Mate is a drink obtained by infusion from the dried leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. Nowadays, this herbal tea has spread all over the world also as an anti-obesity and anti-cholesterol remedy. But do these properties have a scientific basis? Let's talk today about yerba mate on the basis of very recent research, such as the work of an Argentine team published in the journal Nutricion hospitalaria (Alvarez et al, Nutr Hosp, 2019) or the Portuguese study that appeared in the Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Santos Luis et al, Braz J Pharm Sci, 2019).
Based on scientific research, what emerges is that yerba mate, in 12 weeks, was able to reduce total cholesterol and bad cholesterol in overweight people and, when combined with a healthy and low-fat diet, triglycerides. In the latter case, the scientists observed a synergy between the mate infusion and the diet that made it possible to reduce triglycerides while, in the same period of time, the diet alone failed to achieve the same goal. Not only that, mate has also made it possible to reduce body weight and therefore body mass index. A significant decrease was also observed regarding the waist circumference. In people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, it has been observed that taking a tea of ??mate has helped to reduce fasting blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin, which is a value that is measured with blood tests to evaluate the average trend of blood sugar in recent months, thus allowing to understand if blood sugar levels have been high.
However, care must be taken. In fact, yerba mate contains high amounts of caffeine and the constant use of this infusion has been shown to increase blood pressure. Not only that, the herbal tea is often drunk very hot and this, in the long run, could damage the mucous membrane of the esophagus, increasing the risk of degeneration. Therefore, mate is definitely an extra help for those who need to keep body weight, cholesterol and blood sugar under control but should be taken, like any other food or drink, without excess and as part of a healthy diet. In addition, as we have seen, mate tea should not be drunk hot.