Ingredient Showcase: Yerba Mate Posted on 18 Oct 16:08
There are several reasons why it’s important to get daily exercise. And whether you are rehabbing an injury, training to become a better athlete, or just trying to feel more comfortable in your own skin, it all relates to the overall goal of improving your health.
One of the keys to ensuring a healthy body is maintaining a healthy body weight. The more the body must strain to operate, the more wear and tear the body will go through. It goes without saying, being overweight is unhealthy for the body. Everybody may want to look good in a bathing suit, but at the end of the day it’s just as important to fight heart disease and other degenerative diseases caused by our sedentary lifestyles!
That’s why, this week in our ingredient showcase, we’re focusing on an ingredient that should be included in every workout if you’re looking for a healthy, natural way to cut weight safely: yerba mate.
Yerba mate, of the infamous Holly family, starts its life as a shrub and eventually grows into a towering 50 ft. tree. Its leaves are evergreen, wide and serrated. These are harvested commercially for the caffeine and other xanthine alkaloid (stimulants) found in the leaves.
The yerba mate plant was originally cultivated in South America, specifically in Southern Brazil and Paraguay. With Spanish conquest came the widespread use of yerba mate where it eventually became the main commodity in Paraguay in the 16th Century. In the 17th Century, Jesuits domesticated the yerba mate and began plantations in Argentina to compete with the wild fields in Paraguay.
The competition between Argentina and Paraguay continued until war came to the region and decimated the economies of both countries. This led to Brazil’s domination of the yerba mate market by the end of the 17th century. Today Brazil still produces the most yerba mate in the world!
Today, yerba mate is used in beverages throughout South America. It has also recently seen a surge in popularity worldwide due to its fat-burning and energy-giving properties. Yerba mate contains a series of xanthines (stimulants): caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. The effects of the caffeine found in yerba mate on metabolism and energy are extensive. However, studies on the health effects of the other ingredients in yerba mate were non-existent until recently.
These studies show that yerba mate not only improves the body’s allergic reactions to foreign substances, it also has shown to reduce diabetes and high blood sugar. Yerba mate also contains compounds that act as appetite suppressors, mood and energy enhancers, and can even improve focus and sleep.
Yerba mate has stunning properties that are just now being discovered and should be an essential part of your pre-workout.