Sweater weather? Cool, crisp air? Stay healthy and warm by drinking Yerba Mate when cold weather hits!
Howdy, friends! Today, I want to tell y’all about a little secret drink that isn’t well known in the States. While I was an undergrad, I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Even though it was summer here in the U.S., it was winter there. Something I noticed very quickly was that people were drinking this unusual tea/coffee drink constantly. This herbal drink is known as Yerba Mate (pronounced yer-buh mā-teh), mate for short. Yerba Mate is an Argentine staple, and it is also their national drink (mate argentino). They drink it independently, socially, and share it. In fact, it is considered rude if you don’t offer to share your Yerba Mate with close friends. That’s actually how I tried it. The family I was staying with offered me some, and the rest is history.
Now, I know you’re thinking, what makes Yerba Mate different than regular tea or coffee? There are a few reasons, actually! According to guayaki.com, Yerba Mate is made from the “naturally caffeinated and nourishing leaves of the celebrated South American rainforest holly tree.” It comes in different varieties, sweet/unsweet, and is used to combat different ailments because it contains many essential vitamins and amino acids. It is different than tea because it contains a high amount of caffeine, but unlike coffee it won’t give you the jitters. It’s also very healthy and nourishing (I don’t know about you, but one of my goals is to become healthier as a whole, so this is a win for me!). Now let me explain why you need Yerba Mate in your life!
But first... how do you prepare it?
Yerba Mate preparation isn’t hard! What really makes it different from tea and coffee is that it is served in a yerba mate gourd with a mate bombilla. A bombilla is essentially a metal straw. To drink mate, you put as many yerba mate leaves into your mate gourd as you’d like (usually fill it at least three-fourths full). From there, you pour hot water (not boiling) onto the leaves until you see them become condensed and flat. Then, stick your bombilla into the mate by slowly sliding it down the side of the gourd. Whatever you do - do not stir it! Yerba Mate is not meant to be stirred. Once, you’ve placed the bombilla into the gourd, you’ve successfully made yourself a cup of mate and are ready to enjoy!
I know it may seem like a lot of work compared to making a cup of coffee or tea, but mate is so worth it. Here are some reasons why you should be drinking Yerba Mate, especially in the cooler months!
Via Step to Health
1. Yerba Mate is extremely healthy!
One super cool thing about mate is that it is associated with reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer and boosting your immune system. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is also used to “promote perspiration, immunity, digestion, memory, and weight loss.” The study the CDC conducted concluded that mate contained potent antioxidants and “DNA-protective activity,” which are properties that are natural to anti-cancer agents. Isn’t that awesome? I kept drinking mate to help maintain a healthy weight, but once I learned I was getting all these extra health benefits, it was one of those yay me for being healthy moments. So, as the weather gets colder and cold and flu season emerges, drink a cup of mate to boost your immune system and be healthy! Be healthy - drink mate!
2. Yerba Mate comes in many varieties!
I bet you’re wondering what Yerba Mate tastes like (don’t worry, I did, too). My first impression was that it was very similar to green tea, just slightly more bitter. Personally, I don't mind its bitterness, but I do have some friends that didn’t like it. Well, no worries! Yerba Mate comes in many varieties, and there is a mate flavor out there for you! There are flavored samples, such as peppermint Yerba Mate, which is perfect starting in November/December, and other types such as mate tea and organic Yerba Mate. I’m all about seasonal fall and winter drinks, so this is just perfect if you also enjoy them.
One thing I also learned while studying abroad was that in the summer time Argentinians sometimes use lemonade instead of hot water as both a sweetener and a way to stay cool (which is somewhat irrelevant in this blog post, but just a FYI comment). I’ve never actually tried it prepared that way, but it sounds delicious! You should be able to find a variety that works best for you to help you feel cozy during the colder weather!
Via Be Brain Fit
3. Yerba Mate is relaxing and meant to be shared!
After class let out, I would walk home and pass by a small park. One thing that was super cool about it was that there were always groups of people lying on blankets, chilling, and drinking their mate. This leads me to my next reason why you should drink mate: it is a relaxing beverage that allows you to unwind while spending time with your friends. Fall and winter are all about getting together with your friends and family, and Yerba Mate is perfect for helping you bond! Typically, you share your mate, and that’s why I would see people enjoying their mate together while relaxing. Sharing mate is a sign of friendship, trust and acceptance; what better way to relax than with your friends and family while drinking a hot Yerba Mate on a cool day?
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Now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you to join Team Yerba Mate, do a Google search and figure out what brands you’d like to try first. Yerba Mate is incredibly healthy, relaxing, and there is a brand out there for everybody! Let your friends know that you want to try Yerba Mate with them by sharing this post, and leave a comment about how excited you are to taste mate!
**Thank you to the following websites, which provided some of the information used in this blog post: Guayaki, Organic Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wikipedia, and Mi Yerba Mate. Featured image via Eat This Not That