590/1414-431x20187253
5. Kim S-Y, Oh M-R, Kim M-G, Chae H-J, Chae S-W. Anti-obesity effects of Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015;15:338. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0859-1
6. Areta JL, Austarheim I, Wangensteen H, Capelli C. Metabolic and Performance Effects of Yerba Mate on Well-trained Cyclists. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018;50(4):817-826. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001482
7. Ronco AL, Stefani E De, Mendoza B, Deneo-Pellegrini H, Vazquez A, Abbona E. Mate Intake and Risk of Breast Cancer in Uruguay: a Case- Control Study. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2016;17(3):1453-1461. doi:10.7314/apjcp.2016.17.3.1453
8. Panza VP, Brunetta HS, de Oliveira MV, Nunes EA, da Silva EL. Effect of mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) on the expression of the leukocyte NADPH oxidase subunit p47(phox) and on circulating inflammatory cytokines in healthy men: a pilot study. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2019;70(2):212-221. doi:10.1080/09637486.2018.1486393