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Rooibos Tea Benefits: More Than Just Antioxidants!
Discover Rooibos Tea Health Benefits!
For the last 20 years I've been a loyal coffee drinker. That is, until I was introduced to Rooibos tea.
A few years ago I walked by a kiosk in the mall that sold a variety of flavored herbal tea brewed from loose tea leaves. The girl that worked there handed me a sample cup. I took a sip and was immediately intrigued by this deeper robust flavor. It was marvelous- a taste so distinct that even coffee drinkers will be willing to convert.
What I've learned during my quest for a healthier lifestyle is that I don’t have to choose between the two drinks. Coffee will always be the first choice when I need of a caffeine boost, but if I’m looking for a drink that will replenish every cell in my body, I will choose Rooibos tea!
The U.S. Department of Health uses a rating scale called ORAC, short for oxygen radical absorbency capacity, to aggregate the total amount of antioxidants found in many common foods. Note that the daily OPTIMAL recommended ORAC intake is 12,000 points.
Brewed green tea = 1,250
Brewed rooibos (red) tea = between 725 and 1,110
Brewed rooibos (green) tea= 1,700,000 + per 100 mg !!!
Resource: Brunswick Laboratories
Rooibos Tea Benefits: Red VS Green Rooibos
The two different versions of rooibos tea, "red rooibos" and "green rooibos," have two things in common: HEALTH BENEFITS and CAFFEINE-FREE.
Green rooibos has a lighter color and contains twice as many antioxidants as the red tea. The reason is that green rooibos tea is made from unfermented leaves and therefore, has a more delicate herbal taste. The complicated steaming process inhibits oxidation, preserving the green leaves and its antioxidants. The green version also has a more "herbal" taste.
If you want the more antioxidants, drink the "green rooibos" version, which has 100 times more antioxidants than "red rooibos."
It’s interesting to note that it isn't even considered a true tea at all. True tea is black tea, green tea, and white tea which all came from the Camellia sinensis plant indigenous to China, Tibet, and India. Rooibos tea comes from the plant Aspalanthus linearis.
Rooibos tea grows on a bush and goes through a fermentation process. It is chopped up and left to dry in the sun where it changes from a vivid green to a mahogany red color.
Where Did Rooibos Tea Come From?
More than 300 years ago, inhabitants of the mountainous regions of South Africa’s Western Cape discovered that they could brew a tea from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant.
The leaves were used as herbal remedies for many ailments by the Khoisans tribes. In 1904, Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian immigrant, introduced this “Mountain Tea” to the modern world again. His family recognized the potential of this tea and distributed it locally. Rooibos became a cultivated crop by the 1930’s, and was used in World War II.
Have you drank Rooibos Tea before?
How is Rooibos Tea Processed?
The planting technique that the South African farmers use is beneficial to the prevention of using chemical fertilizers. The seeds are planted during the month of February, and seedlings are replanted five months later. The farmers wait 18 more months before the rooibos can be first harvested.
The processing of most regular teas involve oxidation and of drying the leaves. Red rooibos is processed in the same manner, which darkens the color of the leaves and enhances the flavor. The green version of rooibos goes through a more difficult production process that preserves the leaves through oxidation. This is why green rooibos is more expensive, but contains more of the original antioxidants.
Where To Buy Quality Organic Rooibo Tea
Nutritional Facts of Rooibos Tea:
- Iron, manganese,calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium,vit C
- Alpha-hydroxyl acid
- NO CAFFEINE
Rooibos Tea Health Benefits
Rooibos is the complete "body protector," benefiting every single organ in our body. It does not contain colors, additives, or preservatives. The list of benefits for rooibos tea is endless.
Let's focus on the most significant benefit, which is the extremely high level of antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful substances that fight free radical in the bloodstream, helping your body fight off infection and disease.
- Protection against cancer! With the whopping amount of antioxidants, it’s also anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral. With the alarming rise in cancer statistics each year, many people are looking to find ways to help prevent and protect themselves from mutagens and cancer-causing agents. With the high level of antioxidants, rooibos tea increases the enzymes that detoxify production of carcinogen and suppresses abnormal cells.
- Decrease insomnia. Since there is no caffeine in rooibos tea, drinkers can enjoy a cup before bed or throughout the day to help relax them. It has a relaxing effect on the nervous system, allowing you to be more calm and rested.
- Weight loss. Many people drink rooibos tea throughout the day to help suppress their appetite.
- Stronger bones and teeth: With high levels of manganese and calcium, rooibos tea provides bone health and teeth strong.
- Healthy Heart: Rooibos contains compounds called flavonoids which help regulate blood pressure and enhance stability of capillary arteries. What this means to you is the reduction in cholesterol build-up and blood clots, minimizing your chance of having a heart attack or heart related disease.
- Healthy skin/ reduce acne! Rooibos also contains alpha hydroxyl acid! As you know, this is an important agent found in many expensive skin products over the counter that promotes healthy skin. Studies show that people who apply it directly to the skin twice a day will minimize acne.
- Anti-aging. Once again, free radicals are our body’s enemy! They attack our healthy cells, causing rapid process of aging. A Japanese study found that rooibos contains a copycat enzyme called Super Oxide Dismutase (S.O.D.), another antioxidant. S.O.D. attacks these free radicals and limits their damaging effects.
- Improve immune system: With the combination of antioxidants and minerals, drinking this tea daily will strengthen your immune system, while fighting off colds and illnesses.
- Pregnant ladies can drink tea now! The strong and aromatic taste makes it a natural substitute for coffee especially in the time of pregnancy when caffeine intake should avoided. The low tannins in rooibos can cause a lower iron absorption in the blood, associated with cause of anemia. This is good news for pregnant women now that they can enjoy a cup of tea without the worry of caffeine. The key is to drink pure rooibos tea that has not been mixed with other components, such as rosemary, which causes uterine contraction.
How to Serve Rooibos tea
- Red Rooibos has a distinctive red hue and a slightly nutty, less astringent flavor. The herbal infusion can be served plain, with hot or cold milk or lemon. It can be lightly sweetened with honey or sugar.
- I usually prefer to brew loose leaf tea, the way tea was meant to be consumed. Full-leaf loose tea has a depth of flavor that wakes up all your senses as it steeps. Teas that are sold in tea bags can have an inferior taste since the leaves are broken up. When tea leaves are broken up, the natural flavors are diminished due to the evaporation of essential oils.
- Many tea producers are combining rooibos tea with other ingredients such as vanilla, ginger, mint, and even dark chocolate.
- TIP: The longer you brew the loose tea leaves (at least 10 minutes), the more antioxidants are released. Rooibos tea does not have that bitter tea flavor like other teas. It tastes more pleasant!
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Copyright © 2012 Turtlewoman (Kim Lam)
About the author
Kim Lam is a board certified Health Coach, Healthy Living and Cleanse Expert, half-marathon runner, gardener, and creator of Whole Foods, Whole Body Cleanse.
Kim Lam received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She studied under Dr. Andre Weil, Director of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and Dr. Walter Willet, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University, among many other leading researchers and nutrition authorities.
She is deeply dedicated to sharing the exciting, yet critical journey to healthy living.