The new coronavirus is a new virus for us, about which little is known yet. But one thing seems clear, according to the latest scientific research, the major problems both during acute infection and in the months following the infection, the so-called Long Covid, are linked to an excessive increase in pro-inflammatory substances.
Therefore, any approach aimed at controlling inflammation is to be considered useful and beneficial. An active lifestyle, a varied diet that includes a regular intake of fruit and vegetables, are all excellent allies against inflammation. But we can count on one more anti-inflammatory remedy, rooibos tea, which, as suggested by scientists, can be included in a diet aimed at supporting the body in the fight against the new coronavirus and its long-term consequences. This emerges from recent scientific research published in the Journal of Functional Foods by a team from South Africa (Abdul et al, J Funct Foods, 2021).
Inflammation, a problem with many consequences
It is believed that inflammation, but also the increase in free radicals play an important role in the evolution of any new coronavirus infection. In particular, if the body is already weakened by a high level of inflammation and oxidative stress, the probability that the immune response to the infection is unbalanced and excessive increases, causing a more severe course in the event of infection. Not only that, the greater the circulating inflammatory substances, the greater the risk of developing long-term symptoms in what experts call Long Covid. What happens is that after a few months of healing, people can experience symptoms such as fatigue, mental confusion and a rise in blood sugar. It is therefore important to be able to keep inflammation under control, which, in addition to being beneficial for supporting the immune system in the fight against the virus, is also useful for reducing the risk of cellular degeneration, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.
The properties of rooibos tea
Rooibos tea is a drink that is prepared by infusing the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant. The resulting infusion is characterized by a pleasant aroma and interesting anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antidiabetic and cardioprotective properties. Precisely for this beneficial action, scientists have hypothesized that rooibos tea can be included in an anti-inflammatory diet, capable of putting the body in the best conditions to deal with external threats and any long-term consequences.
Rooibos, covid 19 and Long Covid
Researchers have compared the results of previous studies and what has emerged is that rooibos tea can indeed be considered another powerful ally against the damage caused by the new coronavirus. For example, the consumption of rooibos is associated with a decrease in circulating pro-inflammatory substances. Studies have shown that taking rooibos herbal teas is able to decrease the values of tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 6, substances involved in both acute and chronic inflammation. It is believed that this effect is due to aspalatine, an active ingredient in rooibos. But it's not just this. Rooibos tea is also a powerful antioxidant, capable of counteracting oxidative stress. This fact is noteworthy since oxidative stress is precisely the favorable ground for the replication of the virus.
Then, other active ingredients of rooibos, such as quercetin and luteolin, have been shown to counteract the entry of the virus into the cell, thus hindering infection. Finally, rooibos also acts on other conditions that could worsen the course of the disease in case of new coronavirus infection, such as diabetes and diseases of the cardiovascular system. In fact, rooibos, if taken regularly, is protective for the heart and blood vessels, helping to reduce bad cholesterol and blood pressure, increasing good cholesterol and keeping blood sugar levels under control.
Diet and lifestyle help strengthen our defenses and keep inflammation under control that, when out of control, can be really harmful. Rooibos tea, given its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is an ally for our health, also in the fight against the new coronavirus and its long-term effects, the long covid. However, rooibos tea, like any other anti-inflammatory food, does not replace the medicines that are prescribed by doctors or the first preventive measures such as hygiene, distancing and personal protective equipment.