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Do you love a good cup of tea in the afternoon as much as I do? I usually stick to black or green tea, but occasionally I pour myself a refreshing cup of Rooibos tea.
Did you know that tea is the second most popular drink after water? Yes I was surprised too, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Tea is so easy to prepare, and most people enjoy drinking it.
Rooibos tea is perhaps not as well known as black, white or green tea, but it’s just as delicious and also offers some surprising health benefits.
Let’s have a closer look at Rooibos tea and its potential health benefits.
What Is Rooibos Tea
Rooibos, Afrikaans for “red bush”, is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants growing in South Africa. Its leaves have been used by South Africans for centuries to make Rooibos tea, or “red tea” as some may call it.
It’s interesting to point out that, depending on where you are, if you order red tea, you may not always get served rooibos tea. In some countries, like China, red tea is equivalent to black tea.
If you’ve ever tried Rooibos tea, then you’ll know that it has a very distinctive taste, which can be best described as aromatic and sweet. I personally love it, but it may require a bit of getting used to because it’s so different from black and green tea.
Rooibos tea isn’t actually a “real” tea, it’s a herbal tea. Herbal teas are essentially blends of herbs, fruits and flowers, whereas real tea leaves all come from the Camellia sinensis plant, also known as the tea plant.
Because rooibos tea is a herbal tea, it does not contain caffeine. This is a pro as well as a con, as it won’t have the same effect as black tea, but you can easily drink it in the evening and still be able to sleep!
5 Surprising Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea
Here are 5 health benefits of drinking delicious Rooibos tea.
1. Loaded with powerful antioxidants
Antioxidants help prevent and repair the damage caused by free radicals, molecules with incomplete electrons that are in constant search of other electrons to steal from healthy cells. Our bodies need antioxidants to fight off disease and stay healthy.
Rooibos tea, and also green tea, is a great source of antioxidants. Unfermented (green) rooibos has a higher amount of polyphenols than traditional fermented rooibos and generally demonstrates higher antioxidant capabilities.
2. High mineral content
Rooibos tea contains several minerals that are vital to our health. Examples of these minerals are magnesium (benefits our nervous system), calcium (good for bones), zinc (metabolism) and iron (good for muscles).
It should be pointed out though that rooibos tea, or any herbal tea, should not be relied upon when it comes to vitamins and minerals intake. Fruits, vegetables and other healthy, natural foods, are always the best sources of essential nutrients.
3. Cardiovascular benefits
Studies have indicated that drinking rooibos tea has positive effects on cardiovascular disorders and can contribute to lowering blood pressure.
Rooibos tea contains Chysoeriol, a flavonoid compound that helps circulation in the body and inhibits enzymes that can contribute to cardiovascular disease.
4. Relieves stomach pains and diarrhoea
Rooibos tea contains nutrients and compounds that are know to be antispasmodic, which helps to prevent stomach pains and treat diarrhoea.
One of these compounds is Quercetin, an anti-inflammatory that is known to help relieve abdominal ailments such as cramps, diahorrea and indigestion.
5. Improves sleep
Do you also drink herbal teas in the evening to relax and improve your sleep? I do, and I find that it really helps. Because Rooibos tea has no caffeine, it is known to make us feel calm and relaxed.
Consuming moderate amounts of caffeine is perfectly fine, but some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Too much caffeine can indeed affect your ability to have a good nights sleep, but it can also trigger anxiety symptoms.
With rooibos tea, like other herbal teas, you don’t need to worry about these potential side effects at all.