Diseases of lifestyle – such as heart disease and diabetes – kill more than 270 000 people annually in our country, accounting for 60% of all deaths.
These diseases are under the spotlight during February, which is National Healthy Lifestyles Awareness Month.
South Africans can reduce their chances of falling victim to these illnesses by making healthier lifestyle choices.
In addition to regular physical activity and a healthy diet, scientists are recognising the importance of certain food chemicals called phenolic compounds that can reduce one’s risk of developing these diseases.
Rooibos tea is a good source of these health promoting phenolic compounds.
Professor Christo Muller, chief specialist scientist at the South African Medical Research Council, says Rooibos alone isn’t a silver bullet, but has the potential to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which is the root cause of many of these diseases.
Oxidative stress occurs when our bodies use the oxygen that we breathe in to produce energy. Through this process, free radicals are produced which can cause damage to cells and ultimately disease.
Antioxidants interact with free radicals before they can cause any harm.
The more antioxidant-rich our diet, the less our susceptibility to disease and premature aging.
“Rooibos contains polyphenols, which are considered an important source of antioxidants in a diet. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties that are good for your brain, heart and gut health and are commonly found in plants and herbs.
“Research has confirmed that Rooibos contains an abundance of these potent free radical scavengers that help protect the body from oxidative stress and thus disease,” said Professor Muller.
For optimal health benefits, the professor recommends drinking between five and six cups of Rooibos tea staggered throughout the day.
Alternatively, put a jug of freshly made cooled rooibos tea in the fridge or pour the iced tea into a sports bottle to ensure you get your daily dose.
Here’s how Rooibos tea can benefit you;
Keeps high blood pressure in check.
Improves heart health;
Reduces risk of diabetes;
Lowers your risk of cancer;
Builds and repairs muscle tissue; and
Rooibos tea also acts as an anti-spasmodic agent, which reduces stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
For more information on the health benefits of Rooibos, visit www.sarooibos.co.za