Rooibos tea: The heath benefits linked to the herbal tea – backed by evidence
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Rooibos tea is made using leaves from a shrub called Aspalathus linearis, which is usually grown on the western coast of South Africa. The herbal tea is loaded with properties that researchers believe can bolster the body’s defences against heart disease and cancer. Evidence of the health benefits were listed in a review conducted by the charity Cancer Association of South Africa.
“Rooibos tea contains extremely high levels of antioxidants – powerful substances that fight free radicals in the bloodstream and keep bodies healthy and strong,” the review states.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and ageing.
They have been connected to a wide range of chronic diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.
What’s more, research showed that six cups of Rooibos tea per day increased the antioxidant glutathione.
Glutathione plays a protective role against the development of cancer.
Rooibos tea has also been shown to alleviate high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, in some cases.
Research suggests drinking rooibos appears to inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which causes blood vessels to contract and blood pressure to rise.
The high flavonol content of rooibos tea also supports the cardiovascular system because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as its positive effect on blood fats, including cholesterol.
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High cholesterol and high blood pressure are precursors to heart disease.
Swedish researchers found that 30 and 60 minutes after drinking 400 ml of Rooibos, the activity of ACE was significantly inhibited.
The research team could not demonstrate the same effect with green tea and black tea in the group of 17 healthy volunteers who participated in the study.
How to take it
Rooibos is available in the market in several forms.
Typically, one will get the red leaved Rooibos either in its plain, unflavoured form, or in a flavoured or blended form.
General health tips
To maximise the health benefits of drinking rooibos tea, it is imperative to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.
“This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight,” explains the NHS.
The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:
- Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
- Base meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pastaHave some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
- Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
- Drink plenty of fluids (at least six to eight glasses a day).
“If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts,” advises the dietary guide.
It advises choosing a variety of different foods from the five main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients.
Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.
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