Yerba Mate & Cholesterol

It’s probably a bit of an overstatement to say that yerba mate is taking North America by storm. But this popular herbal beverage has been making inroads in this part of the world in recent years and its popularity shows no sign of abating.

Green Yerba Mate

In some parts of South America, however, yerba mate is as ingrained in the culture – or perhaps even more so – than coffee drinking is in North America. Yerba mate, in its traditional form, is prepared in a gourd known as a mate and consumed through a metal straw called a bombilla that serves to filter the liquid from the steeped solids. Check out this brief overview of some of the possible health benefits to be derived from yerba mate.

As noted briefly in the article mentioned above, yerba mate may have a beneficial impact on cholesterol levels. In this respect, it’s not unlike one of its better-known liquid cousins – tea. For more on the possible links between tea and cholesterol, refer to this overview on the topic.

According to results that appeared in 2009 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a clinical study was carried out that supports the notion that yerba mate has the ability to reduce LDL cholesterol. Researchers found that drinking several cups of yerba mate a day helped to decrease the undesirable LDL cholesterol, while increasing the so-called “good” HDL cholesterol.

The single-blind control trial, which was carried out by Brazilian researchers, looked at a total of 102 individuals, each of whom ingested 330 milliliters, three times a day, of green or roasted yerba mate infusions. This was the equivalent of three to four cups of yerba mate, which research subjects consumed for a period of 40 days.

For more in-depth information on the results of this study, refer to this abstract and full-text version ($$).

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