Maté, or yerba maté, is a traditional South American tea infusion, high in caffeine, made by steeping the dried, chopped and powdered leaves (and sometimes the root) of the yerba maté plant in hot water. It's served in a round container with a metal straw which acts also as a strainer. Outside South America, the largest consumers of maté are in Syria and Lebanon. In recent times maté has become widely available in bagged infusions and is considered a valuable health supplement.
Maté contains both C and B complex vitamins, as well as polyphenols and amino acids, and has a very different antioxidant profile to green tea and other infusions, but can be complementary to them. Maté contains an average 92 mg/g of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which plays an important role in slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
It may also be an aid to weight loss, since it contains chemical compounds which act as appetite suppressants, together with caffeine which is a stimulant. It is believed to be a mood-improver, to increase concentration and mental energy and promote deeper sleep. Recent studies confirm the presence of saponins in maté leaves, which stimulate the immune system and have significant anti-inflammatory properties.
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