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Yerba Mate: Health Benefits and Considerations

Yerba Mate: Health Benefits and Considerations


It is celebrated as a natural and powerful energy drink, comparable to the caffeine in coffee, and comes from the South Americas with roots in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. Yerba mate has been consumed in social circles in the form of a tisane and commonly sold as a tea because of the way it is brewed, steeped and prepared before consumption from a vegetable gourd.  People all over the world can find Yerba Mate in liquid, dry leaves and capsule form in health food stores.

Yerba mate has many beneficial healing qualities for the body, including stimulating the central nervous system, delivers immune-boosting antioxidants, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals and detoxifying the blood to prevent many times of chronic diseases and cancer. It is a strong anti-inflammatory and also helps to reduce anxiety and stress as well as decreases insomnia.

Here are additional benefits of this South American Superfood:

Ability to Focus

The minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, animo acids and polyphenols found in this beverage have a balancing effect on the caffeine it contains, therefore raising people’s mental energy, clarity and focus without the sudden crash and side effects of caffeinated beverages that bother many (headaches, stomachaches, and jitters).

Stronger, Longer

The chemical compounds and nutrients in yerba mate tea affect metabolism and can make people use carbohydrates more efficiently. People rant and rave about yerba mate’s ability to jump-start and maintain weight loss. This may be because people are burning stored fat cells as fuel, reports many regular yerba mate drinkers. Also, this amazing plant keeps lactic acid from building up in the muscles, so athletes can decrease post-workout soreness and cut their recovery time.

Aids Digestion

As a strong and effective digestive assistant, yerba mate stimulates and increases the production of bile and other gastric acids. It helps keep the colon clean for effective and efficient waste elimination (most caffeinated drinks and diuretics do) and helps reduce the stomach bacteria that can contribute to bad breath.

Supports Cardiovascular Health

The antioxidants and amino acids present in yerba mate help the dormant lipids and artery-clogging cholesterol move through the bloodstream so that they don't accumulate on artery walls. Yerba mate also helps prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and prevents blood clots that may cause a heart attack or stroke. (Source: FitDay.com)

There are other considerations, however, that people must note.

Research has pointed out the possible dangers associated to drinking too much of this yerba mate in the traditional prepared way (adding to the same batch of water several times and drinking all these cups, often).

According to care4cancer.com, scientific journals have reported that people who do consume yerba mate on a regular basis using the described method above have a 2 to 11 times greater chance of developing esophageal  cancer than those who do not and the carcinogens in the tea leaves (the way they are harvested and prepared) are comparable to those of cigarettes. Other risks of cancers that may become elevated as a result of drinking too much of the yerba mate include cancers of the mouth, head and neck, esophagus, bladder, larynx, kidney, and lung, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The best way to reduce the risk of such possible cancers and dangers is to drink the prepared tea on occasion and drink it one time per sitting, and then discard the leaves. As with any vitamin, supplement or natural herb, cycle it in and out of your routine. Too much of anything is never a good idea, for the body needs a collective of good nutrition to operate optimally. Do not expect one certain food, drink or product to be the miracle “one.” It takes a mindful, intentional and holistic approach to live optimally. Remember and practice it the best way you can!

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