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Rooibos elevated to ‘superfood’?

Rooibos tea could be the next anti-ageing superfood, according to research published by French and Brazilian scientists writing in the journal Foods.

Their paper looked at helpful plant compounds in the traditional South African shrub used to make red bush tea.

Although a natural process, ageing can be faster in some people due to free radical damage of body cells, inefficient cell repair, degeneration of brain cells and glycation – where body proteins become saturated with sugars.

These are then made worse by lifestyle factors, such as smoking, excess weight gain and unhealthy diets.

Flavonoids and alkaloid compounds naturally found in rooibos as well as herbs and other plant-based foods have “remarkable therapeutic properties”, the authors said.

Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) says: “Rooibos tea is much loved across Europe due to the fact it is caffeine-free and tastes naturally sweet and aromatic. Now it’s clear that South Africa’s national brew offers a fascinating array of potential health benefits thanks to its rich polyphenol content.”

Rooibos is also thought to have benefits in heart health, reducing cholesterol and immune balance.

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