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Health Benefits of Yerba Mate

What is Yerba Maté? Where is it from, what are its benefits and what does it do to the body?
Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
Written by: Anna Jamison 11 October 2023

What is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate (yer-bah mah-tey) is a traditional drink made from the dried leaves of an evergreen holly, Ilex paraguariensis. In the UK, it has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its abundance of natural health benefits as well as releasing energy in a slow and sustainable manner. This slow energy release combats the common caffeine crash often related to coffee consumption. 

Where does Yerba Mate come from?

Yerba mate is from South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. It was originally consumed by the Guaraní people, who lived in what today is Paraguay. Due to beneficial capacities of the leaves, it is now consumed by thousands of people around the world as well as professional athletes such as Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, and the men’s England football team.

What are the health benefits of Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate is good for you. Alongside the stable release of energy, yerba mate is also rich in antioxidants which are important compounds that help fight the threat of illness and disease in the body. Antioxidants such as xanthine and caffeoyl derivatives act as stimulants to increase energy but also promote overall good health. 

Mate also contains saponins which add to its taste but also boast anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering properties. Lastly, yerba mate is rich in polyphenols which is a large group of antioxidants that are linked to a reduced risk of many diseases such as cardiovascular incidents, cancers and diabetes. 

As mentioned, yerba mate is a caffeinated drink which helps provide the boost of energy that some would usually get through a coffee. Some drinkers say that yerba mate gives them the alertness of coffee but without the jittery anxiousness that often follows. As yerba mate contains a moderate amount of caffeine, it also helps enhance memory and mood as well as increasing motivation and productivity by helping to stimulate the production of dopamine. 

Caffeine is also known to improve muscle contractions, reduce fatigue, and improve sports performance. As mate contains caffeine, yerba mate can be used as the much needed boost of energy that aids athletic performance. In saying this, you do not need to be an elite or regular athlete to benefit from the athletic performance that yerba mate offers. One study found that yerba mate increased fat utilisation during exercise in untrained individuals. Fat utilisation is when the body burns fat as fuel, instead of carbohydrates.

Aside from athletic performance, yerba mate may help prevent infections from bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Compounds in yerba mate may also prevent the growth of Malassezia furfur, a type of fungus responsible for scaly skin, dandruff and certain skin rashes.

What does Yerba Mate do for your body? 

Preliminary studies have shown that yerba mate can help stimulate fat oxidation and feelings of fullness which can lead to significant decreases in weight in some patients. A study from 2015 found that through yerba mate supplementation, statistically significant reductions in body fat mass, percentage body fat and waist to hip ratio were recorded. While the direct cause is unknown, researchers believe it could be due to the mix of caffeine and antioxidants. 

Yerba mate is also good for increasing bone density. In one study, women who were at risk of osteoporosis but drank mate regularly saw an increase in bone density by 10%. Considering caffeine is usually linked to decreased bone density, this is an interesting and positive finding!

To add to the benefits of this drink, it is also good for the heart. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol and help keep arteries clear, further helping to lower the risk of heart disease. This benefit is unique to yerba mate, while green tea is similar in properties, it does not protect the heart in this way.

Is it good for you to drink Yerba mate every day? 

Yerba mate, just like your regular tea and coffee, is completely safe to consume everyday, whether it replaces your morning coffee or aids your daily workout, the benefits are well known. 

Is Yerba Mate better for you than coffee?

The main difference between coffee and yerba mate is the type of energy that is released and how it affects us after we drink it. It is the most talked about benefit and it is why we contain it in our blends. Part of this is explained by the high concentration of theobromine in yerba mate. Theobromine is classed as a stimulant, the same as caffeine, however theobromine offers long lasting, more even spread energy without the spike and crash, often felt from caffeinated coffee drinking. While we don’t dislike caffeine, we don’t appreciate the slump in energy that we often feel after a coffee which is where Mission comes in. 

The nutritional and athletic performance benefits of yerba mate consumption speak for themselves which is why we have thoughtfully created blends around this powerhouse of an ingredient. If you do want to give it a try, yerba mate can be found in Perform, Focus and our newest blend, Rise.

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