Rooibos Tea Health Benefits: The 8 Good Reasons to Drink Red Tea
We all know so well that sipping on a warm cup of tea is not just relaxing, but it is a healthy habit that provides countless benefits. And in a shelf full of tea choices, the vibrant red hue of the rooibos tea definitely stands out from the rest. Its bold, nutty, sweet and fruity taste with a hint of tobacco can certainly rouse anyone’s senses. But did you know that the rooibos tea health benefits are as distinct as its color and flavor?
Also known as red tea, bust tea or redbush tea, rooibos is not exactly a real tea in its truest sense because it does not come from the tea plant called Camellia Sinensis, where the green, white, black, oolong and pu-erh teas are derived from. It actually comes from a small shrub of the same name that is native to a specific area in South Africa. Because of this, tea purists categorize it under herbal tea infusions.
What gives it its distinct reddish-brown color is the tea fermentation process, which oxidizes the leaves and subsequently enhances its flavor. Typically, the rooibos is served like a black tea with milk or sugar, while there are some who prefer it with lemon and honey. Interestingly, the red tea is not always red. There is actually a more expensive green rooibos tea variety that uses unoxidized rooibos leaves and has a malty and grassy taste to it compared to the red variety.
According to registered dietitian Mary Hartley in a Shape magazine article, rooibos tea contains small amounts of many essential vitamins and minerals, like manganese, magnesium, fluoride, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and copper. It is also known to be calorie-free and caffeine-free with high levels of antioxidants, such as aspalathin and nothofagin. It also contains a number of phenolic compounds, which helps in healthy aging and for cancer prevention. And it has even been used in South Africa for traditional medicine to alleviate asthma, allergies and dermatological problems.
Prevents Some Cancer
Just like any other true and herbal teas, the rooibos contains a high concentration of antioxidants. Particularly, the two polyphenol antioxidants aspalathin and nothofagin help protect the body from free radicals and defend the cells and DNA from damage. These antioxidants are also known to have anti-mutagenic properties, which help prevent some types of cancers.
It can also protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease because it can inhibits a process called lipid peroxidation, where free radicals damage the brain cells and nerve tissue that cause brain deterioration.
The red tea also contains another type of antioxidant called chysoeriol. It helps improve circulation and prevents the activity of enzymes that cause cardiovascular diseases. It also contains another powerful antioxidant called quercetin that helps reduce blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. Because of these, it can help protect against heart attack and stroke.
Relieves stomach pain
The quercetin in rooibos is rich in antispasmodic properties that help ease stomach cramps and abdominal pain and prevent diarrhea and other intestinal issues. This is because it activates potassium ions in the body without antagonizing with calcium.
Better iron absorption
Because of its low tannin levels, it effectively supports the body in absorbing iron. In turn, it helps promote hemoglobin formation transporting oxygen to cells, muscle formation and brain function.
Rooibos tea is a good natural source of alpha-hydroxy acid and zinc. Both are essential in promoting healthy skin condition. By applying rooibos tea powder on the skin, it can help relieve acne, pimples and sunburn. The AHA in red tea is also good in preventing premature aging by reducing the formation of wrinkles and fine lines and is great in giving your skin a healthy glow.
Promotes strong bones
Its calcium, manganese and fluoride content make it an excellent bone health supplement. Calcium promotes bone strength, while fluoride help you achieve stronger bones free from tooth decay. Also, manganese works at a deeper level by stimulating the enzymes that are responsible for bone damage repair.
Balances Blood Sugar
Its aspalathin antioxidant is a unique antioxidant only found in rooibos tea. And it has an even more distinct effect in the body. It can help balance blood sugar level, improve insulin resistance and glucose absorption and boost insulin secretion. This makes it a great health drink to prevent diabetes.
The last and certainly not the least benefit of rooibos tea is that it is caffeine-free. This means that it encourages restful sleep and helps you feel relaxed and calm. And more than that, you can take it as often as you wish anytime of the day without the guilt and you get to enjoy these health benefits all at the same time!