The numerous health benefits of Mate have been recognised for centuries. However, there has been recent controversy about the potential health concerns of Mate, with some studies suggesting that drinking Mate can increase the chance of developing certain cancers.
Firstly, it is worth pointing out that there are questions regarding the reliability of such studies. They often failed to take into account many key factors surrounding Mate use, such as lifestyle and processing methods. Nevertheless, at matetea.wpengine.com, we want out customers to be well-informed, so we are not the type (nor are we qualified) to dismiss scientific studies.
Studies have identified two potential causes of carcinogenesis in Mate:
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of organic compounds known to be carcinogenic in high concentrations. They are found in a large number of foodstuffs, from coffee to shellfish, as well as in the air around us.
PAHs are produced by the burning of organic matter, so any food that has been smoked will contain them. Many of the industrially-produced Mates on the market today are heavily smoked as part of their processing. This is how PAHs end up in Mate.
PAH exposure in Mate drinkers is likely to originate primarily from sources other than Mate. However, it is best to avoid them where possible. For this reason, we recommend staying away from heavily smoked Mates and choosing fresher Mates like the ones we sell.
To be extra safe, try our Raw Mate. This Mate is dried at very low temperatures (no more than 45˚C) using no smoke. Upon testing, Raw Mate was found to have negligible amounts of PAHs.
2. Water Temperature
The potential link between drinking Mate and oral and oesophageal cancers is likely a result of the high temperature at which it is often consumed. This is NOT specific to Mate. Drinking any very hot liquid can lead to an increased risk of such cancers. There is evidence that this link is even stronger when combined with smoking and/or drinking alcohol.
For this reason, we recommend drinking Mate at a maximum of 85˚C. You should NEVER prepare Mate with boiling water. Doing so is not only potentially unsafe, but will also result in too much bitterness.
We’re confident that drinking the right Mate at the right temperature results in a safe, healthy drink with a great deal of beneficial properties.
For a good, comprehensive review of Mate, its health implications and the findings of various studies into it, we would encourage our customers to read this publication by Heck and De Mejia (University of Illinois) in the Journal of Food Science.