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How much yerba mate can you drink per day? How much mate to pour and how to drink it?

2023-08-14
How much yerba mate can you drink per day? How much mate to pour and how to drink it?

If you can't imagine a day without yerba mate, the question must have crossed your mind more than once: “how much yerba mate can I drink per day without overdoing it?” Although its beneficial properties are widely known, the old saying: too much of a good thing! We will tell you what the optimal daily dose of yerba mate is and how much to drink in order not to overdo it. Enjoy your reading!

Summary:

  1. Caffeine in yerba mate – how does it work?
  2. Caffeine content in yerba mate. How much to drink to avoid caffeine overdose?
  3. Yerba mate – how much can you drink per day? Various factors come into play
  4. How much yerba do you put in the mate gourd?
  5. Who should avoid drinking yerba mate?

Caffeine in yerba mate – how does it work and how much can be consumed per day?

Yerba mate is an infusion made from the leaves and twigs of Ilex paraguariensis, an evergreen tree that grows in South America, across Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Hundreds of years ago, the extraordinary properties of the plant were discovered by the Guarani Indians who lived in the area. Many years later, scientists proved that yerba mate, like coffee or tea, contains caffeine, which stimulates the body to action, gives energy, removes fatigue and improves concentration. Nowadays, many people consider yerba mate as an alternative to coffee and a healthier substitute for artificial energy drinks. They drink a portion of mate in the morning to awaken a sleepy body and also before strenuous mental effort to be able to concentrate better. The caffeine contained in yerba mate gives a boost that many people cannot imagine functioning without on a daily basis; unfortunately, it is easy to overdose and the effects are not pleasant at all.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is an organic chemical compound, a natural psychostimulant that has been with mankind for thousands of years, although scientifically caffeine was only discovered and studied for the first time in 1819. To this day, many articles and scientific publications have been written about it. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system. It has the ability to block the action of adenosine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of fatigue and sleepiness. The subsequent blocking of adenosine receptors by caffeine results in the release of other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. Caffeine therefore reduces feelings of fatigue and drowsiness, increasing concentration and alertness in return. It is very quickly and completely absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream and reaches the liver, where it is metabolised. Its half-life in the body is approximately 4-5 hours. In controlled amounts, caffeine shows positive and highly desirable effects for many. Unfortunately, excessive consumption of products and beverages that contain it can result in symptoms such as sleep problems, headaches, restlessness, hand tremors or accelerated heartbeat. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends not exceeding an intake of 400 mg of caffeine per day – equivalent to the amount contained in 2-4 cups of coffee. And how does this information relate to an infusion of Ilex paraguariensis? How many times a day and in what quantity can you drink yerba mate?

How much yerba mate can you drink per day?

Caffeine content in yerba mate. How much to drink to avoid caffeine overdose?

Yerba mate is a true wonder of nature. It is an excellent source of vitamins (A, C, E, B1, B2, B6) and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, iron, silicon and sodium. In addition, it contains a lot of antioxidants, supplementation of which can boost the immune system. Of greatest interest, however, is undoubtedly caffeine, the famous stimulant present in the daily diet of millions of people around the world. It is difficult to determine unequivocally how much caffeine yerba mate contains, as this is due to a number of factors. In a strong round-up, it is assumed that a litre of the brew is about 70-650 milligrams of caffeine – a little less than in coffee and more than in ordinary tea. The difficulty in accurately measuring the caffeine concentration of mate tea is due to factors such as the way the plant is grown, the production methods, the amount of dried product used to make the brew, the temperature of the water or the brewing time. Any of these factors can significantly affect the strength of the brew. At the same time, we do not have to fear that yerba mate we buy will be suspiciously too strong or, on the contrary, will be devoid of caffeine or contain only trace amounts of it. The quality and characteristics of the raw material are supervised by a number of institutions. It is subjected to thorough testing long before it reaches the packets. Finally, let us try to answer the question: how much yerba mate can you drink per day without overdoing it?

Yerba mate – how much can you drink per day? Various factors come into play

As it turns out, the issue is not so simple. It is difficult to give a straightforward answer to the question: how much yerba mate can be poured into a mate gourd and drunk in one day without overdosing on caffeine? This is because it depends on a number of factors. Some of these are related to the product itself, as mentioned above. Even different batches of the same brand can differ in the content and concentration of individual compounds. This, in turn, can have a significant impact on the properties of the brew. The matter becomes even more complicated when you consider that different plantations use different techniques to process the dried product. For example, typical Paraguayan or Argentinian despaladas are characterised by higher energy potential than classic elaboradas, with a much higher number of sticks. And let's not forget that many producers offer mate in special flavour variations with additives. These will add great variety to the flavour of the brew, but when they make up a significant part of the composition, they will affect the caffeine concentration slightly. Unless, for example, we are talking about guarana, which is itself a source of caffeine. Taking all these factors into account, it can be said with a clear conscience: no two yerba mates are the same!

Another equally important, if not the most important issue, is the individual conditions of the body. The effect of an infusion depends, among other things, on our body weight, state of health and diet. As a result, it should not come as a surprise that someone may feel highly stimulated after just one cup of coffee or mate, while another person drinks up to three cups a day and still feels sleepy. In addition to one's own conditions, the question of habit also plays an important role. People who drink caffeinated beverages occasionally will feel the effects of yerba mate, coffee or the popular energy drinks much more intensively than those who drink it daily.

What is the optimal daily serving of yerba mate? How much yerba mate to pour?

We already know how much caffeine is in yerba mate and what is the recommended maximum daily dose, but how much to pour so that the infusion is not too strong? Most scientific publications agree that, on average, the optimal daily dose of yerba mate is around 30 grams of dried product. Of course, this considers the specific technique of brewing yerba mate which involves adding water several times. Depending on the type of dried product, the temperature of the water and the persistence of the aroma, this can be done up to 8-9 times. If a particular yerba mate has a too strong effect on you, you can choose a milder type or a composition with sweet or refreshing aromas – these usually provide a milder effect. You can also reduce the portion of yerba mate or limit the number of infusions to 2-3 per day. At the beginning of your mate adventure, we recommend starting with a serving of 15 grams of dried mate, instead of the recommended 30 grams. However, if you don't feel the desired effect after drinking the infusion, try increasing the amount of dried product or try a stronger variety. Here, not only the classically smoky despaladas can work well, but also products such as “extra stimulating yerba mate” with added guarana.

Who should avoid drinking yerba mate?

Caffeine has many benefits. It puts us on our feet in the morning, brightens our mind and makes us function better. When consumed in controlled amounts, it is not harmful, but there are some exceptions that make it necessary for some people to avoid coffee, strong tea, energy drinks and, unfortunately, yerba mate. Beverages with caffeine should be avoided by people who are sensitive to it. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should also avoid these drinks. Stimulating drinks should also not be given to children, and special care should be taken by those suffering from high blood pressure.

As we have proven in the article, the factors that determine the answer to the questions: "how much yerba mate can be drunk per day?" or "how much yerba mate can be poured into a mate gourd?" are plentiful, both on the side of the caffeine source and the body of the person consuming the brew itself. It is therefore best to draw conclusions based on one's own experience with yerba mate. Fortunately, testing it yourself will certainly be a pleasure!


Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Yerba mate, Caffeine.
  2. A. Gawron-Gzella, J. Chanaj-Kaczmarek, J. Cielecka-Piontek, Yerba Mate – A Long but Current History, Nutrients, 2021.
  3. A. Smith, Effects of caffeine on human behavior, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2002.
  4. Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much?, fda.gov.

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