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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Health Benefits of Yerba Mate Tea

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Yerba mate, also known as erva-mate in portugues, is a herbal tea that originates from South America. It is made from an infusion of the dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis. Traditionally, Yerba Mate is often drank out of a dried gourd using a metal straw called "bombilla". The dry leaves (about 50 g) are packed into the gourd and hot water is poured over them; this is then repeated multiple times, with as much as half to 1 L of water.

Besides as a stimulant, traditionally, Yerba Mate is used for treatment of arthritis, slow digestions, liver diseases, headache, rheumatism, and obesity, among others.

Nutritional Value of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is rich in polyphenols and minerals, with the concentration varying depending on the variety, growing condition and processing. Among the polyphenols in Yerba Mate are caffeine, caffeic acid, catechin, epicatechin gallate, quercetin. These polyphenols have antioxidant activity, the ability to scavenge oxidative stress causing free radicals. Its antioxidant activity is suggested to be significantly higher than green tea (13.1 nmol TEAC/μg equivalents gallic acid in Yerba Mate vs. 9.1 nmol TEAC/μg equivalents gallic acid in green tea).

The caffeine level in Yerba Mate is comparable to coffee, 78 mg of caffeine in a 150 ml of Yerba Mate compared 85 mg of caffeine in 150 ml of coffee. Minerals in Yerba Mate include aluminum, manganese, potassium, zinc, choline, copper and more.Yerba Mate is also a source of chlorophyll.
Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate, due its phytochemicals (some high in antioxidant activity), is known to be associated with reduced risks of many diseases that are caused by free radicals.
High lights of benefits of Yerba Mate:
reduces lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, cell death.
reduces risk factors for diabetes.
reduces LDL cholesterol oxidation, a precursor for atherosclerosis.
inhibits toxic effects of some highly reactive chemicals (eg. peroxynitrite) that are associated with stroke and myocardial ischemia, restriction in blood supply.
contains chemicals associated with reduced risks of cancer. It has shown the ability to inhibit growth cancer cells.
may help in weight loss and management.
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