The benefits of this tea may make you want to swap out your morning coffee for a cup of yerba mate.

If you think that’s silly, hear us out.

Yerba mate, a tea-like concoction made from the Ilex paraguariensis tree, has been used both medicinally and socially in South America for centuries.

Yerba mate potential benefits
  • increases energy
  • contains more antioxidants than any other tea-like drink
  • may lower cholesterol levels

The leaves of this tree contain a whole host of therapeutic benefits thanks to an abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Yerba mate contains more antioxidants than green tea.

In addition to 24 vitamins and minerals and 15 amino acids, yerba mate also contains polyphenols. These are micronutrients found in certain plant-based foods that may offer a number of health benefits, such as helping to treat digestion issues and cardiovascular diseases.

It also has caffeine — approximately 85 milligrams (mg) per cup. But unlike coffee, there are some studies that suggest yerba mate extract, when combined with other ingredients like green tea extract and containing up to 340 mg of caffeine, may help with increased energy without causing anxiety or changes in heart rate or blood pressure.

The 196 active compounds found in yerba mate also provide many good reasons to reach for this drink daily, including lowering cholesterol levels. In one 40-day study, participants who consumed 11 ounces of yerba mate each day lowered their LDL levels.

Finally, it’s also been linked to maintaining a healthy weight, as found in one older study. Participants were given three YGD capsules (which contained yerba mate) before each meal for 10 days and 45 days. Weight loss was significant in the treatment groups and they also maintained their weight loss over a 12-month period.

You can enjoy yerba mate brewed hot in a tea, but this iced version is a refreshing spin for summer. Cold brewing the tea preserves all of its amazing nutritional benefits.

Due to its caffeine content, one glass of yerba is best consumed in the morning or more than three hours before bed.

Cold Brew Yerba Mate

Star ingredient: Yerba mate

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup loose leaf yerba mate
  • 4 cups cool water
  • 2–4 tbsp. agave or honey
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • fresh mint

Directions

  1. Combine the loose leaf tea and cool water in a pitcher. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Before serving, strain the tea and add a sweetener to taste, lemon slices, and fresh mint.

Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Her blog focuses on real food for a balanced life, seasonal recipes, and approachable health advice. When she’s not in the kitchen, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, organic gardening, and hanging out with her corgi, Cocoa. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.