Red or Green? The Fascination of Red Rooibos Tea Around the World

Did you know…that rooibos, or red tea, can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more?

The Western world has a fascination with all things exotic, and rooibos tea health benefits(or red bush tea), is no exception.

Rooibos tea (pronounced roo-ee-bosh), which originates in the Western Cape province of South Africa, isn’t really a tea at all—it’s not even a distant cousin. It is an infusion made from the needle-shaped leaves of a broom-like African shrub called Aspalathus linearis.

When fermented, the leaves turn red. This herbal infusion is caffeine-free, antioxidant-rich, and loaded with heart-healthy nutrients.

This begs the question: Could red tea be even better for your health than green tea?

Red Tea’s Antioxidant Army

Although green tea has slightly higher antioxidant levels than red tea does, rooibos tea health benefits still comes in at a close second. Green tea’s prime flavonoid (which acts as an antioxidant) is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), whereas rooibos’s main flavonoids are aspalathin and nothofagin.

Surprisingly, one in vitro study showed that aspalathin destroys free radicals more effectively than EGCG does, rooibos tea health benefits suggesting that even though red tea doesn’t have the highest antioxidant levels, it carries a mighty antioxidant punch.

The flavonoid aspalathin carries many other health benefits, as well. By decreasing the production of adrenal hormones, aspalathin helps alleviate stress and suppresses metabolic disorders.

Aspalathin also helps to…

  • Reduce excessive fat production
  • Balances blood sugar
  • Improve glucose tolerance
  • Increases glucose absorption in muscle
  • Increases insulin secretion in the pancreas

For all of these reasons, this flavonoid reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Together with the flavonoid nothofagin, aspalathin protects your nervous system and lowers your risk for Alzhiemer’s disease.

Rooibos tea health benefits don’t stop there; it also contains the super-antioxidant compound quercetin, noted for promoting heart health. Chronic inflammation is tied to virtually every life-threatening illness, and quercetin acts as both an anti-inflammatory and as an anti-cancer agent.

Red Tea’s Heart Healthy Benefits

Studies have shown that rooibos tea health benefits improve lipid profile and redux status, two important factors to control if you’re at risk for heart disease.

Results from a recent study made up of 83 men and women at risk for cardiovascular disease indicated that 6 cups of red tea a day…

    • Increased polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that has been linked to a lower incidence of heart disease
    • Reduced cholesterol oxidation, a primary cause of heart disease
    • Lowered levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol
    • Increased levels of HDL (good) cholesterol

Japanese researchers have confirmed red tea’s anti-viral…anti-mutagenic…and anti-allergic properties, in addition to its anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory powers.

In addition, red tea helps lessen nervous tension…allergies…digestive upset…asthma…colic…and skin conditions such as acne.

What Color is Best?

Trading in your green tea for red is up to your personal preference, as both are pretty on par in terms of health benefits. Red tea is a bit tangier and more astringent tasting than green tea is. The more pressing question is whether to drink red rooibos tea or green rooibos tea.

When rooibos leaves are oxidized, they turn a reddish-brown color. When left unoxidized, the leaves remain green.

Red rooibos tastes more fruity, while green rooibos tastes more herbal and earthy. However, green rooibos contains nearly twice the flavonids and 10 times the antioxidants that red rooibos does. You can drink it hot or cold, and even sweeten it up with some milk and lemonade to improve the taste if you like.

Trading in your sodas and high-sugar fruit juices for a nutrient-packed cup of red tea? A no-brainer!