If you’re wondering what’s best for antioxidants – matcha, green tea or yerba mate, read on you might be surprised!
By day I work in a health shop, and whenever someone asks me what sort of tea or infusion they should drink to make themselves more healthy, my first response is choose one you enjoy. Forcing down a mug of something because of perceived health benefits is fine once in a while, but if you’re looking for a nourishing infusion to drink on a regular basis then it has to be something you feel compelled to want to make. Lots of people are currently asking me about matcha, the powdered green tea used in the Japnese tea ceremony. Matcha differs from a more “traditional” tea infusion, as by vigorously whisking the tea particles into suspension you are actually consuming the entire tea leaf, opening the door to a myriad of added health benefits.
One of the the traditional selling points of green tea, and particularly matcha, appears to be its weight loss claims. “Will I lose weight drinking this?” I am often asked, to which I usually reply, probably not if you only drink green tea and change nothing else, but it should help!
In more recent times green tea has been revered for its high concentration of antioxidants, along with a whole host of superfoods such as acai berries, and super greens like spirulina and wheatgrass. Antioxidants can loosely be defined as compounds that help to prevent the oxidisation of cells, a process which gives rise to the establishment of “free radicals”, causing cell damage and disease.
Matcha when prepared correctly is a delicious drink, but unfortunately as it has grown in popularity a lot more low grade tea powder has entered the market, much of it not even grown in Japan. The reason for this is that the authentic and high quality stuff costs a fair bit of money, and many consumers simply do not want to pay the going rate for this Japanese delicacy.
Fortunately you will be pleased to learn – if you didn’t know already – that our beloved yerba mate is an antioxidant powerhouse!
Back in October 2016 the fashion magazine Vogue suggested to its readers that they should swap-out their matcha for mate, sighting a whole host of healthy properties without even mentioning antioxidants!
The main antioxidant in mate is chlorogenic acid which is said to help protect the heart and liver. The plant is also naturally high in polyphenols which have antioxidant properties, and reportedly protect against degenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers. Other antioxidants in mate include caffeic acid, caffeoyl derivatives, caffeoylshikimic acid, feruloyquinic acid, kaempferol, quercetin, quinic acid, rutin and theobromine.
Studies showing yerba mate containing a high concentration of antioxidants have recently been conducted. In 2010 researchers at the University of Illinois undertook a comprehensive review of the “energy drinks” market, concluding that “tea-based energy drinks had much higher antioxidant capacities and polyphenol concentrations than non tea-based energy drinks. Yerba maté drinks contained up to 100-fold higher amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols compared to the mainstream non-tea-based drinks.” 
Green tea sold in tea bags is usually low grade dust and fannings; the really good stuff is harder to find in the UK and can be expensive. Good matcha is likewise costly, and its proper preparation can take some time to master. If you are after an infusion bursting with antioxidants that is affordable and simple to prepare, then you can’t really go wrong with yerba mate. Why not take a look at our fantastic range of high quality loose-leaf, natural, and premium yerba mates, and join the superfood revolution today!
- D. Askaripour, Mateology: The Drink Beyond a Drink, (2013), P.118