Have you ever heard of yerba mate? It is a cross between a tea and coffee. It has a high amount of caffeine, but the uplift you get is far from the jitters. Imagine feeling like you just woke up from the perfect nap. You feel refreshed with a natural energy: that’s how it feels to drink yerba mate. Not only that, but it has incredible health benefits.

Pronounced like yer-buh mah-tay, it is a drink that has roots in Paraguay. It it made from the leaves of the rainforest holly tree, which is grown in many South American countries.

The only brand I’m familiar with on the commercial market right now is Guayaki, which offers its product in a wide range of flavors. The bottles are only in some convenience stores, but the market is growing so expect to see it on the shelves soon. You can also buy tea bags on Amazon and brew it yourself!

yerba great

Firstly, the Guayaki website explains:

The leaves of the rainforest mate tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants. In fact, The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society in 1964 concluded that yerba mate contains practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.”

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Not only that, but scientific studies have shown that yerba mate can be helpful for:

heart health

Yerba mate can be helpful for those at risk for cardiovascular disease.
→ Studies have shown that it lowers blood viscosity and increases blood flow.
→ This is due to its high amount of antioxidants and its lipid-lowering properties. 1

weight loss

Yerba mate can be an excellent aid to those trying to lose weight.
→ The compounds in yerba mate can put a halt to or significantly decrease body weight gain.
→ One study in particular explains that the extract showed “potent antiobesity activity.” 2
→ When consumed shortly before exercise, it can also increase endurance and boost fat burn. 3

bone health

Yerba mate can increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
→ Caffeine consumption can lead to osteoporosis, which habitual coffee drinkers should be wary of. Researchers conducted a study in which they hypothesized that yerba mate is just as harmful to bone mass as coffee. They threw their original hypothesis out after the surprising results!
→ While yerba mate does have a high caffeine content, the study showed that it actually has a protective effect on bone mass. Bone mineral density at the spine and hip was higher in regular yerba mate drinkers than non-drinkers. 4

This has become my drink of choice ever since I decided to lay off of coffee (the jitters, man!)
Have you tried yerba mate before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. Yu, Shaohong, et al. “Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis) Improves Microcirculation Of Volunteers With High Blood Viscosity: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Experimental Gerontology 62.(2015): 14-22. ScienceDirect. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.
  2. Arçari, D. P., Bartchewsky, W., dos Santos, T. W., Oliveira, K. A., Funck, A., Pedrazzoli, J., de Souza, M. F.F., Saad, M. J., Bastos, D. H.M., Gambero, A., Carvalho, P. d. O. and Ribeiro, M. L. (2009), Antiobesity Effects of yerba maté Extract (Ilex paraguariensis) in High-fat Diet–induced Obese Mice. Obesity, 17: 2127–2133. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.158
  3. “Yerba Mate Boosts Exercise Benefits.” Better Nutrition 76.12 (2014): 10. Alt HealthWatch. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.
  4. Andrea S. Conforti, María E. Gallo, Fernando D. Saraví, Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) consumption is associated with higher bone mineral density in postmenopausal women, Bone, Volume 50, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 9-13.