Back in the earlier days of the blog I did a weekly series called “Good For You Friday” where I would look at a particular food item and talk about why its good for you – then share a recipe on how to use it.
These were some of my favorite posts to write since it took lots of research (nerdy..I know!). But they were also time consuming and I honestly I didn’t think anyone was reading them at all. For the past few months I have been tossing around of bringing them back….
So I am pleased to announce this new installment of Good For You Friday! I will be repeating some of my old ones, as well as writing some new ones. I’ll also be creating a few more recipes to go along with them on some Fridays as well.
Since I’ve been drinking Yerba Maté so much lately (as well as instagraming and tweeting about it) I decided to start with that for this week! This is one of my old posts revisited.
Yerba maté (pronounced yerba mah-tay) is a tea-like drink that is an alternative to your morning cup of coffee.
It is a traditional drink in South American countries like Argentina, Brazil and is made from the leaves of a holly shrub in the rain forest. It has a long list of benefits, more than your common green tea – and has half the caffeine of coffee.
Yerba maté contains three different stimulant compounds (xanthines) – one of which is caffeine, but without the jittery/shaky side effects that you get when you drink coffee. It will increase alertness, give you energy, and combat fatigue.
One difference between maté and coffee is that with mate you don’t have that sudden “crash” from the caffeine – and it also doesn’t have other side effects of coffee like feel anxious or stomach aches.
These stimulant compounds also work on the body to slow digestion and aid weight loss in the following ways:
- Suppressing appetite
- Increasing metabolism
- Encouraging the body to burn calories
Yerba mate also high in antioxidants, caffeoylquinic acids, including chlorogenic acid, which has digestive benefits. Just like green tea it contains many antioxidants that can help fight against cancer, boost your immune system and also has chromium which can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Yerba maté also contains the mineral manganese, which is important for carbohydrate metabolism and thyroid regulation. It has also been known to reduce stress.
Who knew this little tea had so many benefits? It’s a whole lot better than your average cup of coffee! And about 10 times better than drinking a diet soda.
In addition to the basic yerba maté there are other flavored blends like chai spice, mocha and green mate. Maté can be brewed and drank alone like tea or milk and sweetener can be added to make a latte – and can be served hot or over ice. You can also purchase pre-brewed bottles of iced yerba maté in various different flavors – similar to how you would buy any other iced teas (like Snapple or Lipton). I’ve seen them for sale at health food stores and places like Whole Foods.
This honey-cinnamon drink is a way to sweeten up a cup of yerba maté while still enjoying its benefits.
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- I bag of traditional yerba maté
- Milk (Almond or any other non-dairy milk works too!)
- Place cinnamon stick in a mug and pour boiling water over it. Cover and steep for about 5 minutes. Place maté bag into cup and steep for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in honey and milk.