Why drink mate?
Mate is an excellent alternative to coffee, which has multiple health benefits: improves concentration, preserves cardiovascular health, boosts the immune system, reduces bad cholesterol levels and provides energy.
Contraindications and precautions to be taken
The contraindications are the same as for caffeine. If you are sensitive to coffee (it causes palpitations in you, for example) it is not recommended. If you suffer from insomnia, do not consume it after 2 p.m.
For people who suffer from high blood pressure and conditions such as gastritis, gastric ulcer and liver disease, mate should also be avoided.
Finally, avoid consuming it during pregnancy, breastfeeding and giving it to children.
What does mate taste like?
Mate is a traditional South American drink, made from a plant that may have a slightly bitter taste. The intensity of the bitterness will depend both on the way of preparing the drink, but also on the quality of the leaves used for the preparation.
The benefits of mate, a plant with many virtues
Full of antioxidants
Mate has multiple virtues for our health. This drink is a powerful antioxidant. It is as rich in antioxidants, if not more than green tea!
It is rich in polyphenols, which helps protect cells from diseases and attacks that will tend to weaken them and make them age prematurely.
A natural anti-fatigue
Rich in vitamin B1 (thiamine), mate is excellent in case of slackness, to fight against fatigue and gain energy.
Its energizing properties are also thanks to methylxantines (caffeine, theobromine and theophylline).
An ally of the brain
It is also recommended to maintain the proper functioning of the nervous system, improve memory and concentration as well as mood.
Support of the immune system and the cardiovascular system
The vitamin B6 that this plant contains will also help reduce fatigue, and will participate in the proper metabolism of homocysteine and cholesterol, and play a role in the functioning of the immune and hormonal system.
A concentrate of minerals and trace elements
Finally, this drink is rich in magnesium, essential trace elements, nutrients essential for the functioning of the body and the nervous system. The potassium it contains helps to balance the heart rate. Mate is therefore excellent for preserving the cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems.
How to choose your mate, and how to prepare it well?
Choosing the right mate
The bitterness of the drink will depend on the quantity and quality of the leaves used. In general, in a preparation, there are 90% leaves and 10% stems (or only leaves). For those who want a lighter taste, it is possible to find mixtures with 65-70% leaves.
There are mixtures “flavored” with medicinal plants, aromatic or fruits, which will bring a less pronounced taste.
Ideally, choose an organic maté, and from fair trade (the maté comes from countries and communities where working conditions and / or remuneration are not always respected).
The maté ritual
First of all, you have to take the time to prepare this beneficial drink, drinking mate is above all a ritual. Thus, the one who prepares the drink, generally tastes the first 3 or 4 sips, which are generally the most bitter, to share it with the other guests once it is ready to be tasted.
In Argentina, mate is traditionally consumed in a calabash (hollowed out and dried squash). But today there is a huge range of bowls in wood, ceramic or metal, to taste it.
You must first “clean” the calabash (gourd) overnight, filling it with mate herb and hot water. The next day, the leftovers are thrown away, and the container is ready to use. You also need a “bombilla”, a kind of metal straw with a filter.
- Fill 3/4 of the calabash with the herb.
- Cover the gourd with your hand and turn it over several times, so that the powder of the herb comes to the surface.
- Then tilt the calabash on one side so that the leaves are concentrated on that side (this avoids clogging the bombilla).
- Add a little lukewarm water (around 40 ° C) and let it steep for about 2 minutes.
- Then add hot water (75-80 ° C) up to half of the gourd.
- Introduce the bombilla, on the grass-free side, until it touches the bottom of the gourd.
- Add hot water to fill the gourd and do not stir with the bombilla, so as not to clog it.
- Taste, then add water if necessary until you find the taste that suits you.
- If you find it too bitter, you can use less weed.
Thanks to Angélica Alcantara, Naturopath and Yoga Teacher (www.yoginaturo.com), at Somasana, www.osteo.yoga