Health Tip – Sept. 6 – Yerba Mate For Bone Health
Yerba mate (also known simply as mate) is a tea made from the dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis, an evergreen shrub in the holly family that grows in Central and South America. It has a long history as both a beverage and as a treatment for ailments such as fatigue, appetite control and a weakened immune system.
Recent evidence has furthered mate’s health benefits by highlighting its potential as promoting healthy bones, specifically preserving bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.
An Argentine study compared 146 postmenopausal women, some of whom who drank one liter of yerba mate tea daily for five years and some of whom didn’t. Results showed that the yerba mate drinkers had 9.7 percent higher bone density in their lumbar spine and 6.2 percent higher bone density in the area of the thigh just below the hip joint than the women who didn’t drink the tea.
If you do want to drink yerba mate for its health benefits, or simply because you enjoy the taste, be aware that it may cause a stimulant effect since mate contains xanthenes, a class of chemical compounds that includes caffeine.