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Yerba Mate: 5 Benefits & Uses

You've probably heard about the many health benefits of matcha green tea. But have you ever heard of yerba mate? Traditionally consumed in South America, yerba mate is a tea-like beverage that's packed with vitamins and minerals. It's also high in antioxidants that boost the immune system. Yerba mate benefits include the ability to lower cholesterol levels, promote healthy weight loss and even kill off colon cancer cells.

Yerba Mate Benefits

1. Kills Colon Cancer Cells

Research has shown that yerba mate benefits include the ability to kill colon cancer cells. In a 2011 study, researchers found that yerba mate tea leaves possessed anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. The study also showed that yerba mate benefits include the ability to treat human colon cancer by inducing cancer cell death. (1)

2. Stimulates the Immune System

Yerba mate benefits include the ability to stimulate the immune system. Yerba mate contains polyphenols and saponins that have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels and bone health. The phytochemicals in yerba mate leaves can also help protect the body from disease.

3. Increases Daily Nutrient Intake

Yerba mate benefits include the ability to provide the body with a hefty dose of nutrients. It contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3 and B5. Yerba mate also contains calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. By providing the body with these essential vitamins and minerals, yerba mate benefits include a natural nutrient boost. (2)

4. Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Yerba mate benefits include the ability to naturally reduce cholesterol levels. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that yerba mate consumption resulted in lower LDL cholesterol levels. By lowering cholesterol, yerba mate benefits also include the ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. (3)

5. Promotes Healthy Weight Loss

Yerba mate benefits include the ability to aid in weight loss. The leaves and stem contain saponins that help reduce body weight. A 2014 study found that yerba mate consumption can increase the effectiveness for weight loss, as well as sports performance. The nutrients in yerba mate possess anti-obesity properties that help decrease body fat mass, body fat percentage and waist to hip ratio.

Yerba Mate vs. Coffee & Green Tea

With almost as much caffeine as coffee and the same feel-good chemicals as green tea, yerba mate can help give you a natural boost in the morning. Yerba mate contains three different stimulants - caffeine, theophylline and theobromine, the feel-good chemical found in chocolate. These stimulants boost the body's energy without the jittery effect that coffee can cause. Yerba mate can help reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, fight obesity, reverse diabetes and strengthen the immune system, similar health benefits to that of green tea. Coffee's health benefits include the ability to prevent arteriosclerosis and aid in digestion, however the acidity of coffee can contribute to acid reflux symptoms.