If you’re unfamiliar with Yerba Mate, it’s a member of the holly family native to South America – Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Southern Brazil – whose leaves, when crushed, are used to make a bitter beverage called mate (pronounced mah-tay). This beverage, which some ironically claim is both “more than a drink,” and a “drink of the gods,” is traditionally consumed out of a gourd, confusingly also known as a mate, and through a filtered metal straw, known as a bombilla. Mate, originally cultivated by the Guaraní people native to Paraguay (hence mate’s scientific name, ilex paraguariensis) has been consumed in South America for centuries, and is also, due to immigration, consumed in places like Syria and Poland.
Despite the fact that a large amount of people swear by the benefits of Yerba Mate, almost to the point of those who drink it viewing it as some sort of plant-based religion (or cult, really), it’s important for those who aren’t familiar with it to thoroughly understand the dangers of this beverage.
Below are only a handful of the reasons why you shouldn’t drink Yerba Mate:
Yerba Mate has an endless amount of health benefits
For those who are averse to an almost endless amount of health benefits, beware of Yerba Mate. According to the Pasteur Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to the study of biology, microorganisms, disease and vaccines, “Yerba mate contains nearly all vitamins needed to sustain life.” Yerba Mate contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B Complex, Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Carotene, Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, 15 amino acids, 11 polyphenols, which has anticancer effects, and more. The list goes on and on, but what’s most important here is that drinking Yerba Mate is healthy, which should be avoided at all costs. As time goes on, we humans understand better than ever the harmful effects of good health. People live longer, are happier, have better relationships with other people and enjoy their day-to-day lives a bit too much. Also, if you’re a woman, you certainly shouldn’t drink it, given that early research points to mate reducing the chance of breast cancer.
Drinking Yerba Mate helps you lose weight
Unfortunately, drinking Yerba Mate combats obesity, decreases belly fat and helps people who exercise have an increased metabolism, allowing them to get more out of their workouts than they normally would. It can also fight against diabetes, which obviously no one wants to prevent. Researches have found that drinking Yerba Mate can make your stomach feel fuller for longer, causing people to desire sugary and fatty snacks much less, which is horrible. Why would anyone want to just have one 500-calorie cookie when they could normally have a healthy lunch consisting of 10 of them plus a supersized soda? The idea is preposterous, and just another reason why people should stay away from Yerba Mate if they want to continue increasing their risks for hypertension, diabetes, liver and kidney disease and all of the other diseases that come about as a result of not eating well. Plus, it also puts you in a better mood after exercising, and most people would prefer to be grumpy after running a few miles, right?
Barriers between people break down, increasing understanding
As described above, the traditional way of drinking Yerba Mate is highly strange. You use a cup (also called a mate), a filtered metal straw (bombilla), water and loose-leaf herb. What’s even more peculiar is that the person who prepares this weird concoction is called the cebador, or server. The cebador takes his or her time preparing the mate, to make sure it’s just right for whomever they’re sharing it with, and, after drinking the first cup of it, which is usually the most bitter, they then refill and pass it to anyone who’s foolish enough to share it with them. When people drink mate, they usually take their time, chat with one another, have long conversations and end up better understanding each other’s points of view instead of remaining ignorant of how their friends, family and even strangers feel. Who in their right mind would ever want that? Opening your mind and seeing other people’s’ points of view? No thank you! Instead, people should stick to more solitary beverages, like coffee, tea, sodas and juices that you can enjoy alone without interacting with other people. The best mind is a closed mind, obviously.
Yerba Mate helps you focus and improves your mood
Not only does Yerba Mate have a ton of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it also contains stimulants, like caffeine, theophylline and theobromine. For those who don’t know, caffeine makes you more alert and awake. Theophylline and theobromine do the same, but they also have properties specific to themselves, like helping you to breathe better (theophylline is found in inhalers) and feel happier (theobromine is found in chocolate). People who take Yerba Mate liken it to adderall in the way that it helps them focus, decrease physical fatigue while exercising and become more productive, which is insane. Everyday people, especially those who work long hours, love being tired; they enjoy being in bad moods, complaining to everyone around them and eventually becoming sick due to stress, negativity and bad habits. There are dozens of reasons why you should stay away from Yerba Mate, but this is a strong one. Please don’t drink it if you’re looking to become easily distracted, not get things done and be in a bad mood for days, it’ll only ruin all of that.
Bacteria that causes bad breath hate Yerba Mate
Have bad breath and want to keep it? Don’t drink Yerba Mate. We repeat, do not drink Yerba Mate if you have bad breath and want the fetid stench of rotting bodies in the middle of a humid summer to continue inhabiting your mouth like your roommate’s best friend who “plans to move soon,” but never does. Research has found that polyphenols, antioxidants which Yerba Mate has at least 11 (possibly many more) of, have a significant effect on bad breath. But, let’s allow WebMD to spell it out for you:
In the “bad breath” study, researchers combined black tea extracts with three species of bacteria (all linked with bad breath) in petri dishes for 48 hours. They compared the results with bacteria that sat alone. In all cases, tea polyphenols inhibited the growth of bacteria by 30% and reduced the production of compounds that cause bad breath.
And while the study refers to black tea, Yerba Mate is known to have more antioxidants than any other tea, leading us to conclude that the high amount of polyphenols in Yerba Mate also decrease bad breath. So, when you plan on going out on that big date, make sure to not drink any Yerba Mate, we’re sure your date swoons at the thought of kissing someone whose breath smells like post-gym sneakers. Supposedly it’s a millennial thing, but who really knows.
Do yourself a favor and don’t drink Yerba Mate
Just do yourself a favor and don’t drink Yerba Mate. While we only included five reasons why you shouldn’t drink it, there are dozens that would make this article a bit too long and too overwhelming. But, just to make sure you’re convinced, a few others include the fact that the Pope drinks it every day, Lionel Messi, arguably the best soccer player in the world, drinks it, Barack Obama likes it, as well as other people whose names you’d likely recognize, like Viggo Mortensen and Tim Ferris. Some even claim it helps with pregnancy, but we’ve already perfected that, right? So, grab yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy the status quo! Trust us, the best way to achieve progress in your life, and the world, is by not changing a thing.