Nutritional benefits of Rooibos tea

Limit the amount of sweetener you use in rooibos tea and moderate your portions to keep from drinking too much.  PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Drinking Rooibos tea during allergy season can provide relief and make the season more bearable for allergy sufferers.

Rooibos tea, also known as "red bush tea," is a beverage that has gained popularity in recent years for its delightful taste and impressive array of health benefits. Native to the Cederberg region of South Africa, Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant, which is naturally caffeine-free and packed with antioxidants. We will explore the numerous health benefits associated with this delicious and versatile herbal tea.

One of the standout features of Rooibos tea, according to Dr Aleena Ngwabe, a nutritionist, is its high antioxidant content. These antioxidants, including aspalathin and quercetin, help combat oxidative stress in the body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and promoting overall well-being. Antioxidants also help neutralise harmful free radicals linked to aging, inflammation, and various health issues.

Better digestion
For those who struggle with digestive issues, Rooibos tea can be a soothing elixir. According to Dr Ngwabe, it contains compounds such as quercetin and antispasmodic, agents that help reduce abdominal pain and even cramps. 

Rooibos tea can also reduce hyperactivity in the gastrointestinal tract and prevent digestive problems such as diarrhoea. Also, because Rooibos tea is naturally free of caffeine and low in tannins, it is gentle on the stomach and suitable for those with sensitive digestive systems.

Good for the heart
Research has also shown that Rooibos tea can significantly benefit your heart. It has the power to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are key factors in cardiovascular health. A study published in the journal Plos One revealed that taking Rooibos tea can reduce the risk of heart disease by improving your lipid profiles and reducing levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol. 

It also contains quercetin, a potent flavonoid known for its heart-friendly effects. Quercetin helps dilate blood vessels, enhancing blood flow and reducing the risk of clot formation, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of Rooibos tea help reduce inflammation in blood vessels, providing an additional layer of support for your cardiovascular well-being.

Blood sugar
According to Dr Ngwabe, Rooibos tea may help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin resistance and glucose absorption. The secret ingredient here is aspalathin. Aspalathin has been shown to keep blood sugar levels in check, making it a brilliant choice for diabetes management.

Allergy alleviation 
The quercetin in Rooibos tea is a natural antihistamine that may help alleviate allergy symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing. Drinking Rooibos tea during allergy season can provide relief and make the season more bearable for allergy sufferers. 

The antioxidants found in Rooibos tea are not only beneficial when ingested but also when applied topically. The tea can be used to treat various skin conditions, including acne and eczema. Its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe irritated skin, and the antioxidants assist in slowing down the aging process by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  

Unlike regular green tea, Rooibos is caffeine-free, so you can drink as much as you like without it affecting your sleep pattern. There are many brands of Rooibos tea on the market; you can either buy regular Rooibos tea bags or a packet of tea herbs that you can infuse to make a cup of hot Rooibos tea.

Weight management
If you're looking to shed a few extra pounds, Rooibos tea may be a helpful. It is naturally calorie-free and can help boost your metabolism. For anyone who wants to cut down on their sugar consumption but has trouble drinking coffee or tea without sugar, they can try a Rooibos infusion, which is more robust and naturally sweeter than green tea.