By Veronica Peterson, Editor, Healthy & Green Living
Walk anywhere in Argentina and you can’t help but notice stylish men and women toting, not Starbucks lattes or portable coffee mugs, but instead, fist-size gourds, piled high with loose tea, topped with hot water and served, filtered, with a metal straw. Yerba maté – it’s thick and sludge-like, bitter-tasting and quite frankly, in my first-timer opinion, not-so-delicious. Yet, it’s one of the most healthful, natural beverages on earth.
Very similar to coffee and tea, Yerba Maté has been used as a beverage since the time of the ancient Indians of Brazil and Paraguay and is considered a national drink in several South American countries. Consumed in moderation, it is widely considered a healthy alternative to caffeine and is considered safe by the FDA. However, unlike sugary energy drinks, tea or coffee, it offers you long-lasting energy, focus and alertness without the dreaded side-effects of caffeine.
Some benefits of Yerba Maté:
Helps Prevent Cancer
Maté contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that are considered to have anti-cancer effects in humans by strengthening our immune systems while preventing the damage done by free-radicals. In lab tests, the herb and its components protect our DNA from damage by reducing oxidative stress on heart and liver cells and have been shown to kill human liver cancer cells.
Great for those who love the energy-boosting effects of caffeine but don’t love the flip side – shakes, mood swings and eventual crash. Maté helps to eliminate fatigue, while stimulating mental and physical activity with little or no side-effects compared to caffeine.
That bitter taste does serve a greater a purpose. Users who drink maté after meals report less digestive problems.
Packed with Vitamins
The herb contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin, B5 and complex minerals like Selenium, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and Iron. Maté also contains Carotene, Fatty Acids, Flavonols, Polyphenols (like those found in red wine), Trace Minerals, 80% more antioxidants than green tea, and 15 Amino Acids.
Yerba Maté also contains phytochemicals that have been found to stimulate the immune system and protect the body against disease. Yerba Maté health benefits have been documented by research such as being anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, increases fat burning, aids in weight loss, and can help the brain with mental clarity.