11 Health Benefits Of Yerba Mate Tea

yerba mate tea

Is Yerba Mate Tea Better Than Coffee?

Curious about the benefits of yerba mate tea? 

If you’re curious about this mysterious herb then keep reading.

Billions of people around the world start their day with a hot drink, commonly, the beverage is usually tea or coffee. 

And while it’s beneficial for your health to consume these drinks, you’ll be amazed to know that there’s an even better drink to kick-start your morning with, Yerba mate.

Native to South American countries, yerba mate is an energy-boosting drink that is quickly gaining global popularity thanks to its nutrient content.

It’s famed for offering ‘the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate. 

Indigenous South Americans called it ‘the drink of the gods,’ but when European settlers came in the later years, they called it ‘the green gold of the Indios.’ 

Below we discuss the health benefits of yerba mate tea, according to research.

What Is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate is a traditional herbal tea made from the dried twigs and leaves of the evergreen hollies (Ilex paraguariensis) plant. 

This subtropical plant is evergreen, growing up to 10-20 feet tall, and is commonly found in the wild, however, it can also be cultivated on plantations. 

In places where yerba mate is popular, like Uruguay, its cultural importance is comparable to coffee cafés.

To make yerba mate tea, leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant are slowly dried over a fire, steeped in hot water, and filtered before drinking.

This traditional South American drink is commonly stored in a container (gourd), from which its sipped with a metal straw.

This typically has a filter at its base to filter out any leaf fragments. 

Drinking yerba mate tea is considered a social event, and sharing the drink from the gourd is a sign of friendship and bonding. 

The tea has a grassy taste that is often compared to green tea

And while some may not find the taste pleasing, you’ll want to drink it for its incredible health benefits anyway.

11 Health Benefits Of Yerba Mate Tea

1. Excellent Source of Nutrients, Minerals, and Antioxidants

Yerba mate tea is loaded with beneficial nutrients, and according to researchers, it practically contains all the required nutrients to sustain life. 

Some of the ingredients in each serving of yerba mate include:

  • Vitamin E, C, A, and vitamins  B1, B2, B3, and B5
  • Zinc and sulfur 
  • Potassium and phosphorus 
  • Calcium and iron 
  • Magnesium and mangaese 
  • Selenium and sodium

Other beneficial nutrients from the yerba mate tree include: 

  • Saponins: They are naturally occurring and bitter-tasting compounds produced by mate trees. Saponins have potent cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Xanthines: These compounds are capable of stimulating the central nervous system. They possess caffeine and theobromine, which are commonly found in coffee and tea.
  • Polyphenols: These naturally occurring micronutrients act as antioxidants and have been linked to reducing the risk of many illnesses. 

In addition, yerba mate possesses 7 out of the 9 essential amino acids, and its antioxidant properties might be relatively higher than green teas’.

2. Improves Your Energy

A commonly held belief is that yerba mate tea does not contain caffeine. 

But that’s far from the truth because each cup of yerba mate tea contains approximately 85 mg of caffeine

By comparison, it has less caffeine than a cup of coffee but more than a cup of tea

Therefore, like any other caffeinated beverage, yerba mate tea can increase your energy levels, promote alertness and make you feel less tired. 

People generally describe its energy boost as gentle and calm.

It’s said to be especially helpful for people battling physical or mental fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome. 

This benefit of yerba mate tea is without the side effects of coffee like caffeine jitters or interfering with your sleep.

3. Boosts Mental Function and Focus

A major yerba mate benefit is its ability to enhance all mental functions, making you more focused, productive, smart, and creative. 

The small amount of caffeine in yerba mate is the key reason it boosts all kinds of brain function, including memory and mood

Caffeine promotes the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s made in the brain.

Dopamine plays a major role in how we feel (pleasure), think, and plan. 

On top of that, yerba mate contains the compounds theobromine and theophylline. 

And though these compounds have a limited therapeutic function, they work together with other compounds to provide a unique and mild stimulating effect.

4. Enhances Physical Performance

The caffeine content of yerba mate has been found to enhance and prolong physical performance. 

A study concluded that it improved endurance when used in moderate doses. 

It also reduces muscle contraction and fatigue.

In another study, participants were given a 1 gram capsule of ground yerba mate leaves just before an exercise. 

They burned 24% more fat during moderate-intensity exercise compared to the control group who didn’t have any yerba mate. 

