Yerba Mate Benefits & Side Effects
This South American Herbal Tea was once called by indigenous communities the “Drink of the Gods” due in part to Yerba Mate benefits. When brewed on a single occasion, it boasts a unique flavour reminiscent of smoked wood, tobacco, and high calibre Green Tea with slightly astringent undertones. When enjoyed as a frequent occurrence, it improves life in small yet significant ways.
The following article will explore just that. After you’ve discovered everything you need to know about the infusion, you can buy it here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Since our founding in 1982, around forty years ago, we’ve packed every Loose Tea fresh to order. Doing so ensures not only quality but also consistency with each time you put the kettle on.
Table of Contents
- Yerba Mate Nutrition Information
- Benefits of Yerba Mate
- Is Yerba Mate Acidic?
- Is Yerba Mate Addictive?
- Yerba Mate Negative Side Effects
- Can You Drink Yerba Mate While Pregnant?
Yerba Mate Nutrition Information
A remarkable abundance of vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants in Yerba Mate contribute to its medicinal abilities. Namely, these constituents work on a molecular level to neutralise free radicals in the body, which slows oxidative stress and reduces the risk of developing several chronic conditions. These nutrients in your cup include, but are not limited to, the ones in the table below:
Yerba Mate Nutritional Value
|Vitamin A||Vitamin B1||Vitamin B2|
|Vitamin B3||Vitamin B5||Vitamin C|
Benefits of Yerba Mate
Watching football recently, you might’ve noticed some players consuming what appears at first glance to be a coconut with a bizarre-looking straw. The likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Sergio Aguero have, in fact, been utilising Yerba Mate Tea benefits on the field. What they’re drinking from, meanwhile, is a traditional Gourd and Bombilla, an age-old practice that dates back many centuries.
Nowadays, while such cultural observations remain as vital as ever, there is also a place for modern science to highlight its health potential. This is what Messi, Suarez and Aguero have recognised. And you, too, can learn more. The rest of our article will be dedicated to the latest research surrounding the benefits of Yerba Mate, from boosting energy levels to promoting weight loss.
1. Is Yerba Mate an Energy Drink?
Yerba Mate combines the energy boost of Coffee, the health benefits of Tea and the endorphin buzz of chocolate. Its relation to cocoa refers to its exceptional flavour. Its relation to a “regular” cup of English Breakfast or Sencha Green is to do with the studies we’ll be showcasing momentarily.
But how, exactly, is it related to everyone’s favourite roasted beans? What is the stimulant in Yerba Mate that boosts energy?
Around sixty plants contain caffeine, including Coffea (Coffee) and, to a lesser extent, Camellia sinensis (Tea) and Theobroma cacao (cocoa or chocolate). Most Herbal Tea varieties do not belong to the caffeinated family and, therefore, are 100% free of the stimulant. Yerba Mate is the exception to the rule, with 85-mg of caffeine per 8-oz serving. That’s more than enough to start your day with an extra kick.
2. Yerba Mate for Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol is when there is too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in someone’s blood. Numerous factors can cause an increase in levels, although the most common contributors are a lack of exercise, poor weight management, smoking and drinking alcohol.
But not all cholesterol is detrimental to the body. There is a distinction between “good” HDL cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Yerba Mate Tea benefits can help. The 40-day trial involved volunteers drinking 330-ml (11 ounces) of the infusion daily. Scientists concluded that “bad” LDL cholesterol had been reduced by 8.6-13.1%. The reason seems to be its antioxidants, notably its wealth in caffeoyl derivatives and polyphenols.
3. Benefits of Yerba Mate for Weight Loss
You don’t need us to tell you that there’s no fix-all solution to losing weight. However, there are things you can do to support a healthy and active lifestyle that might, in turn, enable you to drop pounds. Take Yerba Mate’s calories, which are negligible. Indeed, an 8-oz cup - or gourd! - will have no more than 15 calories. And that’s not all it can do to assist you into your favourite pair of jeans again.
One 12-week study in overweight people found that three grams of the plant extract enabled participants to lose 1.5 pounds (0.7kg). Additionally, subjects reduced their waist-to-hip ratio by 2%, an indicator of lost belly fat. Animal-based studies have recorded similar findings. The belief is that it boosts the metabolism of fat cells, enabling the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently.
4. Yerba Mate Benefits for Skin Health
Keeping your skin looking youthful, fresh and invigorated is easier said than done. Blemishes are an all too common occurrence at the least opportune moments, hence why there are so many skincare products on the market these days. But there is another way, and that way is Yerba Mate health benefits. Despite a lack of concrete evidence, anecdotal reports show that it can make a dramatic and positive difference.
The antioxidants in Yerba Mate have a considerable role in reducing the appearance of wrinkles following topical application (applying it directly to the skin). It can likewise improve firmness and elasticity, moisturise the area around your eyes, encourage collagen production, combat acne, and even protect against UV radiation. We await further evidence before confirming its ability outright.
