After the holidays, it can take a little effort for us to get into a healthy routine. However, detoxing your body from the bottles of wine you may have enjoyed, doesn’t actually have to be so taxing. Some people believe that home-grown Rooibos could, to a certain extent, lessen the negative effects associated with having one too many drinks.
Ernest du Toit is the Director of the SA Rooibos Council. He says that it’s probably not possible to completely reverse the damage caused by heavy drinking. But Rooibos is likely to aid in mitigating some of the adverse effects.
“According to scientific research, heavy drinking can increase your risk of serious health problems. Like liver disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and peptic ulcers, amongst others. While on the other end of the scale, knocking back a cup of Rooibos fights inflammation and protects us from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
“In general, incorporating Rooibos tea into your diet is a good way to maintain health, since it is rich in antioxidants. These vital substances keep the body functioning optimally as they eliminate free radicals that place the cells of the body at risk of being damaged or destroyed,” he says.
So exactly how does Rooibos counteract the impact of alcohol?
Well, let’s break it down:
1. Your liver function
Alcohol: If you drink more than 3 to 4 units a day. You have a much higher risk of developing fatty liver disease. This is the earliest stage of alcohol-related liver disease.
Rooibos: Can encourage proper liver functioning and therefore inhibit fatty liver disease from developing.
2. Your cardiovascular health
Alcohol: Frequent consumption can increase your risk of heart disease and strokes, raise blood pressure, and can also lead to heart muscle disease, called cardiomyopathy. Whereas binge drinking can cause an irregular heart rhythm called arrhythmia.
Rooibos: Contains a heart-promoting compound called Chrysoeriol. It is an antioxidant that helps prevent and treat vascular disease by preventing the arteries from narrowing or hardening. Chrysoeriol is also an effective bronchodilator, and helps to lower blood pressure and relieve spasms.
3. Your risk of type II diabetes
Alcohol: Not only contains a very high number of calories, but it can also increase your risk of becoming overweight. But drinking large amounts of alcohol can also reduce your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Rooibos: Contains a unique compound, called, Aspalathin. It has proven to effectively lower raised blood glucose levels, which can delay and therefore prevent the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes.
4. Your ability to sleep
Alcohol: Interferes with the brain’s built-in system for regulating a person’s need for sleep. And to top it off, it works as a diuretic. Which will increase your need to go to the bathroom and cause you to wake up more frequently.
Rooibos: Is naturally caffeine-free and keeps your body’s stress hormone, cortisol, in check. It will soothe and ease nervous tensions, thereby promoting a good night’s rest.
5. Your risk of developing ulcers
Alcohol: Excessive drinking can cause ulcers in the esophagus, acid reflux, and heartburn. You can also get stomach ulcers and inflammation in your stomach lining.
Rooibos: Contains an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plant pigment or flavonoid called Quercetin. It is successfully used to treat various conditions, including peptic ulcers.
“Rooibos tea can be enjoyed by everyone and in many different guises. In fact, people living with existing heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, a history of stroke or high cholesterol are encouraged to drink Rooibos tea as a way to better manage their condition, along with making other lifestyle changes,” says du Toit.
“Swapping alcohol for a cup of Rooibos. Might just be the best New Year’s resolution you can make,” adds du Toit.