Argentine polo superstar, Nacho Figueras explains just why he loves Yerba Mate

Credit: Getty Images

For many all over the world, Nacho Figueras is the face of Polo – both the sport and the clothing brand for Ralph Lauren Polo. But he also leads a very typical polo and Argentine lifestyle, which includes his love of Yerba Mate that he takes with him when he travels around the world.

When speaking recently about his daily routine, Nacho explained just how polo impacts his daily routine including what he eats and drinks.

“In Argentina, we don’t have big breakfasts. We drink mate. It’s a tradition. It’s a loose dried leaf from a plant called Yerba Mate. It comes in a bag that you buy in the supermarket. You put the leaves in your cup, pour hot water on it and drink it with a metal straw called a bombilla.

“It tastes kind of like green tea — it’s bitter, and it;s very good for your digestive system. So it wakes you up without the bad side effects of caffeine. It’s an acquired taste, so you have to get used to it. Once you get used to it. though, you need it to get your day going. You can pour more hot water over it every time you finish your cup, so you just keep drinking and drinking and drinking,” said Nacho Figueras.

When asked just how much mate he drinks, Nacho said: “I drink one or two litres of mate every day. I bring my favourite brand, Playadito, with me when I travel — I can’t find it when I’m out of Argentina.”

He then went on to talk about his routine when he plays polo and most importantly what he eats to keep up his energy during big matches.

Nacho Figueras breakfast
Credit: Matt Dukor

“So breakfast is mate, maybe some toast with cream cheese, maybe some fruit like strawberries, or freshly squeezed orange juice. But my breakfast depends on of and when I have a polo game.

“If I have to play at 11am that day, then I have a bigger breakfast and I don’t have lunch. If my game is later in the afternoon, like 5pm, then I have a light breakfast and at noon I’ll east pasta with olive oil, Parmesan, and maybe a little basil. If I play at 3pm and it’s a hot day, I have a big breakfast and I don’t have lunch. If it’s not hot, I can have a little lunch. But on a normal day, just mate and toast. But absolutely no exercise the day of the game,” Nacho said.

When discussing his exercise routine, Nacho said that on the day of a polo game he would do absolutely no exercise on that day but on days where he is not playing polo, he would usually play tennis for an hour and a half at around 9am.

“The morning before a game is more laid back usually — I go to the barn and check on my horses and make sure they are alright. I breed thoroughbred horses in Argentina, so I have around 450 of them. They have a big breakfast of oats. They’re eating grass all day, but then we give them oats and other things that their nutritionist thinks they should should have to be healthy.

“I travel a lot, so I try to keep everything around me as stable as possible — including my morning routine. I find it’s important for me to keep my diet as tables as possible so that travelling doesn’t affect me so much. And, of course, I try to travel with my family,” Nacho said.

When asked about special treats, Nacho said that every once in a while he treats himself to scrambled eggs for breakfast. He explained that: “It’s not that I don’t like them — I do! It’s just that if I have scrambled eggs in the morning, it’s just too much. So they’re only a treat. I love them cooked soft, or sunny-side up.”

Nacho went on to say that he rarely goes out for breakfast. Instead he said that: “In Argentina, the morning is more about waking up, reading a newspaper, getting caught up. Just a breakfast of toast and mate, read about what’s going on, go to the barn, more mate. Mate all day. I drink a lot of mate.”



Want to try Yerba Mate?

Learn how to make Yerba Mate the traditional Argentine way here.

Want to try some for yourself? Then check out our recommended stockists. In the UK, check out Urushop for a range of Argentine food and drink products including Yerba Mate. If you are in South Africa, then check out Yerba Mate South Africa for all your Yerba Mate needs.


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19 Comments Add yours

  1. Yerba Mate is fantastic! I’m really surprised that more professional athletes haven’t picked up on it yet. Its 100 times better than any caffeine supplement and its good for you to boot!

    Thanks for this post it was a good read on my Friday.

    John Sutton

    Yerba Mate Reviews

    1. Thank you for your much appreciated feedback. We completely agree with you on the benefits of Yerba Mate and are passionate about promoting its health benefits worldwide.

  2. davidmate says:

    Excellent article! Here in United States, we have an International Yerba Mate Community called Circle of Drink. We drink yerba mate all day long, too!

    1. Thanks for your feedback. We shall be doing Yerba Mate tours along the Ruta de la Yerba Mate, Misiones in Northern Argentina and would be very keen to connect with Circle of Drink, how can we connect with them?

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