This is good because using more fat for fuel during an exercise means that your carbs are spared for use during a serious high-intensity moment, for instance, sprinting to the finish line. 

Hence better athletic performance.

Yerba mate tea contains enough milligrams of caffeine to provide you with similar performance-enhancing benefits.

5. Boosts The Immune System

Yerba mate tea can enhance your immune system. 

It contains saponins which are natural emulsifiers and are capable of boosting your immune system. 

Saponins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Evidence shows that these compounds can modulate overactive immune responses that result in inflammatory bowel diseases, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and seasonal allergies.

Additionally, the vitamin C & E, zinc, and selenium in yerba mate act as antioxidants that can promote good health and strengthen your immune system. 

Antioxidants also protect the body against serious diseases like osteoporosis, cardiovascular ailments, certain types of cancer risks, and cardiovascular diseases.

6. Promotes Weight Loss

Yerba mate tea is celebrated as a weight-loss herbal tea. 

Evidence gathered from animal studies shows that this healthy diet can potentially reduce your appetite and boost metabolism, consequently helping you lose unwanted body weight.

Furthermore, human studies also found that yerba mate can increase the amount of stored fat being burned for energy, hence, promoting weight loss.

7. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Consumption of yerba mate tea has a positive effect on your blood sugar levels

It can help lower blood sugar levels naturally, significantly reducing diabetes complications.

And though research into this benefit of yerba mate tea is still minimal, an earlier animal study found that yerba mate can enhance insulin signaling. 

Evidence also suggests that it can hinder the creation of harmful compounds known as Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which can have a negative effect on your metabolic health.

8. Builds Strong Bones

The benefits of yerba mate tea can be helpful if you’re looking to build strong bones without the hassle of exercising. 

Yerba mate tea contains many compounds that help increase bone density. 

And while this is a somewhat surprising discovery a study involving postmenopausal women confirms this claim.

Generally, this group of women is at risk for osteoporosis due to estrogen deficiency. 

During the study, those that drank yerba mate showed at least ten percent greater bone density in their spines than postmenopausal women who did not drink it.

9. Reduces The Risk of Heart Disease

The antioxidants in yerba mate can reduce the risk of heart diseases and remedy an irregular heartbeat.

Several animal studies conclude that yerba mate can also protect a user against the risk of cardiovascular diseases and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. 

Please note that more studies are still required in this area before definitive conclusions can be made about this.

10. Purifies Your Body

Yerba mate consumption reduces fluid retention and enhances renal function. 

This allows the body to get rid of as many toxins as possible and naturally purify itself. 

It has a diuretic and laxative effect that promotes healthy fluid loss from your body.

Mate tea can also inhibit the antidiuretic hormone to promote urine excretion. 

Its also recommended for people suffering from constipation as it encourages proper bowel movements. 

This way, the body can eliminate waste and toxins, naturally purifying itself. 

If you’re drinking lots of Yerba Mate then you’ll want to keep your body properly hydrated by drinking at least 2 liters of water daily.

11. May Help Combat Cancer

According to research, yerba mate consists of ursolic acid, rutin, saponins, tannin, chlorogenic acid, and other well-known anti-cancer compounds.

These compounds can help combat certain kinds of cancer; for instance, they can help self-destruct colon cancer cells.

How To Prepare Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba mate tea can be prepared in many ways; some are straightforward, others a bit more complicated. 

The easiest way to prepare yerba mate tea requires no special equipment. 

All you need to do is brew it like your regular tea using yerba mate tea bags

Mate tea prepared from tea bags is much less potent than that prepared directly from leaves which you will need to infuse mate leaves and then strain before drinking.

You can also fill the bottom of your gourd or calabash with dried mate leaves (toasted leaves can also be used) and then add hot water

The tea is then sipped using a metal straw designed to filter out leaf fragments as you drink. 

Whether you decide to add milk or lemon juice for extra flavor is up to you.

benefits of yerba mate tea -The bottom line

Consumption of yerba mate is considered safe without causing any side effects or harm to healthy adults. 

However, regular consumption at extremely high temperatures has been associated with increased risks of certain throat cancers.

You, therefore, want to consume yerba mate with caution to experience the incredible health benefits

Beginners are advised to start with a small amount and gradually increase it while ensuring the tea cools off before drinking for the best results