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What if there really was a coffee alternative that actually worked? I know, a true coffee drinker will never betray his trusted bean, but for those who really want to kick the habit yerba mate may be the solution. Celebrities like Meg Ryan, Madonna, Alicia Silverstone, Gwyneth Paltrow and the oh so sexy Viggo Mortensen certainly seem to think so.

The Best Alternative to Coffee

Have you ever wondered why South American’s are always so happy and energetic? It may have something to do with the gourds of mate tea they sip on throughout the day. In South America you don’t find people sitting in discussion each drinking their own cup of coffee, instead one gourd (usually a calabash) of yerba mate tea is passed around a group, each person sipping out of a metal straw. The gourd is filled with dried mate leaves and twigs, which is consistently topped up with hot water (not boiling, this can make the tea bitter). The taste is similar to a strong green tea, but has the same pungent kick as coffee.

Wearable technology in the workplace

A big draw is the promise of a ‘clean buzz’ without the normal coffee highs, lows and jitters. Wishful thinkers are convinced that yerba mate is completely free of caffeine. Its stimulating effects are thought to be from a compound known as mateine, a close relative of caffeine that produces the stimulating qualities without the negative effects. The reality is there are no close relatives of caffeine; mateine is caffeine. Mate has as much caffeine as coffee, but being a tea not a coffee bean mate expresses its caffeine character in much the same way as Ceylon tea.

 The Beneficial Ingredients of Yerba Mate Tea

Unlike coffee mate is filled with alkalizing compounds rather than acidic ones. On the upside yerba mate is also imbued with polyphenols, an impressive array of antioxidants, almost twice the amount of green tea, including quercetin, theobromine, and theophylline; vitamins such as A, B’s C and E, and minerals including manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, and zinc.

You may know the name theobromine from chocolate. This is the stimulating alkaloid that gives you that chocolate boost with relaxing edge. Being a vasodilator (the opposite to caffeine) it can help lower blood pressure and decrease hypertension. In other words it counters the negative effects of caffeine while still having a stimulating effect.

Don’t be fooled by imitation, yerba mate in a can is certainly not the real deal. If you want to experience the health benefits this will involve brewing up the herbal tea.

Yerba Mate as a Digestive Aid

Traditionally this herbal tea is used in South America to support digestive problems and constipation. It has even been found useful for weight loss; this could be due to the fact that it helps to reduce the pathogenic bacteria in the digestive system, which can even alleviate bad breath.

Celebrity Connoisseurs

Alicia Silverstone. On one of her blog posts from her health and lifestyle website The Kind Life she revealed, “ It’s super yummy. I used to drink this with Woody and Laura all the time. Laura makes a mean Yerba Mate latte! You can have it cold or hot with soy or rice milk and maple syrup. Yerba Mate gets me super spazzy from the caffeine, so I don’t drink it anymore, but boy I used to enjoy some sips of that with my pals. It’s not superhero, but if you’re looking for a healthier caffeine fix, this is a better option than coffee!”

Photo by Featureflash - shutterstock.com

Photo by Featureflash – shutterstock.com

 

Gwyneth Paltrow has been mentioned by the international media as a regular mate drinker.

Photo: Entertainment Press / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Entertainment Press / Shutterstock.com

Madonna. Personal trainer Nicole Winhoffer told Allure Magazine that Madonna takes “natural supplements with ginseng or yerba mate.” It is part of her routine before shows, a way to boost her energy.

By Dennis Makarenko: Shutterstock

By Dennis Makarenko: Shutterstock

Viggo Mortensen spent much of his childhood and teens in Argentina. Among the many cultural norms he acquired a taste for mate which he still enjoys today. He chooses to bring his favourite brand wherever he goes, even though customs often question the suspicious looking herb:

“Of course they asked me if it’s a bong or a pipe to smoke pot. I’ve made the mistake of putting the mate in a plastic Ziploc bag instead of its original packaging, so that it ends up looking like pot. At first, they always think the worst, but then you explain to them what it is, and it’s always been OK,”

shutterstock_84569317

By Dennis Makarenko: Shutterstock

Meg Ryan was reported by Britain’s The Independent, to be yet another one of Hollywood’s mate drinkers.

By Everett Collection: Shutterstock

By Everett Collection: Shutterstock

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Kheyrne Danu

Kheyrne Danu has spent the last seven years working with women through personal coaching and workshops on natural wellness; she is also the brainchild of the Super Thrive brand, a natural product for stress support. Kheyrne first studied interior design, but soon switched to natural wellness, a subject that has fascinated her for over 16 years.

She also trained as a kinesiologist, a doula and yoga instructor, as well as being a professional dance teacher and bodywork practitioner. Kheyrne feels that life really shines through when one has a great understanding of and relationship with one’s own body. She is a writer for Longevity magazine.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.