Against overweight, obesity, impaired blood sugar and overworked liver we have a new ally, rooibos! In fact, this plant from whose leaves a delicious tea is obtained to sip in the evening, since it is theine-free, has been shown to act on the metabolism, to improve the use of glucose by the cells and to protect the liver from damage that sugars and fats can cause. This emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the journal Food and Function by a group of South African scientists from Stellenbosch University (Kotzè Hoerstmann et al, Food and Function, 2022).
Obesity and overweight, risks and remedies
It is estimated that 40% of the world population is overweight and that 15% is in a condition of obesity. The problem with these numbers is that being overweight also brings diseases and increases the long-term risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, depression and cellular degeneration. A healthy and balanced diet, which limits the intake of fats and sugars, and an active lifestyle are the first powerful allies to keep us in shape. Sometimes, however, we need extra help provided by some natural remedies, which have demonstrated an interesting anti-obesity action. Among these remedies we can mention rooibos.
Rooibos, what it is and properties
Rooibos is a bush of the Leguminosae family and its leaves are easily found on the market to make tasty herbal teas, free of theine and rich in beneficial effects. In fact, rooibos provides important antioxidants, especially aspalathin, which is found in high quantities in the green, i.e. non-oxidized, variant of rooibos. Previous studies had already had the opportunity to show that rooibos extracts improve blood sugar and cholesterol and reduce inflammation. The research we are talking about today has deepened these results, allowing us to fully understand the beneficial action of rooibos, even in the case of a lifestyle capable of promoting obesity.
Rooibos against overweight and its effects
The study was carried out in the laboratory on a population of mice. The mice were divided into three groups. The first group was kept as a control and was fed a standard diet, the second group followed a diet capable of promoting obesity with a high sugar content and the third group followed a diet, always capable of increasing the risk of overweight and obesity, high in fat and fructose. Half of the mice in each group were given green rooibos extracts. After three months it emerged that rooibos extracts were beneficial in counteracting part of the effects caused by both diets high in fat and sugar, with greater effects on the liver. In particular, rooibos extracts have counteracted liver damage that can originate from an accumulation of fat and cholesterol. In fact, an excess of lipids and cholesterol from the diet accumulates in the liver and this can lead to an increase in free radicals in the liver, damage and, in the long term, even death of liver cells. Rooibos has been able to avoid this process. Not only that, rooibos has also been able to reduce the condition of fatty liver. In addition, rooibos reduced adipogenesis, which is the mechanism of formation of adipose tissue, and improved insulin sensitivity, while also decreasing fasting blood glucose.
The study demonstrates, once again, that nature always comes to our aid, protecting our health thanks to simple and powerful remedies, such as rooibos, especially in the green version. Green rooibos can be found in herbalist's and specialized shops. The preparation of the infusion is the same as for red rooibos. Bring the water to a boil, then remove it from the heat and wait a minute. Add one teaspoon of rooibos per cup and steep for five minutes. It is important to underline, however, that a good choice is to include rooibos in a healthy and balanced diet and follow an active lifestyle, in order to put in place all the tools to maintain a healthy weight and fight overweight, obesity and their effects.