jeudi, août 17, 2006

getting hopped up the guaraní way

Despite claims by some that mate is gaucho stuff (yes they drink it), it was the Jesuits who popularized the tea that the Guaraní drank.
A Cupful Puts Wings on Wheels
The latest buzz among endurance athletes isn’t from caffeinated energy gels, but from a South American tea called yerba maté — maté for short. Cyclists and distance runners claim that imbibing maté before a workout gives them long-lasting energy, though no studies have proved it’s good for the long haul.

Yerba maté gets its pep from caffeine. But it also contains theobromine, the stimulant in dark chocolate, and theophylline, tea’s pick-me-up. “Because caffeine isn’t the sole stimulant,” said Timothy Ferriss, a neuroscientist who has studied the effects of natural stimulants on athletic performance, “maté drinkers don’t experience the rapid upward trajectory and then the quick crash of coffee.”

Our tester, Lisa Sher, a mountain biker who won the 2002 United States National Downhill Championship, drank each maté product before riding for 90 to 120 minutes. None of the products were “miracle workers,” she said. But with two that actually gave her the best buzz — Guayaki and Eco Teas — she felt “a constant steady energy level” and didn’t experience the gut churning that some coffee-drinking athletes experience.

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