Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
Yerba mate has many health benefits such as reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and improved health. It has antioxidant properties and helps in healthy weight loss. It also has antimicrobial properties and anti-inflammatory properties.
Yerba mate is a well known non alcoholic beverage widely consumed by people of South America. It is made from dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis tree which is native South American tree. It is found in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Yerba mate has been used by indigenous people since many centuries as a beverage with medicinal properties. It is gaining popularity in Europe, United States and other countries because of it stimulating effect and health benefits. Many research studies have been conducted and the findings suggest that yerba mate is beneficial in reducing risk of various health disorders. Many include yerba mate as an alternative to coffee and tea.
Mate tree is a subtropical flowering plant that grows upto a height of 18 m. It requires a good rainfall and can withstand temperatures of -6 degrees Celsius. It flowers between October and November and produces fruit between march and June. Mate leaves undergo several stages of processing which include blanching drying and aging of the leaves. The conditions of processing may differ but the overall process generally remains the same.
Nutritional Value of Yerba Mate
Mate tea contains various nutrients that help in maintaining good health. It is a good source of polyphenols, xanthines, caffeoyl derivatives and saponins. Amongst minerals it contains zinc, chromium, potassium, copper, aluminum, iron, manganese and nickel. Yerba mate also contains vitamins that include vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2.
Health benefits of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate has many health benefits. Some of them are discussed below:
Consumption of yerba mate provides antioxidant benefits to the body. It has many different phytochemicals such as polyphenols, Chlorogenic acid and caffeoyl derivatives that make it a beneficial antioxidant.
Research study suggests that mate extract may reduce oxidative stress that increases risk of damage to liver and heart. It also reduces nitrosative stress that may cause DNA damage, cell death and lipid peroxidation. As compared to green tea yerba mate is more effective in preventing cytotoxicity associated with blood flow restriction heart disorders such as stroke etc.
Yerba mate contains compounds such as polyphenols that may be beneficial in reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. Findings of a research study suggests that intake of yerba mate has beneficial impact on lipid parameters and it helps to reduce LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic people. Consumption of yerba mate protects myocardial tissue of the heart and is also beneficial in reducing oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS ) which may cause stroke etc.
Research results of a study conducted to ascertain effects of yerba on E. coli suggests that it has antimicrobial properties that may help in preventing health risks caused by E. coli bacteria. Due to this it has the potential to be used as antimicrobials in various beverages and foods against E. coli.
The flavanoids found in yerba mate may be beneficial in reducing inflammation. Anti-inflammatory properties make yerba mate beneficial in reducing risk of chronic disease and therefore improving overall health.
Health benefits of yerba mate include prevention of cancer. Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the anticancer properties of yerba mate and the findings suggest that it indeed has the potential to protect human body against cancer.
Yerba mate may be beneficial and reducing complications from hyperglycemia in diabetes. Hyperglycemia results in dicarbonyls which causes many diabetic complications. Yerba mate as an antioxidant plays role in the process of glycation which reduces the dicarbonyl action, resulting oxidation and hyperglycemia.
Weight Management and Obesity
Yerba mate is shown to have beneficial health effect in reducing obesity. This weight loss effect of yerba mate is attributed to increased fat oxidation, slowing of gastric emptying and increased feeling of satiety.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been associated with increased risk of cancer. It is important to make sure that yerba mate during processing does not get contaminated by PAHs as that may pose a risk of cancer of oral cavity, esophagus and larynx.
Consumption of yerba mate may not be safe for children as well as pregnant women. It may also be avoided by women during breast feeding post delivery.
Yerba mate tea: How to prepare and select?
Traditional yerba mate is prepared by pouring hot water on dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis in a gourd. This is repeated many times and then consumed out of the gourd using a metal straw.
Yerba mate is easily available across stores all over the world in loose form or tea bags. A toasted version is also available in the stores. Mate can be served as a hot or cold drink with milk or fruit juice.
Yerba mate has been consumed since many centuries due to its medicinal benefits. It is becoming more and more popular as a daily beverage around the world. Yerba mate is most often available as dried tea but because of increasing popularity may also be available as a supplement or in additive to food. Yerba mate is full of health benefits and is safe for moderate daily dietary use.