What is yerba mate? All about the centuries-old South American tea getting attention.

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Soccer icons David Beckham and Lionel Messi are among the most famous fans of yerba mate, a centuries-old herbal tea that's long been popular in places like Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, to name a few.

“If it’s good enough for Leo,” Beckham captioned a photo of himself drinking yerba mate and tagging Messi in an Instagram Story post last summer.

The global yerba mate market is forecasted to continue to rise over the next decade, especially as it's perceived as a healthier alternative to coffee and other teas, according to a Future Market Insights trend report.

If it's good enough for Messi, Beckham and others, does that mean it's right for you? Here's what nutrition experts want you to know about yerba mate.

What is yerba mate?

Yerba mate is a plant native to South America. Its leaves are dried and then steeped in hot water to make tea, which can be served hot or cold.

Nutritionists including Virginia-based registered dietitian and diabetes educator Caroline Thomason laud the drink for health benefits including "antioxidants, vitamins and minerals: Namely, vitamins C, B vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium."

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Does yerba mate give you a buzz?

It's considered an alternative to coffee, but yerba mate still offers some caffeine.

"With about 80 mg (of caffeine) per cup, it has less caffeine than a cup of coffee and a different nutrition profile," Thomason tells USA TODAY.

Though the two beverages often face comparisons, she notes that one "is not necessarily better or worse for our health." The main difference, Thomason adds, is that "some people find the effects to be subtler than coffee due to the lack of an energy 'crash.'"

Who should not drink yerba mate?

As with any food or drink that contains caffeine, those who are prone to getting jittery or anxious may want to steer clear.

And, Thomason shares a reminder, "if you drink it before bed, it can disturb your sleeping patterns and keep you awake."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What is yerba mate? What to know about the South American staple