Coffee VS Yerba Maté: Which is Healthier?

coffee vs yerba mate

Quick Answer: It depends on how you take them, but when it comes to health benefits, Yerba maté offers more than coffee.

You’re most likely one of those who are hunting for a healthy alternative to coffee.

While it is true that coffee is an excellent drink that provides the boost your body craves each time you get up in the morning, caffeine and coffee’s acidic nature may be harmful to your health if consumed excessively.

Well, have you ever heard of Yerba maté? It is said to be one of the world’s most natural energy drink, with the kick of coffee but without any of the acidity, and contains even more minerals and vitamins than green tea!

Many people compare coffee and Yerba maté because of the advantages both beverages offer; but the real question is, which one is healthier?

In this article, you’ll find out whether coffee or Yerba maté might be better for you!

Let’s get right into it!

What is Yerba Maté?

Preparation of Yerba maté.

Yerba maté is a plant native to South America’s subtropical regions that are traditionally consumed by the locals particularly in Paraguay, Argentina, Southern Brazil, and Uruguay.

Yerba maté is extracted entirely from dried and crumbled Ilex paraguariensis leaves and branches and is brewed the same way as any other herbal tea.

According to a study, maté can be consumed in a variety of ways.

It can be served hot or cold, but perhaps the most common practice is to place the Yerba maté in a cup, pour it along with hot water, and sip the infused liquid through the use of a metal straw known as bombilla.

The bombilla functions as a filter, with the end that enters into the liquid having a bulb perforated with tiny holes that prevent the leaves from climbing the straw.

Maté can also be served as a chilled or cold beverage (tereré), which is a typical Paraguayan habit. Although sugar or other artificial sweeteners may be added, maté is traditionally consumed without sugar in Brazil (cimarrao).

Moreover, maté can also be prepared and consumed in the same way as tea is (mate cocido).

These countries’ grocery stores provide commercial maté products with varying amounts of twigs or stem along with a variety of tastes and flavors.

Is Yerba Maté Healthier Than Coffee?

Yes, it is!

If you want an alternative for coffee without sacrificing your morning cravings for caffeine, Yerba maté is an excellent option for you!

Yerba maté offers the same level of stimulation to the brain and muscles as coffee, making it an excellent alternative.

Actually, it’s better than coffee!

After a few cups of coffee, you may begin to feel its side effects, but Yerba maté helps you feel both stimulated and calm. This might be attributed to maté’s adaptogenic properties, which aid in the regulation of all bodily systems as well as its relaxing components like theophylline and theobromine, which are not found in coffee.

If you want to know more about why Yerba maté is healthier than coffee, watch the video below.

Know more about why Yerba maté is healthier than coffee.

Coffee vs. Yerba Maté: Nutritional Content

Coffee has been investigated for over a century and is said to provide a variety of health advantages as well as risks.

A regular cup of coffee may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases. It also contains a lot of antioxidants.

Here are the nutritional contents found in an average cup of coffee:

Fat0.1 g
Sodium8.4 mg
Protein0.1 g
Vitamin D0.00 mcg
Calcium0.20 mg
Iron0.08 mg
Potassium69 mg

Yerba maté, on the other hand, has traditionally been used as a natural treatment for:

  • tiredness or fatigue
  • anxiety or depression
  • weight management
  • recurrent headaches

Although Yerba maté is used by millions of people and is claimed to have numerous health advantages, additional study is needed to draw firm conclusions regarding its effectiveness.

Here are the nutritional contents found in one cup of Yerba maté:

Yerba maté
Protein0.5 g
Fat0 g
Carbohydrates3 g
Fiber0 g
Sugar0.0 g

How Many Cups of Coffee is in Yerba Maté?

Coffee and Yerba maté are two very distinct beverages. Hence, no amount of coffee can be found in Yerba maté.

However, what might interest you is the caffeine content of the two drinks.

Coffee and Yerba maté both contain around 75 to 80 mg of caffeine per cup. One cup (237 ml) of Yerba maté has around 78 mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to the caffeine content of a typical cup of coffee.

Coffee vs. Yerba Maté: Caffeine Content

Both are remarkably similar in caffeine content.

Both Yerba maté and coffee provide about 75 to 80 mg of caffeine per cup. One cup (237 ml) of Yerba maté has around 78 mg of caffeine, which is comparable to the caffeine level of a standard cup of coffee.

The caffeine in maté, on the other hand, appears to act in a different way.

While multiple cups of coffee may easily induce jitters and eventual crashing, maté has a unique function that is both energizing and calming.

If you brew your Yerba maté in a French press, the caffeine level will be somewhat greater, but a Yerba maté tea bag contains the least amount of caffeine, perhaps around the same as green tea. The strongest caffeine boost comes from loose-leaf yerba maté processed in a gourd.

The caffeine level of each Yerba maté type varies based on where and how the plant was cultivated.

