Nutrition Physical Health

Caffeinated Tea: Mate

Caffeine is believed to be an essential part of college life. It is a rite of passage between the life of a high school student to one where caffeine is needed to pursue all of life’s wonders. However, when deciding the caffeinated drink of choice during midterms, finals, and last-minute papers, most have little to no knowledge about Mate tea, though many college students are aware of the benefits of green or black tea.

Yerba Mate (herb of mate) is made of the Ilex paraguariensis tree and is traditionally drank in South America. Some benefits of yerba mate in comparison to caffeinated teas are as follows:

  • Drinkers say that the drink offers the wake-up of caffeine without the crash of coffee and that it allows them to feel awake even though they can still choose to sleep when necessary.
  • It contains 80 milligrams of caffeine per cup. This is twice the amount in black tea but half of that in coffee, which contains between 100 to 200 milligrams per cup.
  • It has a high amount of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which some studies show can help reduce the risk of acquiring type II diabetes and certain types of cancer.
  • It contains many nutritional compounds, including B vitamins, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, zinc, and antioxidants. According to researchers in New York, the tea contains more nutrients than green tea.

Additional research also shows that:

  • In test tubes, the herb protects heart and liver cells, protects DNA from damage, and kills human liver cancer cells. On lab rats, the tea also helps with heart blood flow and has weight loss benefits.
  • However, those who drink Mate tea close to a liter a day may have an increased risk of cancers in the esophagus, lungs, mouth, pharynx, and larynx. This research is still inconclusive.

Caffeine seems like a staple of college life, but the balance between not enough and too much is, for me (and probably many others), tricky. For example, I cannot drink caffeinated drinks like coffee, but black tea is not enough of a kick. Yerba Mate provides an interesting choice of drink for us college students,and offers more health benefits than a regular cup of coffee. In the end, drinking every drink, including those with caffeine, in moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle.


Article by Marissa Jauregui

Feature Image Source: Be Brain Fit