PhD. Ana Thea, Biochemist and Research Professor at Universidad Nacional de Misiones, tells us about the properties and benefits of Yerba Mate as a food.
That's not all, she also gives us a healthy recommendation to enjoy mate during these times.
To take care of yourself and prevent COVID-19, there is nothing better than frequent hand-washing, taking care of personal hygiene, following the rules and recommendations of the authorities to enjoy a good mate, each one with his or her own mate kit.
The quarantine, a COVID-19 prevention measure, has changed our habits: we are living new ways of learning, working and having fun.
Can we still consider mate as the ideal partner?
If we analyse it from a technical and nutritional point of view, mate is a powerful antioxidant, a source of vitamins, minerals and also an ally in the prevention of certain diseases such as type II diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and high bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
Infusions prepared with Yerba Mate, mainly the traditional mate, have a great antioxidant power due to their high concentration of polyphenols, which improve the body's natural defences and protect it from oxidative damage.
Mate contains 60% more antioxidants than green tea, to give an example that compares our national infusion with the oriental beverage, known worldwide as the beverage of eternal youth.
It is very well known that eating a balanced diet with a high consumption of fruit and vegetables, avoiding excessive consumption of table salt, taking care in the intake of alcoholic beverages and giving up smoking, contribute significantly to our organism and its well-being. It is also known that drinking mate is a healthy habit.
The intake of infusions prepared with Yerba Mate, having antioxidant properties, reduces people's vulnerability to disease. Obviously, this healthy habit should be combined with regular physical exercise and good rest.
All these things help to keep the immune system strong and ready for the various onslaughts. Keeping our immune system awake and alert is vitally important to fight off transmissible diseases.
Fruits and vegetables are very important contributors to a balanced diet and are strongly recommended by the World Health Organisation as they not only provide nutrients such as carbohydrates and, to a lesser extent, lipids and proteins, but are also a rich source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Yerba Mate also belongs to this virtuous food group, containing large amounts of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols and other antioxidants.
Another important issue is that the dietary guidelines of global health organisations recommend the intake of eight (8) glasses of water per day, which is equivalent to about two litres of water.
It is estimated that approximately 70 percent of our daily water intake comes from beverages, and the remaining 30 percent is obtained from food.
Although it is always recommended that water should be the most important liquid intake during the day, infusions such as mate are an important contribution to complement the recommended intake.
Drinking bitter mate is a smart way to hydrate as it is a low-calorie, low-sodium beverage that also provides good doses of vitamins such as thiamine and pyridoxine,from the mineral magnesium and polyphenols.
Consuming any type of infusion or food, such as soup, at a very high temperature, can damage the taste buds, the tissue at the base of the tongue, the pharynx and oesophagus, and even the gastrointestinal system.
The temperature of the water, apart from being a decisive factor when brewing a good mate and preserving the product and its taste, is key when it comes to taking care of our body.
When we prepare mate, boiling the water or heating it to an excessive temperature will only damage the digestive mucosa, the first immunological barrier we have against microorganisms and other external agents.
This is the reason why, in order to drink a delicious mate, we recommend you heat the water to between 75°C and 80°C.
Yes, drinking mate is a healthy habit, but in this pandemic context, the best way to take care of yourself is to take certain precautions:
● Do not share your mate.
● Sanitize the utensils you use to drink mate.
● Wash your hands frequently
● Keep a proper personal hygiene
● Follow sanitary protocols.
These tips will keep you safe, so you can continue to enjoy mate, our national infusion.