The amount of caffeine varies depending on soil type, amount of sun and shade, as well as moisture. Likewise, processing procedures will affect how much caffeine remains in the Yerba maté leaves and stems.

According to one research:

  • one cup of Yerba maté has approximately 16 mg of 5-caffeoylquinic acid;
  • one “cuia” of chimarro contains approximately 27 mg of 5-caffeoylquinic acid, and
  • tererê contains around 20 mg of 5-caffeoylquinic acid (for the beverage prepared with 1.5 g of yerba maté brewed with 60 ml of water)

Hence, Yerba maté has less 5-caffeoylquinic acid than other phenolic acid-rich beverages, such as coffee or black tea.

Can You Replace Coffee With Yerba Maté?

Of course, you can!

The extracts of Yerba maté are likely to be the primary alternative to tea and coffee.

Some people promoting Yerba maté claim it can aid in tiredness, weight loss, depression, and treating headaches and other ailments.

However, there’s little scientific proof that Yerba maté actually aids in the treatment of most of these illnesses. Although, people who consume Yerba maté do appear to be healthier.

Before you ditch coffee and switch to Yerba maté, you should first bear in mind that drinking Yerba maté is a significantly different experience than your typical cup of coffee.

What Are the Benefits of Drinking Yerba Maté?

Yerba mate has a wide range of health benefits.

Yerba maté offers a lot of health benefits!

According to a scientific investigation conducted, here are the different health benefits you can get from Yerba maté:

  • Thermogenic Effects and Weight Loss

The Danish obesity research team at Charlottenlund Medical Center examined the herbal preparation of Yerba maté, Guaraná, and Damiana for stomach emptying and corresponding weight loss.

They discovered that the herbal preparation substantially delayed stomach emptying, decreased the time to felt stomach fullness, and caused considerable weight loss in overweight individuals treated in a primary care setting over 45 days.

Furthermore, maintenance treatment administered in an uncontrolled setting resulted in no further weight loss or weight regain.

  • Anti-diabetic Properties

Yerba maté has been found to prevent the development of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) at a level similar to two pharmaceutical-grade AGE inhibitor medicines.

The polyphenol-richIlex paraguariensis extracts can suppress AGEs on a protein model in vitro, but green tea had no impact.

Yerba maté intake improved T2DM patients’ glycemic control and lipid profile, while maté tea consumption combined with the dietary intervention was very successful in decreasing serum lipid parameters of pre-diabetes persons, potentially lowering their chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

  • Digestion Improvement

A study done by a team from Catedra de Farmacologia in Argentina discovered that Yerba maté increases bile flow and improves intestinal transit.

According to the data obtained with the four Ilex species investigated, the choleretic activity of Ilex paraguariensis is slow, progressive, and sustained.

  • Anti-fatigue and Stimulant Actions

Yerba maté stimulates the central nervous system.

Maté appears to have metabolic benefits which include the capability to maintain aerobic breakdown of carbohydrates during exercise for extended periods of time resulting in more calories burnt, boosting cardiac efficiency, and delaying lactic acid buildup.

The underlying research suggests that maté may be effective in treating a variety of ailments, including “anxiety, attention and focus disorders, mood and emotional disorders, Parkinson’s disease, extrapyramidal disorders, hypertension, substance abuse, eating disorders, withdrawal syndromes, and smoking cessation.”

  • Circulatory System Action and Hypocholesterolemic Effect

Yerba maté’s infusions’ antioxidant activity may contribute to the decrease in plasma levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and the induced vasodilation observed for both the aqueous and acidified butanol fractions of yerba maté may be mediated by the release of endothelium-derived substances.

According to Gorgen et al., I. paraguariensis can interfere with the circulatory system by functioning as a diuretic and hypotensive agent.

So, it appears that this treatment can affect the nucleotidase pathway, thereby changing the balance of purine levels and inducing relevant effects, such as in the cardiovascular system.

Why is Yerba maté bad for you?

Yerba maté is safe when consumed in moderation. However, when consumed in excessive amounts or over an extended period of time, it could become potentially dangerous.

Excessive consumption (more than 12 cups per day) may result in headaches, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats.

Additionally, excessive consumption of Yerba maté (1-2 liters a day) raises your risk of getting esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and even laryngeal or mouth cancer.

This danger is higher for those who smoke or use alcohol.

Final Thoughts

After going through this article, you should now have a proper understanding of what Yerba maté is, as well as its advantages and potential risks in comparison to coffee.

Both beverages have their charms and faults.

What I’d suggest is that if you have nothing to lose, go for something healthier!

If you want an alternative for coffee without sacrificing your morning cravings for caffeine, Yerba maté is an excellent option for you!

Yerba maté offers the same level of stimulation to our brain and muscles as coffee, making it an excellent alternative.

Opting to switch to Yerba maté may be tough at first, but you’ll come to appreciate the experience while living healthier and better.

However, keep in mind that moderate consumption is always the key to a healthier and better way of life.

What are you waiting for? Try your first cup of Yerba maté today!

Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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