Is yerba mate healthy for children?
There is no need to convince anyone about the many beneficial properties of yerba mate. The question is whether the infusion made of the leaves of Ilex paraguariensis should be drunk by children?
Healthy stimulation. The concentration of caffeine in yerba mate
Yerba mate originating from South America has many valuable properties for the human body. It contains many vitamins and minerals which help to improve our immunity. It also lowers the cholesterol level, improves concentration and has antioxidant properties. The most important property, which contributes to the growing popularity of yerba mate, is the stimulating effect, which is possible thanks to the natural caffeine content of the drink. It is not easy to give the exact concentration of caffeine in yerba mate, because everything depends on the brewing method, the type and amount of the yerba mate you use and how many times the yerba has been poured. It can be stated that the amount of caffeine contained in yerba mate varies between 70-360 milligrams per litre. To compare, a litre of espresso contains about 1700-2250 mg of caffeine, a litre of brewed coffee contains 380-650 mg, energy drinks contain about 320 mg, tea contains 280 mg and soda drinks such as cola contain about 96-185 mg of caffeine. To sum up, yerba mate is more or less in the middle of this list. It does not contain as much caffeine as coffee, but it is also stronger than tea or sodas. Above all, it is much healthier than all the drinks mentioned. But is it healthy for children?
Can yerba mate be drunk by children?
The answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem. In South American countries where mate originated from children drink yerba mate since an early age. However, the yerba they are given is usually very weak, very diluted, and it is usually the next pour that contains little or even no caffeine at all. Caffeine is widely believed to be harmful to children. Large amounts of caffeine can cause overexcitement, irritability, mood changes and sleep dissorder. Yerba mate itself should not do any harm, but young children are usually volcanoes of energy anyway, so they don’t need any extra stimulation. Besides, let's be honest - the bitter taste of yerba probably won't be good for a baby. Teenagers often consume drinks that contain caffeine - like Pepsi or Coca-Cola, which have high concentration of sugar, to unhealthy energy drinks, which contain a lot of synthetic substances. In this case natural yerba mate is an excellent alternative that provides vitamins and minerals to your kid. And to make it even easier to decide whether your kids should drink yerba mate or not - if you don't mind your kid drinking coffee or energy drinks, you should have even less objection to them sipping yerba mate.