Coffee, Tea, or Mate?

Do you start your day with a hot cup of coffee? If so, you are picking the second most popular beverage on the planet, topped only by tea. With over one billion all over the world drinking coffee, this beverage is no doubt among the favorites. But did you know there is a third drink you can choose from to get your mornings started? I’m talking about yerba mate

If you’re like me, you have been lucky enough to try all three of them, then you probably know they are all distinctly different and great in their own way. And while I do enjoy a cup of black coffee early in the day, there is nothing like mate to get me through it. I like my mate unsweetened, and my yerba with stems, which means less finely ground, and milder in flavor. 

While my body cannot tolerate more than one cup of coffee a day, mate is something I can drink non-stop. Like coffee and tea, mate is a stimulant drink, which means it also contains caffeine—85 milligrams per cup, much less than coffee but a little more than tea. And I think this is the reason why I can have so many mate during the day without feeling jittery. 

But it is not just that mate keeps me focused and awake, it is my comfort drink. For most of us that were born and raised in the South-American region, mate is a tradition. Before Covid-19 arrived, mate was a beverage that we shared with our family and friends. And many of us could not wait for the day that we could share our mate again.

Because of the internet, in the past years, I have seen a lot of people from all over the world take up drinking mate. So if you are curious and would like to try it someday, I thought it best to share some tips: 

While mate is very rich in antioxidants, it is not advised to drink it before or after eating legumes, as it could compromise iron absorption. It is also worth noting that mate can have diuretic and laxative effects, more so for newcomers, so it might be better to ease into it. While it is a rather benign drink, and people over here can be seen having it all day, it is not advised for children under 10 years old, nor for people with hepatic or kidney conditions. 

Lastly, if you suffer from insomnia, you already know to stay away from coffee and tea, and as mate falls into the same category, it is better not to drink it, much less at night.

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