By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
January typically marks the time of year when we recalibrate our diet towards the cleaner end of the spectrum, after weeks of festive season indulgence.
Many claim that tea can help flush out toxins, enhance the immune function and boost energy levels, but how effective is it really?
Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) explains that when we eat healthily our bodies can detoxify efficiently, but when we consume food with additives, preservatives, artificial flavours and colourants, and drink too much alcohol, this function is hampered.
"Tea-drinking may aid in the detox process by encouraging adequate fluid intake, provided that it’s complemented by a healthy diet and cutting out other harmful practices, such as smoking and excessive drinking. Our bodies naturally detoxify via the kidneys, liver, skin and gastrointestinal tract – in which the water component of tea plays a major role.
"For generations, our indigenous Rooibos tea has been used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from colic to allergies, but it’s also a great way to rejuvenate your body."
- Low in calories
Rooibos is low in calories and is naturally sweet, so you don’t need to add any sugar to it.
- May curb your appetite
The tea has been proven to decrease the body’s production of cortisol. These stress hormones can increase one’s appetite for comfort food – ultimately leading to weight-gain.
- Regulates blood sugar
Aspalathin – a polyphenol unique to Rooibos may help to keep blood sugar levels stable. Green Rooibos is especially effective at doing so. Up to six cups of Rooibos tea is recommended for optimal benefits.
- Removes free radicals
It is packed with antioxidants which help to rid the body of free radicals caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits.
It is 100% caffeine-free and has a soothing effect, which can aid in a good night’s rest.
- Supports vital functions
Rooibos aids in digestion and supports bladder, liver and kidney function.
- Protects your heart
Rooibos may help to protect the heart by improving blood circulation, blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Soothing effect
The tea also has a calming effect, relaxing tense and aching muscles.
- Keeps you hydrated
Every cell in your body needs water to function optimally. Drinking Rooibos is a healthy way to stay hydrated with the added benefit of consuming antioxidants without compromising with sugary drinks.
Du Toit says internet searchers for detoxes usually spike in the first few weeks of the new year, but warns that there are no quick fixes to combat excessive overeating and drinking during the holidays.
"The average person consumes a whopping 6 000 to 7 000 calories during the festive season – that’s two to three times more than they normally would. To burn it off, you would have to run two marathons, which is equivalent to 84 km.
"If you consider that most of us are sedentary during this time, that amount of calories can quickly pack on a few extra kilos that may take months to shed.
"Many typically turn to drastic diets or major detoxes to get their bodies back on track, without success. Fasting, skipping meals and living off juices for a week are not the answer and will only leave you hungry and irritable.
“If you really want a long-term solution, you are far better off making a series of small, sensible and sustainable changes such as:
- Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Cutting back on saturated fat, sugar and salt
- Limiting your alcohol intake
- Giving up smoking
- Exercising daily
- Getting enough sleep
- Switching coffee, soft drinks or fruit juice for water or healthy herbal teas, such as Rooibos.
"This way you are much more likely to stick to your new health regime, while reaping the rewards," says du Toit.
Try this delicious antioxidant-packed Green Rooibos smoothie for breakfast:
GREEN ROOIBOS SMOOTHIE:
Ingredients for 1 serving
1 small apple, cored
5 cm piece cucumber
1 stalk celery, including leaves
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, including stems
1 cup baby greens (your choice of spinach, chard, kale)
1/8 slice of lemon (including rind)
10 ml lemon juice
1 kiwi peeled
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 Tbsp chia or sunflower seeds (optional)
1 cup brewed Green Rooibos tea, chilled
6-8 ice cubes
- Combine all ingredients except ice cubes in a high-powered blender.
- Blend on high until smooth.
- Add ice cubes one at a time until fully crushed and mixed.
- Serve immediately.
- Add an extra peach or lemon flavoured Rooibos tea bag
For more info on Rooibos’ health benefits, visit www.sarooibos.co.za.