Coffee or Yerba Mate? The benefits of drinking Yerba Mate to keep us awake
How many coffees do you drink during the day?
We normally drink lots of coffees to keep ourselves awake and focused in what we are doing. But, can we replace coffee with something healthier, or perhaps, stronger? Yes, we can! And South Americans have been drinking this miraculous hot beverage for centuries.
Yerba mate – also known as the “South American´s green tea” – is an infusion made of the leaves of a plant that thrives in the sub-tropical regions of South America.
Indigenous Guaraní people have recognized the invigorating properties of this herbal infusion for hundreds of years, and today, Yerba Mate – or simply Mate – is consumed worldwide.
The energizing effect of coffee comes from caffeine. In humans, caffeine stimulates the brain reducing drowsiness, making us more alert.
Health studies indicate that caffeine can reduce diabetes and cancer. But also, drinking too much caffeine with our coffees can have negative effects such as increased anxiety, jitters and irritation of the stomach.
One cup of coffee has on average 85 mg of caffeine, the same amount of caffeine present in most energy drinks. A cup of Mate has 78 mg of caffeine – very similar to coffee and energy drinks – but prepared in the traditional method, by topping-up with hot water the Mate pot that contains the herbs, a person can easily consume half a litre, which means 260 mg of caffeine.
Drinking half a litre of Mate is very, very easy. Mate tastes a bit bitter, but it’s similar to any other herbal tea, and it will never feel as heavy and tiring as drinking the same amount of coffee.
Forgetting about how tiring (and expensive!) it could be to drink half a litre of coffee every day to get the same amount of caffeine we get with Mate…
Why is it that Yerba Mate is healthier than coffee?
First of all, Mate not only contains caffeine, but it also contains theobromine. Theobromine is the predominant substance found in cocoa, so yes, it’s also present in chocolate, and especially dark chocolate! Theobromine has stimulant properties, but also lowers blood pressure, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Caffeine, on the other hand, increases blood pressure, but the ratio of caffeine and theobromine present in Mate overrides this negative effect.
Anxiety and jitters are not observed with Mate as they are with coffee, and this is attributed to the combination of caffeine and theobromine present in the South American infusion.
Yerba mate is also rich in minerals, vitamins, and its antioxidant properties are stronger than green tea!
So, if you’re still not convinced of the all benefits of Yerba mate, here is one more that will totally seduce you. Recent studies have demonstrated that Mate facilitates weight loss due to its capacity to increase satiety, and to chemically reduce body fat by increasing lipolysis (the breakdown of fat in our bodies).
Let’s not forget too that a normal latte has as much fat as a doughnut, so let’s stay awake by drinking this ancient infusion more often!