You may have heard Professor Andrew Huberman mention yerba mate on one of his podcasts or interviews.
Yerba mate is a caffeine drink, much like tea, that is popular across South America.
The topic of yerba mate comes up quite often on the Huberman Lab podcast, particularly around discussions related to dopamine, fat loss, and sleep.
In this post, we will cover the health benefits of yerba mate, which yerba mate brand Huberman uses, and why he is such a strong proponent of yerba mate consumption.
- Huberman’s Choice: Anna Park Yerba Mate
What is Yerba Mate?
Yerba Mate is a traditional South American drink made from the dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis, a species of holly native to the region.
The preparation of yerba mate involves steeping the dried leaves in hot water, much like tea.
Recommended brewing temperatures are lower than other teas, around 60 to 65 degrees Celcius.
Yerba mate has a distinctive flavor, often described as being somewhat similar to green tea but with a more herbal, grassy character.
It’s also well-known for its caffeine content.
The caffeine level is typically somewhere between that of tea and coffee, making it a popular choice for a stimulating drink.
However, if you are brewing yerba mate in a traditional gourd or container, the caffeine content will likely be much higher.
The number of times you refill your yerba mate cup with hot water will also impact the amount of caffeine you consume.
In addition to caffeine, yerba mate contains a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
|Beverage||Antioxidant Content||Caffeine Content per 8oz||Notable Nutrients|
|Yerba Mate||High||30-50mg||Rich in Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B Complex, Minerals|
|Green Tea||High||20-45mg||Vitamins B2, E, C; Beta-carotene, Minerals|
|Black Tea||Medium||40-70mg||Manganese, Potassium|
|Oolong Tea||Medium||30-50mg||Manganese, Potassium, Selenium, Fluoride|
|White Tea||High||15-30mg||Vitamins C, K, B1, B5, B6, Manganese, Potassium|
|Herbal Tea (e.g., chamomile, mint)||Varies||Caffeine-free typically||Varies depending on the herbs used|
|Coffee||High||95-200mg||B2, B3, B5, Manganese, Potassium|
|Espresso||High||~63mg per shot (~1oz)||B2, B3, B5, Manganese, Potassium|
|Energy Drinks||Varies||~80-150mg||Varies greatly depending on brand and formula. Often fortified with B-vitamins, Taurine, Guarana etc.|
Culturally, yerba mate has a significant role in social settings in many South American countries, particularly Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Southern Brazil.
It’s common for friends or family members to gather and share a mate gourd, each drinking from the same gourd and bombilla (a metal straw with a filter at the end).
Which Yerba Mate Does Huberman Drink?
Huberman has said that Anna Park is the best-tasting yerba mate for him.
He does not personally like smoky-tasting yerba mate and has mentioned the potential links between smoked yerba and cancer.
|Product Image||Product Name / Price||Primary Button|
Why Does Andrew Huberman Drink Yerba Mate?
Huberman’s father is Argentine, and half of his family lives in Argentina.
The country is very passionate about yerba mate.
It’s not only the caffeine drink of choice among Argentinians, but yerba also plays a culturally significant role in social gatherings with family and friends.
Sharing mate is a ritual that fosters conversation, connection, and community.
It’s a time for people to bond, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company.
The tradition originated with indigenous Guaraní tribes and was later adopted by European settlers in Argentina in the 16th century.
Today, drinking mate is ingrained in mainstream culture across all social settings.
It’s common to see Argentines walking around with a mate gourd and thermos in hand.
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Glucagon-like peptide one (GLP-1) is a significant and recently discovered hormone made in both the gut and brain that plays a key role in controlling appetite and feeding behavior.
Notably, GLP-1 works as an appetite inhibitor, and its increased presence is seen to reduce the urge to eat.
GLP-1 can also be stimulated by specific foods and substances, with yerba mate tea being a notable example.
Yerba mate also contains caffeine, of course, which contributes to fat utilization for energy.
Some research suggests potential links between yerba mate and certain types of cancers, primarily associated with the smoked version of the tea, although these findings are inconclusive.
Note: Huberman recommends avoiding the smoked versions of yerba mate as they contain carcinogenic cancer-promoting compounds.
Caffeine, in most forms, naturally spikes an individual’s dopamine levels for a period of time.
Yerba mate and some of its compounds can also help to preserve the survival of dopamine neurons in both the movement-related pathway and the motivation pathway.
Source: Controlling Your Dopamine For Motivation, Focus & Satisfaction | Huberman Lab Podcast #39
What yerba mate does Andrew Huberman recommend?
Huberman recommends consuming non-smoked yerba mate varieties.
Personally, he drinks Anna Park because he prefers the flavor to other brands.
Huberman has indicated that he does not have any financial ties with the brand.
Is yerba mate the healthiest drink?
Labeling any single beverage as “the healthiest” can be misleading, as nutritional needs vary greatly among individuals.
Yerba mate is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and it has potential health benefits, including improved mental focus, enhanced physical performance, and weight loss.
Excessive consumption of yerba mate has been associated with certain health risks, including higher chances of esophageal and other types of cancer, especially when consumed very hot (65+ Celcius) or in the smoked varieties.
Is yerba mate the healthiest tea?
Yerba mate is packed with several beneficial compounds such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
However, other types of tea, like green tea or black tea, also possess significant health benefits, including cardiovascular health improvements, cancer prevention properties, and metabolic benefits.
Does yerba mate cause adrenal fatigue?
There is no current scientific evidence linking yerba mate consumption directly to adrenal fatigue.
However, yerba mate contains caffeine, which in excessive amounts can lead to symptoms often associated with adrenal fatigue, such as restlessness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.