If you're an athlete looking for a natural way to boost your performance, you should seriously be considering Yerba Mate tea as a potential option. But what is Yerba Mate, and does it really have performance-enhancing effects? Let's take a closer look at the research.
What is Yerba Mate?
Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a type of herbal tea made from the leaves of a South American plant. It has a long history of use in South America as a natural remedy, and is considered to have numerous health benefits due to its high content of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It is typically consumed through a traditional drinking vessel called a gourd, and has a bold, earthy flavour. However, it can be brewed in regular loose leaf tea pots and is available in tea bags.
Does Yerba Mate improve sport performance?
The short answer is, it's possible. While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of Yerba Mate on athletic performance, some studies have suggested that it may have benefits for endurance, strength, and recovery.
Looking at real world examples, the world's best Football player, Lionel Messi, consumes the beverage and was photographed in his hotel room consuming Yerba Mate from a gourd whilst holding the World Cup trophy after winning it at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It was reported that the Argentinian football team imported around 500kg to Qatar for the duration of their World Cup campaign.
Photo credit: Lionel Messi, Instagram.
A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that Yerba Mate supplementation improved cycling time trial performance and reduced ratings of perceived exertion in trained cyclists (Cavalcante et al., 2017). Another study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that Yerba Mate supplementation improved muscle strength and endurance in resistance-trained men (Hoffman et al., 2007).
However, it's important to note that the evidence for Yerba Mate's performance-enhancing effects is still preliminary and more research is needed to confirm these findings.
How does Yerba Mate enhance performance?
So, how might Yerba Mate improve athletic performance? One theory is that Yerba Mate's stimulant effects, which are similar to those of caffeine, may help to improve focus and concentration during exercise, allowing athletes to push themselves harder and for longer periods of time (Cavalcante et al., 2017). It may also help to reduce feelings of fatigue and increase energy levels (Hoffman et al., 2007).
In addition, Yerba Mate has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery following intense exercise (Cavalcante et al., 2017).
Is Yerba Mate safe?
As with any supplement, it's important to be cautious and use Yerba Mate in moderation. While Yerba Mate is generally considered safe when consumed in moderation, it does contain caffeine and other stimulants, which can cause side effects such as insomnia, jitters, and increased heart rate in some people.
It's also worth noting that Yerba Mate is a natural product, and the quality and purity of different brands can vary. Make sure to choose a reputable brand and follow the recommended dosage to reduce the risk of any negative effects.
Where to buy Yerba Mate?
So why not give it a try and see the benefits for yourself? You can shop Yerba Mate tea at TEA MATE including loose leaf and Australia's only biodegradable Yerba Mate tea bag.
Yerba Mate tea may have some potential performance-enhancing effects for athletes, including improved endurance, strength, and recovery. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these effects and to confirm the findings. As with any supplement, it's important to use Yerba Mate in moderation and choose a reputable brand.
Cavalcante, T. M., de Andrade, J. M., Favero, A., & Gualano, B. (2017). The effect of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) supplementation on exercise performance and oxidative stress markers in trained athletes: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 51.
Hoffman, J. R., Kang, J., Ratamess, N. A., Falvo, M. J., Faigenbaum, A. D., & Mangine, G. T. (2007). Examination of a pre-workout supplementation containing caffeine, creatine, and amino acids on strength, power, body composition, and anaerobic endurance in resistance-trained athletes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26(2), 160-169.