By GMB Nutritionist Melissa Fine.
Rooi-what?! Pronounced ‘roy-boss’, rooibos tea comes from the leaves of the South African red bush Aspalathus linearis. Several of us, GMB Founder Peta included, have a South African heritage, so you’ll likely see us sipping on rooibos in the office!
Our current favourite? Madame Flavour’s Rooibos Mint Choc, the perfect companion with a touch of sweetness (sans the sugar!) to power us through the day.
Here are some reasons why you might like to give rooibos a try…don’t knock it till you try it!
It Won’t Stain Your Teeth##
If you’re a several-cups-of-tea-a-day person, you’ll likely be familiar with having tea-stained teeth…the struggle is real! The teeth stains are due to tannins, natural bitter compounds inherent to black and green tea. Because tannins aren’t found in rooibos, you can drink it without having to worry about your teeth turning yellow.
It Doesn’t Interfere with Nutrient Absorption##
What many avid tea drinkers don’t realise is that the tannins in black and green tea can interfere with nutrient absorption, particularly when iron is concerned. So, following every meal with a cuppa tea might not the best idea, particularly if you’ve just had a steak or (iron-rich) legumes.
No need to give up your post-meal cuppa altogether though…switch your favourite black tea brew with tannin-free rooibos and milk, so that your body can get the most out of the nutrients in your dinner.
It’s Rich in Health-Promoting Antioxidants##
…Aspalathin and quercetin, to be precise. Responsible for giving rooibos it’s rich red colour, these antioxidants work to safeguard cells against damage (i.e., oxidation) by free radicals – unstable compounds found in environmental toxins like pollution, and in our bodies as a byproduct of metabolism.
It Doesn’t Taste Herbal##
If you’re trying to cut back on black tea or coffee, but aren’t a fan of floral herbal tisanes, trust us and try rooibos! We know, some herbal teas can taste watery, but rooibos has a full-bodied, nutty flavour profile, often called ‘The coffee drinker’s tea.’ Along with dandelion tea, it’s one of the only herbal teas where you can add a splash of milk.
It’s Caffeine Free##
If you love your black tea with a dash of milk, but are sensitive to its caffeine content, swap it for rooibos with milk instead; it makes a calming, rather than jitter-inducing hot drink, and taste-wise, within a few weeks you very well won’t even notice the difference.
Brands of Rooibos We Love:##
Madame Flavour: Rooibos tea with a twist, Madame Flavour sure knows how to do herbal tea right! Her Rooibos Mint Choc blend is equal parts refreshing and satisfying, always curbing our sweet tooth!
Just Rooibos African Tea: This straight-up rooibos is organically grown, and we like that the teabags are packaged in recycled cardboard boxes.
Nerada Organics: Their ‘Rooibos & Vanilla’ makes the perfect pair – together they are sweet, smooth and rich. Australian Certified Organic and 95% Fairtrade.
DIY Rooibos Latte###
I went to Johannesburg last year, and Rooibos lattes were at all the cool cafes. Here’s how you can make your own at home:
- In a tall mug or large teacup, steep 1 Rooibos teabag in ½ a cup of just-boiled water for 5 minutes or so.
- Heat 250ml (1 cup) of milk of choice in a saucepan. Pour into a tall, heat-proof container and whisk till frothed (or use a milk frother if you have one).
- Pour the frothed milk over the steeped cup of rooibos, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and you have yourself a Rooibos Latte – cheers to good health!