Nutrition and Healing
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  • The coffee alternative that boosts your bones

    When I want a little caffeine kick but don’t feel like brewing coffee and am tired of regular tea, I reach for yerba mate. Popular in South America, yerba mate is a tea that’s traditionally enjoyed via a metal straw in a dried gourd.

    I may not have the gourd, but I have a great organic blend of the tea and a favorite mug. I’ll be honest–I’ve thought about getting one of those metal straws, but only because I think they’re kind of neat looking.

    Anyway, it turns out that yerba mate could be giving me more than just the brain and energy boost I need during a long day of work.

    It could also, according to a study published this month in the journal Bone, be doing big things for my bone mineral density.

    For the study, researchers identified postmenopausal women who drank at least one liter of yerba mate each day for at least 5 years (and these women were drinking it in the traditional way). These women were matched with a group who did not drink the tea.

    Both groups were pretty sedentary, in that they weren’t regularly exercising. But they weren’t smokers or big drinkers, and none of them were on HRT or had received biphosphonate treatment for more than 6 months.

    The researchers found that the women who drank yerba mate had 9.7 percent greater bone mineral density in their lumbar spines than women who didn’t drink the tea, and had 6.2 percent greater femoral neck bone mineral density. Carefully ruling out other factors, the researchers determined that yerba mate was the only variable that had significant correlation to bone mineral density in these two parts of the body.

    In the end, the researchers concluded that yerba mate could have a protective effect on bone mass in postmenopausal women.

    I love it when one of my habits shows up on the “good for me” list. It’s like a little bonus. And you can bet I’ll be picking up more yerba mate next time I hit the market–and I’ll be making it more than just an occasional thing!

    P.S. Keep reading to learn how you can keep kidney stones from coming back.

    “Higher Bone Mineral Density Related to Drinking Yerba Mate,” Medscape Today (

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