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Tip 337: Drink Yerba Mate Green Tea for Better Body Composition and Great Health

Monday, April 30, 2012 9:06 AM
Drink yerba mate green tea for better body composition and great health. The wonders of green tea on health and body comp are well known and a wealth of new research into the benefits of yerba mate show it is an excellent addition to your diet as well.

The major difference between yerba mate and green tea is the plant the tea comes from and how it is dried. Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant that is native to China. It is dried primarily though fast, high-temperature air drying. Mate comes from the ilex paraguariensis plant that is native to South America. It is dried slowly and often using wood smoke. This gives it very different flavors and changes the chemical makeup. Both green tea and mate contain numerous antioxidants that are the source of their anti-obesity effects. Yerba mate contains caffeine, polyphenols, flavonoids, amino acids, minerals (phosphorous, iron, calcium, and the vitamins B1 and B2 and C.

Recent studies show yerba mate provides the following benefits:
•    Antibacterial and can kill E. coli bacteria
•    Anti-inflammatory and will decrease chronic inflammation in the body
•    Antimicrobial and could be added to foods to naturally increase shelf life
•    Increases Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 and improves metabolism
•    Improves insulin health and signaling, preventing diabetes
•    Improves bone mineral density in post-menopausal women by 6 to 10 percent
•    Decreases LDL cholesterol and triglycerides

A recent study in the journal Laboratory Animal Research shows how it improves body composition. Researchers tested the effect of giving three different yerba mate doses to rats that had been fed a high-fat diet for six weeks. They were then broken into groups and given one of three yerba mate doses (0.5g, 1g, or 2g per kg of body weight) daily for the next four weeks.

Results showed that the yerba mate treatment allowed the rats to lose body fat in a dose response manner such that the rats that received the 2 gram dose lost the largest amount of weight and almost returned to their baseline weight from before eating the high-fat diet. The 0.5g and 1g dose groups also lost a substantial amount of weight in a dose response manner. Conversely, a control group gained weight.

Researchers suggest yerba mate is so effective for weight loss because it blunts hunger, lowers food intake, and improves blood sugar health. The yerba mate doses in the study also improved glucose tolerance in a dose response manner, and the yerba mate treated rats ate significantly less food than the control group. Analysis of the hormone leptin, which suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, was much improved in the rats that received the yerba mate. This is likely a primary contributing factor to the rats eating less and losing weight.
For best body composition and health results, drink some form of green tea daily. Yerba mate is an excellent addition to your diet if you enjoy caffeine. Technically, there is no decaf yerba mate although there is a related tea beverage called ilex dumosa that doesn’t contain caffeine, but it is not readily available outside Argentina. 

Kang, Y., Lee, H., et al. Anti-Obesity and Anti-Diabetic Effects of Yerba Mate in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet. Laboratory Animal Research. 2012. 28(1), 23-29.

Conforti, A., Gallo, M., et al. Yerba Mate Consumption is Associated with Higher Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women. Bone. 2012. 50(1), 9-12.

Thavanesan, N. The Putative Effects of Green Tea on Body Fat: An Evaluation of the Evidence and A Review of the Potential Mechanisms. British Journal of Nutrition. 2011. 106(9), 1297-1302.

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