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Yerba Mate Linked With Improved Fasting Glucose Levels

Dietary changes, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising are some of the best ways to manage diabetes, however there are other things that may help as well. A recent study suggests that drinking infusions of yerba mate may help type-2 diabetics control fasting glucose levels.

Yerba mate is a tea made from the South American rainforest holly tree. It contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids and is high in antioxidants.

For the study, twenty-nine people with diagnoses of type-2 diabetes and 29 with pre-diabetes participated in one of three interventions over the course of 60 days:

1. 11 oz. of roasted mate tea three times daily

2. 11 oz. of roasted mate tea three times daily, plus a dietary intervention

3. dietary intervention alone

The researchers took blood samples and assessed food intake at the onset of the study, and again at 20, 40, and 60 days. The type-2 diabetes group that drank mate saw a 25.0 mg/dl reduction in fasting glucose levels. LDL (“bad”) cholesterol was reduced by 13.5 mg/dl.

In the pre-diabetes mate and dietary intervention group, LDL cholesterol was lowered by 11 mg/dl. Additionally, levels of total fat were reduced by 14%, cholesterol by 28%, saturated fat by 23.8%, monounsaturated fat by 28.0%, and fiber intake increased by 35%. These changes could lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

The study was conducted by researchers at Federal University of Santa Catarina, Campus Universitartio in Brazil. It was published in the August, 2012 edition of the Journal of American College of Nutrition.

Yerba mate is high in the antioxidants known as polyphenols; in fact, analysis has shown that it has more antioxidants than green tea. Previous studies have found links between mate and weight loss, mental health, allergy relief, strengthening the heart muscle, improved immune system and better digestion.

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