5 reasons Rooibos can improve your gut health, and immunity, this winter

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As the winter season approaches, immune systems can be compromised as cold and flu viruses abound. When looking for ways to boost immunity, the first thing that comes to mind for many is upping one’s intake of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and Zinc. However, the link between gut health and immunity is often missed.

Taking vitamins can help boost immunity, but having the correct diet to support gut health is vital for protecting the body, particularly over flu season. With this in mind, the South African Rooibos Council (SARC) has highlighted the fact that one of the simplest and most affordable ways to support the immune system is to drink Rooibos tea, which supports gut health in a number of ways.

“The gut microbiome consists of trillions of bacteria, and viruses, many of which are really important to your health, from your immune system and heart health to weight and blood sugar levels,” noted Candice Sessions, Laager Rooibos Marketing Manager. “For decades, Rooibos has been used by South Africans to treat a variety of stomach and gut ailments. This is because Rooibos has a range of attributes that contribute to a healthy gut, making it the perfect addition to your daily diet.”

What are the benefits of a healthy gut?

  • The efficient extraction of nutrients from food.
  • Assists the immune response.
  • Supports the intestinal barrier function.
  • Reduces intestinal inflammation.
  • Improves metabolic function.
  • Protects our brain health.

How does Rooibos help the gut?

1.       Rooibos has antioxidant effects

Rooibos tea contains flavonoids, as well as quercetin and phenolic acids which have antioxidant activity. A diet rich in antioxidants helps to neutralise free radicals in the body by reducing oxidative stress, contributing to overall gut health and preventing ‘leaky gut’. Antioxidant-rich diets are also known to lower the risk of certain diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

2.       Rooibos has anti-inflammatory properties

In addition to antioxidants, Rooibos contains polyphenols such as flavonoids and dihydrochalcones which have anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking Rooibos tea will help reduce any inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract to minimise any digestive discomfort. Rooibos may also inhibit changes in the trace amine secretion profile caused by estrogen fluctuations which makes managing gut health easier for women who have a higher incidence of inflammatory gut health issues.

3.       Rooibos has prebiotic potential

Prebiotics are a food source for your gut’s microorganisms which support gut health. Rooibos contains bio-active compounds – polyphenols – which act as prebiotics, encouraging the growth of beneficial gut bacteria while inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Through this, Rooibos supports beneficial gut bacteria that restores and maintains the intestinal balance.

4.       Rooibos has anti-spasmodic properties

Rooibos contains anti-spasmodic compounds which stimulate the body’s potassium ions to alleviate abdominal pain such as stomach cramps. Because Rooibos is caffeine-free, it normalises the release of intestinal fluids supported by the aforementioned prebiotics. Together, this is known to alleviate diarrhoea symptoms.

5.       Rooibos contains no oxalic acid

Most tea blends contain oxalates or oxalate acids which, when consumed over time, can result in kidney stones and other health problems. Rooibos, however, doesn’t contain oxalic acid, reducing the risk of kidney stones and not interfering with important mineral absorption in the body.

“Winter is a time when our body’s immunity is at its weakest, so we must do everything we can to strengthen this through diet,” continued Sessions. “A warm cup of Laager Rooibos or Laager Tea4Kidz is a great way to get a daily dose of extra protection this winter through enhanced gut health.”

SOURCE: The South African Rooibos Council