The South Americans are known to enjoy traditional drink called Yerba Mate, which is prepared by steeping the stems and leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. This tea is said to offer the happiness of having a chocolate, the invigorating effects of tea and stimulates like the coffee.
Yerba Mate is a central nervous system stimulating beverage that contains a small amount of caffeine. This drink is loaded with various nutrients, such as minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, amino acids and antioxidants. It is safe for consumption and has a plethora of benefits for health.
Top Health Benefits Of Yerba Mate Tea
It is said to be highly beneficial than green tea, as it has phytochemicals, antioxidants and flavonoids to improve the overall health. We have compiled the top ways in which it helps and is effective in the long run.
1. Maintains The Health Of Immune System
When compared to green tea, Yerba Mate is loaded with a variety of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid. This plays a pivotal role in healing and maintaining the overall health of the immune system while preventing infections. It also keeps various forms of cancer away by flushing away the toxins and the effects of free radicals.
It is rich in saponins that are natural emulsifiers that promote the functions of the immune system. The potent antioxidant polyphenols, which are plant based compounds, control the overactive immune response. This activity helps in preventing seasonal allergies, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease etc.
2. Improves Mental Functions
The tea prepared with the Yerba Mate plant is rich in polyphenols, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that makes it have a positive effect on the mental functions. As it has caffeine, the drink can improve the mental focus, give better clarity and help people feel rejuvenated.
However, one need not worry about the side effects of caffeine, as it does not cause jitters, stomach pain or headaches.
3. Offers Balanced Energy Boost
Yerba Mate is used widely to get an energy boost, as it has antioxidants and stimulants that maintain the energy levels. This is why the beverage is preferred by sports people to deliver excellent physical performance. Those who are suffering from physical fatigue and mental stress or experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome can drink the Yerba Mate tea. It has mateine, a very unique compound that improves the energy level gradually.
4. Aids In Quick Digestion
The natives of South America have used the beverage made from Yerba Mate as the home remedy for treating all kinds of digestive issues. It is effective in treating indigestion, constipation, diarrhea etc. Its antibacterial properties help in combating E. coli and prevent food poisoning issues.
The saponins in Yerba Mate kill the parasites in the intestines. It provides quick relief from digestive discomfort by kindling the bile production and gastric acids. It can soften the fecal matter to ease the bowel movement to a great extent.
5. Tackles Low Blood Pressure Levels
Yerba Mate can improve the low blood pressure levels naturally, making it an apt choice for those suffering from such condition. This drink performs like a vasodilator by relaxing and dilating the blood vessels to help the blood flow without any hassles.
6. Soothes The Nervous System
Yerba Mate acts like the nerve tonic, as it stimulates the depressed and weak nervous system while soothing the overexcited nerves. It helps people to focus more on work or study while keeping away anxiety, mental fatigue and agitation. This drink improves the mood, lowers depression and balances the sleep cycles.
This beverage stimulates the neurotransmitter in the brain to promote dopamine secretion that helps people stay very focused and productive. It also promotes REM or Rapid Eye Movement while sleeping and increases deep sleep duration.
7. Offers Cardiovascular Support
Yerba Mate helps in preventing or treating various types of heart ailments, as it provides the essential nutrients essential for heart health and repair. It promotes oxygen supply to the heart, even while performing the workouts and stressed out activities. Body builders and athletes can drink this beverage, as it can maintain the aerobic glycolysis or breaking down of carbohydrates during long hours of exercises.
It also delays anaerobic glycolysis, prevents lactic acid build up, cardiac efficiency and lowers the blood pressure levels. It is very useful for heart conditions like irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. The presence of theobromine soothes and relaxes the blood vessels while protecting the cardiovascular system.
8. Combats Colon Cancer Cells
The leaves of Yerba Mate possess anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties that help in killing the colon cancer cells. The CQA or caffeoylquinic acid derivatives in this drink can treat the colon cancer.
The bioactive compounds in this beverage can combat vitro cancer cells. It not only induces the damage of colon cancer cells but also lowers the inflammation of cells that causes cancer progression.
9. Lowers The Cholesterol Levels
Consuming Yerba Mate tea can improve the serum lipid levels in a natural fashion to lower the cholesterol levels. Regular consumption of this beverage helps in lowering the LDL cholesterol level primary those on statin therapy. It can lower glutathione reductase, aortic cholesterol and prevents atherosclerotic lesions while improving the HDL cholesterol significantly.
A study was done by de Morais EC and team to find how its consumption affects in lipoprotein and lipid levels in humans. In this study subjects were given 330 mL of YM for 40 days 3 times a day. LDL-cholesterol was reduced by by 8.1 and 8.6% for humans with abnormal amount of lipids in the blood. For the same people non-HDL cholesterol were reduced by 5.4 and 6.5%. It was concluded that Yerba Mate reduces LDL-cholesterol for people with high levels of cholesterol in blood. It also improves lipid parameters in normolipidemics.
10. Induces Weight Loss
The thermogenic properties of Yerba Mate aids in promoting the metabolic activity. The quick metabolism process also indicates that a high amount of fat is burnt at a quick pace. It can be a part of the weight loss diet, as it can offer a fuller feeling, cuts down cravings, improves sensitivity towards insulin and burns the accumulated fat. Having this tea every morning with a dash of honey will help in quick weight loss.
As per a study done by Marcelo and Alessandra Gambero, this herb is useful against obesity. Taking it regularly for 45 days showed significant weight loss for patients who were overweight. Yerba Mate delayed emptying of the stomach and gave a feeling of fullness. It also improved lipid parameters in animals as well as humans. In obese people the expression of genes changes and this herb helps in restoring the gene expression to normal range. Due to this action, chances of diseases caused due to obesity are reduced significantly.
Ways To Consume Yerba Mate Tea
Earlier, the South Americans drank Yerba Mate by mixing it with hot water to let it seep in the shell of a dried gourd and used a metal straw with bombilla filter. The people of Paraguay have a cold drink made from dry leaves of Yerba Mate, ice cold water and mixture of spices. These days, you have a number of ways to enjoy Yerba Mate. They are:
- You can find Yerba Mate tea bags which can be brewed like any standard tea.
- Experiment by adding lemon, honey or sugar with the brewed tea to enjoy a different Yerba Mate drink.
- Prepare a fresh beverage of Yerba Mate by using a coffee machine.
- Add some grated coconut and warm milk instead of hot water with Yerba Mate.
- Brew fresh herbs like basil or mint leaves to enjoy an aromatic Yerba Mate drink.
The Bottom Line
It is true that Yerba Mate is laced with potential health benefits. But, it is essential to stay aware of certain points while consuming this beverage. Consume just a cup of Yerba Mate each week, as drinking several cups per day are not advisable. Also remember that you should consume this beverage after it cools down a bit, as consuming it super hot can damage your oesophagus, lungs and mouth.