5. Does Yerba Mate Help Increase Physical Performance?
One of the reasons footballers flock to Yerba Mate benefits is that it enhances physical performance. It probably doesn’t take a genius to work out how: Caffeine. This stimulating chemical compound functions by blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter that eases the mind and makes you feel less tired. As a result, it has the opposite effect: Making you more energised and less sleepy.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, a 1-gram capsule of these leaves before exercise burned 24% more fat during a moderate-intensity routine. With your body relying on fat for fuel, it spares your carb reserves for high-intensity moments, translating to better sports performance. Still, the optimal amount of the Herbal Tea required remains unknown.
6. Yerba Mate for Immune System Health
An expansive network of cells, organs, proteins and tissues make up your immune system. It is crucial for protecting against viruses, parasites and harmful bacteria. But pathogens will bypass these defences from time to time, leading to colds, the flu and other illnesses. Yerba Mate Tea could be the answer due to a combination of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties.
In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Food Protection, the Tea deactivated Escherichia coli (also known as E. coli), a bacteria that causes food poisoning symptoms. Moreover, its compounds prevented the growth of Malassezia furfur, a fungus responsible for skin rashes, dandruff and scaly skin. Preliminary research went further to note that it fought intestinal parasites. Just don’t expect it to work miracles.
7. Yerba Mate Tea Benefits for Diabetes
Diabetes involves the pancreas not functioning to its total capacity, preventing it from producing enough insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. The disease can increase the risk of multiple complications such as kidney damage, dementia, hearing impairments and, sadly, much more. Could Yerba Mate benefits serve as a blood sugar regulator? It’s a possibility, according to early evidence.
One 2011 animal study published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology demonstrated that it could improve insulin signalling. In another study from 2005, scientists recorded that it reduced the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which influence the development and exacerbation of several diseases related to diabetes. We await further human research before endorsement.
Is Yerba Mate Acidic?
A common misconception is that acid-forming products are the same as products with acidic pH. The former is an item that promotes acidity in the body. The latter is what we’ll be examining here. When we mention “pH”, we’re referring to a measurement of acidity; the higher the value, the less acid in food or drink. Famously alkaline dairy milk is a prime example, with its pH value of between 6.5 and 6.7.
Meanwhile, Black Tea has a value between 4.9 and 5.5, making it mildly acidic, and Coffee Beans measures between 4.85 and 5.10, making it even more so. Is Yerba Mate acidic as well? The simple answer is no because it isn’t Tea in the conventional sense. Reports suggest that it has a pH level range of 6.0 up to 7.0. In other words, it is alkaline and, therefore, you have little to worry about.
Is Yerba Mate Addictive?
Visitors to Argentina would be hard-pressed to find a cafe, restaurant or other such venue that doesn’t have Yerba Mate on the menu. In neighbouring Uruguay, a substantial proportion of Montevideo residents drink it daily, regardless of where they are in the capital city. Such is its immense popularity that the government has had to pass laws to make it illegal to consume it while driving!
This raises the question: Is Yerba Mate addictive? Technically, yes, and it’s because of the presence of caffeine - the most commonly consumed drug in the world. Caffeine addiction (also called caffeine dependence) can be a challenge to overcome, especially when cutting down can cause withdrawal symptoms. Should you choose to avoid it, consider weaning yourself off gradually.
Yerba Mate Negative Side Effects
Is Yerba Mate safe for frequent consumption? Since we were just on the topic of caffeine, it’s worth noting that too much of it can lead to headaches, migraines and high blood pressure. Studies have also discovered that it interacts with depression and Parkinson’s Disease medications. As for reports of Yerba Mate’s laxative activity, there is a risk of it causing digestive complaints.
Unfortunately, it’s paramount that we acknowledge one other potential side effect. According to a recent Yerba Mate cancer study, large quantities of the Herbal Tea over a long period might increase the risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal tract cancers. Consider it, then, an infusion to enjoy in moderation rather than an everyday beverage. And always speak to a doctor or medical expert if you have any concerns.
Can You Drink Yerba Mate While Pregnant?
Herbalists and holistic health practitioners have long recommended Herbal Tea to pregnant women. However, not all types are safe to consume in expecting mothers. Indeed, despite Raspberry Leaf Tea having been associated with well-documented pregnancy health benefits during the third trimester, the likes of Sage and Liquorice Root can cause issues. Can you drink Yerba Mate while pregnant?
Most doctors, nurses and midwives would urge you to steer clear of it due to its cancer risks. If you choose to have it anyway, it would be best to limit your intake to three cups daily, as too much caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company must stress that the advice of medical professionals takes precedence over our article.
Yerba Mate benefits the mind, body and soul in a plethora of ways. It can, among other qualities, boost energy levels, reduce cholesterol, promote weight loss, improve skin health, enhance physical performance, support the immune system and decrease diabetes risks.
Our family-run business stocks a handful of varieties, each as delicious, wholesome and nutritional as the last.