The Superfood Drink that’s an Unsung Hero

By Tayla Powell

By Tayla Powell

Move over matcha, green tea, and turmeric lattes. We’ve all heard of the current “it” drinks with their long list of health benefits. But chances are, they are getting a little bit boring by now. There’s another superfood drink that’s supposedly better for you than green tea and it’s been flying under the radar for so long.

This drink is no secret to me, being South African and being brought up drinking it for as long as I can remember:

Rooibos. (Roy-boss)

Also called Red Bush & Red Tea.

High in iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, magnesium, alpha hydroxy acid, antioxidants (x5 more than green tea) and phenolic compounds. Low in tannins. Naturally sweet.

It’s a long standing South African “Miracle Elixir” used for centuries as medicine. Technically speaking it’s not a tea – it’s a herb – and it can only be grown in the Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. Any attempts to grow it outside that region have been unsuccessful. That’s what kept it a local secret amongst tribes for so many years.

Given our experiences with other healthy drinks, you may assume this will taste like a cup of lawn clippings (there’s a reason why green tea must come in so many different flavours). And you’d be wrong, it has a naturally sweet, nutty flavour and the smell is one of my all-time favourites. Leave it black and sweeten with honey. It’s the way we do it and it really is the best.

The beauty of this drink? The versatility. It can be brewed traditionally like tea, hot or cold. Additionally, the new Red Espresso allows rooibos grounds to be processed like coffee. It contains x10 more antioxidants than the brewed rooibos tea, plus you won’t have to give up your favourite lattes and cappuccinos. You’ll have a healthy caffeine free alternative.

If you need any more convincing to switch out your usual drink for some rooibos, it boasts an impressively long list of benefits:

Prevents Inflammation

Inflammation is at the root of so many of our modern diseases and the potent levels of antioxidants in rooibos take care of the damaging free radicals that cause these diseases. Simple preventative actions like drinking rooibos daily can help to protect us and strengthen our immune system.


Strong Bones

Rooibos has a high calcium content in it, even without milk, which is makes it a good choice for children and the elderly for healthy growth and protection against arthritis and osteoporosis and those who are lactose intolerant.


Improved Skin

The presence of zinc helps with the management of acne and related skin conditions to improve the skin’s appearance. The anti-inflammatory properties also help with conditions like eczema.


Better Sleep

Studies have shown rooibos to be effective for those suffering from insomnia and irritability due to the antispasmodic properties. The absence of caffeine also makes it an ideal relaxing drink for anybody to have before bed.


Colic

It’s been used by South African mothers for generations to soothe their colicky babies when mixed with warm milk. The anti-inflammatory nature of rooibos is thought to be what calms the colic and other stomach pains in children.


Anti-aging

It’s not the Elixir of Life, but it can certainly help with slowing down premature ageing. Researchers at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa found that rooibos helps slow down the degeneration of fat cells, thus inhibiting the formation of wrinkles.


Weight Loss

Throw away those awful detox teas that do more harm than good. Researchers in South Africa discovered that consuming rooibos causes increased leptin secretion (the one that makes you realise you’re full), prevented new fat cells from forming and caused existing fat to metabolise faster.

Other benefits include increased heart health, improved digestion, allergy treatment, controlling diabetes and cancer prevention.

 

Convinced yet? Rooibos is easily available at most supermarkets and health shops and is a reasonable price.

Because good health shouldn’t cost the world.