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I try to stay away from caffeine, but sometimes you have those days when you just need an extra boost — or kick in the pants — to keep going.

So I drink Yerba Mate tea, a delicious – and, it turns out, highly beneficial traditional tea from South America. It’s available at Trader Joe’s in tea bags, and it’s not expensive (I think about $4).

It does have caffeine, but less than coffee, and doesn’t make me as “jittery.” It also has a long and quite amazing list of health benefits:

• Anti-oxidant
• Cancer preventative
• Whole body tonic
• Packed with vitamins and minerals
• Boosts the immune system
• Helps relieve allergies
• Aids in weight loss
• Helps prevent complications of diabetes
• Helps prevent atherosclerosis
• Fights bad breath (!)
• May protect against Parkinson’s disease
• Protects against oral cancer

No side effects known, except those of caffeine (too “wired”, etc.)

Here’s an excellent, very detailed article about Yerba Mate: http://www.yerba-mate.com/yerbamate.pdf

Again, I don’t recommend using caffeine regularly, or becoming dependent on it. I think that getting enough rest and good, fun exercise is the way to build real and lasting energy.

But for those times when you really need extra energy, try Yerba Mate!

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