Relatively unknown in New Zealand, Yerba Mate tea is one of the most popular drinks in parts of South America – and with good reason.
Made from the dried leaves and twigs of the native holly bush Ilex paraguariensis, Yerba Mate is full of health benefits and is a better natural alternative to energy drinks. There are few side effects, and those that do exist are rare if Yerba Mate is consumed in moderation.
Here are six reasons to drink Yerba Mate tea:
1. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
Yerba Mate has similar properties to Green Tea, however it has a super concentration of antioxidants and contains 24 vitamins and minerals including magnesium, manganese and potassium. It has been used for its health benefits by native tribes in South America for centuries.
2. It provides natural energy
Containing a third of the caffeine of coffee, Yerba Mate can provide a quick pick-me-up if you’re feeling a little flat without the crash after it wears off. Despite the caffeine content, research has shown Yerba Mate may actually help stabilise your energy levels. Just make sure you don’t drink it too close to bedtime or you may have trouble getting to sleep if you’re sensitive to caffeine!
3. It may help with weight loss and management
As part of a healthy well-balanced diet and exercise regime, drinking Yerba Mate may help boost metabolism and help you feel fuller for longer.
4. It aids digestion
Yerba Mate can help cleanse your colon, making your digestive system more efficient and leaving you feel less weighed down/bloated.
5. It may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
Health studies have shown it may help to reduce cholesterol levels by raising HDL levels (the good cholesterol) and lowering LDL levels (the bad cholesterol).
6. It may help boost your immune system
Yerba Mate contains phytochemicals including saponins, which possess anti-inflammatory properties and have been found to aid the body in protecting against disease by stimulating the immune system.
How to drink Yerba Mate
Traditionally made in a gourd and drunk through a ‘bombilla’ filter straw, you can make it in your own home with loose tea leaves using a tea pot or French press. It does taste a little bitter, so a good way to sweeten it up is by adding a spoonful of Manuka honey.
To buy Yerba Mate in New Zealand, you will likely be able to find it in selected specialty food stores, health food shops or tea stores, or alternatively you can buy it online locally from www.pachamama.co.nz (Ed’s note: We love their Peppermint-infused Yerba Mate tea as it’s not quite as bitter and tastes great!).
Do you drink Yerba Mate tea? What do you think about it? Let us know and comment below to join the conversation!
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Ambro