South Africa has the highest rate of diabetes Africa. Diabetes is also a global health issue. Left untreated, it can be a fatal disease. Lifestyle choices play a major role in preventing and treating diabetes. Fizzy and sugary drinks can cause a 26% increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Rooibos tea is the perfect beverage for people suffering from diabetes. It is calorie-free and naturally sweet and contains active compounds that can help control blood glucose while lowering inflammation.
Prof Christo Muller from the SA Medical Research Council says that "a unique phenolic compound found only in the Rooibos plant species, called aspalathin, may also help to improve blood glucose levels."
Animal studies have shown that aspalathin can lower blood glucose levels and improve insulin activity. Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar levels by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are causal factors underlying the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
"Rooibos also protects the heart by suppressing vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside artery walls) that occurs as a result of high blood sugar levels,” Prof Muller explains.
Heelen Meyer, popular South African cookbook author, says that Rooibos can easily be incorporated into various meals that constitute a healthy diet.
"Think of Rooibos as an all-natural flavouring and cooking ingredient. It’s a wonderful cooking liquid as it’s tasty and full of goodness," Meyer says.
"Rooibos is the perfect substitute for shop-bought stock, which is often very high in salt,
artificial flavourings or preservatives and even sugar. The flavour of Rooibos goes well with so many other ingredients, ranging from tomatoes, ginger, chilli, garlic to herbs and spices, and can be used for a wide range of recipes. Add it as a liquid to soups, stews or even when oven-roasting chicken or veggies."
“It’s also a delicious base for a salad dressing, marinade or sauce. Next time you prepare a tomato-based sauce, add Rooibos instead of stock. Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and a bit of olive oil, whisked into strong, cooled-down Rooibos tea, is a delicious salad dressing and can be seasoned with fresh herbs of your choice.”
Meyer says Rooibos is also great for baking and making desserts. Milk or water in a baking recipe can often be replaced with Rooibos tea, which will add flavour and a beautiful rich colour to whatever you’re making.
SOURCE: SA Rooibos Council, www.sarooibos.co.za