Yerba Mate Taragüi - 5 undisputed advantages of mate over coffee
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5 undisputed advantages of mate over coffee

Both yerba mate and coffee are caffeinated drinks and both are among the most consumed beverages in the world; however, in countries such as Argentina, mate consumption continues to surpass coffee, according to a survey led by the The National Institution of Yerba Mate (INYM). Yerba mate is also widely consumed in Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.

Yerba Mate has excellent nutritional value, it improves physical and mental health and detoxifies the body, as confirmed by numerous scientific studies that also endorse its restorative properties, but how does it differ from coffee and other caffeinated beverages?

Advantages of mate over coffee

1. An energizing effect like no other

Natural caffeine alternative: the effects of caffeine from yerba mate can be less aggressive than the effects from coffee, which in some cases can generate nervousness and even tachycardia. 

The restorative quality of mate, which has a dual stimulating-relaxing effect on the mind and body; is different from coffee and other caffeinated beverages. This is probably because yerba mate has other xanthines (stimulant substances) such as theobromine, whose effect is softer, long-lasting and improves your mood. Also, the caffeine contained in yerba mate is usually diluted in a larger amount of water and is ingested little by little, so it is better assimilated by the body.

Drinking yerba mate throughout the day is energizing and stimulating but at the same time calming. It increases physical endurance and boosts your good mood, without affecting the quality of sleep and rest. The infusion made with yerba mate gently “awakens” you in the morning and any time of the day, therefore is ideal for studying or working. Athletes also benefit from drinking yerba mate before training or even after a workout.
Yerba mate can even be the perfect alternative for commercial energy drinks, providing many more benefits without the adverse effects generated by these artificial products, which are packed with stimulants and sugar.

  • What is mateine?

Yerba mate’s stimulating properties have been recognized for centuries. Over time, this energizing power that comes from the leaves of the Ilex Paraguariensis tree has been given the name of “mateine”, a stimulant substance considered unique to yerba mate. 

However, despite popular belief, mateine is actually a popular expression for the caffeine contained in yerba mate, the same caffeine that is found in coffee and tea, according to researchers from the Universidad Nacional del Centro (Unicen) in Argentina.

2. Yerba mate is a superfood

The yerba mate tea is one of the most nutritious hot drinks in the world, as confirmed by numerous scientific studies that also endorse its positive effects on physical and mental health. It naturally contains almost all the micronutrients needed by the human body and could be considered a superfood, capable of improving the immune system in general, detoxifying the body, regulating cholesterol, and also preventing diseases and certain types of cancer, according to several studies. 

It provides antioxidants and polyphenols and is rich in minerals, amino acids and essential vitamins (mainly from the B group with 8 of the 13 vitamins essential to the body); and contains very important minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which promote proper heart function. Yerba mate is also loaded with many other nutrients and enzymes that have favorable effects on health. Read the complete list of the benefits of drinking yerba mate.

3. Purifying and detoxifying

Yerba mate purifies the body. Its leaves have diuretic properties that help the body eliminate toxins and purify itself in a completely natural way. The infusion is also prepared with more water than coffee, preventing liquids from accumulating in the body’s tissues, optimizing kidney function and minimizing the risk of high blood pressure. 
Mate also causes a mild laxative effect and stimulates bowel movement, helping the body in its natural process of waste elimination. It is recommended for people who suffer from constipation. An ideal benefit for those seeking to lose weight (combined with healthy food) or detoxifying the body.

4. A better companion

Drinking yerba mate also has a positive effect on your mental and emotional health. It is said to be the “best company” at any time of the day. Drinking mate guarantees the necessary energy for the day’s tasks thanks to its caffeine content, which is digested gradually and is kind to the mind and body, without unpleasant side effects.

Moreover, because it is drunk slowly and sip by sip, this “energy shot” is also better dosed. And not only does it last longer, but also, thanks to the ceremony of brewing and drinking yerba mate, sharing the same gourd and the same bombilla (especially in countries like Argentina), it is ideal for groups of friends and to liven up social moments.

5. The countless properties of yerba mate

There are so many benefits and properties provided by yerba mate, that in the long term its regular consumption brings more advantages than the consumption of other caffeinated beverages such as coffee.

  • Yerba mate contains polyphenols that provide extraordinary health benefits and counteract free radicals (agents that damage and oxidize the body’s cells).
  • This natural beverage has effective healing and therapeutic properties for the control of diseases such as diabetes, arterial hypertension and arteriosclerosis, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and colon cancer.
  • It has a slight hypotensive and vasodilator effect that improves blood pressure levels and prevents bad cholesterol from accumulating in the arteries, thanks to its cardioprotective enzymes that increase HDL cholesterol, known as “good cholesterol”, preventing cardiovascular diseases.
  • It favors good digestion. Yerba mate stimulates the production of bile and gastric acids, as well as bowel movement, relieving constipation.
  • Yerba mate increases physical endurance and improves motor skills, as it helps the metabolism to make better use of carbohydrates. It also helps the body to reduce fatigue, by lowering the levels of lactic acid generated by intense physical activity. It also has anti-inflammatory effects after training, especially in high-impact sports.

What yerba mate and coffee do have in common

  1. Yerba mate and coffee are among the most consumed beverages in the world.
  2. Both beverages contain caffeine and should be consumed in the recommended amounts.
  3. They both have a pleasant stimulating and energizing effect.
  4. They are preferred as hot drinks and are the perfect excuse to get together with other people.
  5. Both mate and coffee have antioxidants, although mate has much more than coffee.
  6. They have healthy properties

Recommendations to enjoy yerba mate:

  • Preparing yerba mate can be an interesting experience. Remember that you need a special gourd (also called mate), a bombilla (metal straw) and good quality yerba mate to guarantee its flavor, texture and aroma.
  • To extract the antioxidant power of yerba mate more efficiently (mate contains up to 90% more antioxidants than green tea and coffee), it’s better to drink the hot, traditional version of yerba mate.
  • It is not advisable to use mineral water because it has many salts and alters the taste of yerba mate. The temperature of the water should be between 70 and 80ºC, not boiling, because it can burn the yerba and cause the infusion to acquire a strong flavor.
  • To prevent burns, it is recommended to drink yerba mate at a maximum temperature of 65°C (104°F).
  • The healthiest way to drink yerba mate is pure. However, there is a sweet version of yerba mate and also a cold version called “tereré”, originally from Paraguay and popular during the summer in countries like Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

We recommend reading our article on how to brew a good mate tea or how to determine the quality of yerba mate.

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