Aside from being two of the most talented and famous footballers in the world, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi have something else in common; they have both been spotted on different occasions drinking Yerba Mate tea. Suarez has been seen leaving Barcelona and Uruguay games drinking directly from his gourd. Even the legendary Diego Maradona who is sometimes accredited as the greatest footballer of his time loved this South American traditional tea. Historically, Yerba Mate tea has been enjoyed since as early as the 16th century. It is made by steeping the ground leaves and round stems of the Yerba Mate plant. Although it can be currently found taken as a modern tea, the most authentic way to enjoy this special brew is traditionally serving it in a ‘mate’ Spanish name for gourd and drink using a straw famously known as the bombilla, or as we like to call it – Bombisha!
Footballers are not the only ones known to drink Yerba Mate tea. It is also a favourite among several Olympians. This August over 10,000 talented athletes had the unique opportunity to call Rio de Janeiro home for the Olympic Games. Some of the successful Olympians from these games such as Sam Mikulak admit that Yerba Mate tea is as essential and prominent part of their diet. American Olympic gymnast Sam Mikulak swears by Yerba Mate tea and even started a company called MateBros in the US which makes healthy energy drinks from it. Sam Mikulak claims that Yerba Mate tea helps him tune into his body and mind during practice. Other world class Olympians who swear by Yerba Mate tea include ultra marathon runner Scott Jurek and women’s United States ski racer Lauren Ross.
Recently at Bombisha we have been speaking to customers and Mate aficionados about how Mate supports their general wellness and exercise regime. We thought this deserved a blog post of its own as there seems to be a surge in Yerba Mate being used as a healthy alternative in the pre-workout energiser space and for number of other health areas. Here is a brief but detailed overview of some of the indispensable benefits of drinking Yerba Mate tea that have made it a popular choice for athletes and talented sportsmen and women, like our recent Olympians.
1). Yerba Mate tea is an excellent pre-work out energizer
Antoine Griezman scored not one, but two goals in the Euro 2016 that saw France thrash Germany! One would wonder where all his energy comes from. The answer might actually be Yerba Mate tea. Antoine Griezman has a YouTube video that shows him drinking mate and explaining how to prepare it. Guess what! He drinks it every morning before training sessions. Scientific evidence shows that Yerba Tea helps combat mental and physical fatigue and also boosts cognitive performance significantly. It provides a smooth increase in energy that has been described as calm, gentle and clean.
Unlike other stimulants such as tea , kola nut and coffee that provide a boost in energy accompanied with numerous side effects, Yerba Mate tea delivers a balanced energy boost that prepares a user for a an energetic and long work out session. This type of tea causes a state of alert wakefulness and is free from side effects that can slow down and impair training such as caffeine jitters. This is why athletes use it to enhance their exercise regimen; it can enhance their physical performance particularly for people suffering from physical and mental fatigue which is a common occurrence considering most athletes need to train consistently hence end up overworking their bodies.
2). Drinking Yerba Mate tea helps build strong bones and keeps the heart healthy
Even when not exercising Yerba Mate tea can help build strong bones through increasing bone density. According to an exhaustive study, post-menopausal women at risk of developing osteoporosis had a 10% greater bone density in the spine after consistently drinking mate as compared to women who did not drink it. The study did not involve exercise. Additionally, Yerba mate also comes in handy in preventing the development of heart related issues such as irregular heartbeats, heart failure and decreased low blood pressure. This tea naturally contains theobromine which helps to relax blood vessel and allow for better blood flow. Better blood flow is essential for persons who are very active physically because there is more oxygen supply to major organs which improves endurance. Furthermore, Yerba mate also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which also protect the cardiovascular system and the heart.
3). Yerba Mate tea is a nutritional powerhouse loaded with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins
The health benefits of Yerba Mate go beyond merely boosting energy and mental stimulation. This tea also has a powerful nutrient profile making it preferred over tea and coffee in some parts of the world. The athletes and Olympians drinking this tea are not only boosting their physical performance, they are also drinking a nutritious and healthy drink that boosts their immune system. This kind of tea is loaded with practically all the essential micro-nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body and active mind. Each serving of mate contains a high concentration of the following minerals and vitamins; B1, B2, B3, B5, E and C, Zinc, Calcium Manganese, Iron, Sulfur, Phosphorous, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and Selenium.
4). Yerba Mate boosts the immune system and has a long history of traditional medicinal uses
This tea is highly concentrated with saponins which are natural emulsifiers that not only boost the immune system but also have anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This tea comes in handy in modulating overactive immune responses which are a characteristic of seasonal allergies. Additionally, it has a long history of traditional medicinal uses. In her highly informational book, Dr Leslie Taylor a herbalist and naturopath lists dozens of uses for Yerba Mate tea including; as a treatment for sinusitis and allergies, a general nerve tonic for depression, pain and fatigues.
5). Yerba Mate boosts mental functions and helps lose weight
It is not only popular in South America and Australia; renowned American personality Dr Oz included a segment in his show that features Yerba Mate as a natural tea way to lose weight. Is this a legit claim? There is adequate evidence that suggests that this kind of tea can help lose weight through increasing energy expenditure, reducing appetite, burning stored fat and improving insulin sensitivity.
We all want to be smart, focused and productive, right! It is possible that yerba mate tea can help you do just that! It contains moderate amount of caffeine therefore also has added benefits such as enhancing mood, alertness and memory.
Yerba Mate is quickly becoming widely accepted on a global base and is no longer just a preserve for South Americans. This is because the benefits are indisputable, especially for individuals involved in high-performance sporting activities. Even the leader of the Catholic Church is a regular Yerba Mate drinker. He has proudly carried his gourd and bombilla around the world. He credits this drink with helping him manage nerve complications he has been dealing with for a while. Yerba Mate also locally known as chimarrão or cimarrón in South America may have started out as a simple traditional delicacy; however, its numerous benefits have catapulted it to global acceptance.