July 11 marks the launch of National Diabetes Week, highlighting the plight of over 900,000 Australians who suffer from Diabetes, with Type 2 Diabetes thought to be the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia, representing 85 to 90% of all cases of Diabetes.
At an estimated cost to Australia of $3bn per year, doctors and health practitioners are focussing on food consumption and lifestyle factors in their patients’ lives in order to try and delay the onset of the disease or help to turn their patients’ health around. Lifestyle factors such as unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity can contribute to the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
There has been a rise in the understanding of how certain foods influence blood sugar levels and the role that food plays in the lives of people living or at risk of Type 2 diabetes.
A popular tea from South Africa called Rooibos (pronounced Roy-boss) or ‘red tea’, which has long been used to aid digestion, and assists in the regulation of the metabolic system as well as having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, is making inroads in Australia, largely due to these health benefits.
Interest is peaking in recent research around the Rooibos tea from Aspalathus linearis (a shrub found in the Cedarberg mountains of South Africa). It is naturally caffeine free and abundant with antioxidants, which studies have shown to support the immune system supporter and suppress inflammation.
Dr Karen Bridgman, a leading Nutritionist and Naturopath, is calling all Australians living with diabetes to make the switch to red tea. Clinical studies of Rooibos Tea have shown the beverage to have positive effects in influencing blood sugar levels”.
“Rooibos tea also has a naturally sweet taste, which for diabetics is a powerful benefit, as it completely avoids the issue of sugar or artificial sweeteners. It can be consumed iced, or hot, and won’t keep you up late if you drink it at night” said Dr Bridgman.
“Preliminary research has indicated that Rooibos Tea may have a positive effect on people suffering with diabetes, in particular Type 2 Diabetes” says Dr Bridgman.
A study from the University of Copenhagen (University of Copenhagen 2009, May 11. African Tea Offers Promising Treatment For Type-2 Diabetes. ScienceDaily) Type 2 diabetic patients were given a daily dose of 25 ounces of Rooibos Tea. Whilst the researchers initially did not find much of an effect on the blood sugar levels, after four months there was a significant improvement in glucose tolerance. A change in the fatty acid content of the blood was also recorded, indicating that the Rooibos Tea increased the level of healthy fats in the patients’ blood. These were positive changes in a degenerative condition.
“The results of these clinical studies suggest Australians with diabetes may experience positive effects by making the switch to red tea,” said Dr Bridgman.
“Rooibos Tea is renowned for encouraging the production of the powerful antioxidant compound called Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), as well as for its anti-inflammatory properties, helping to turn back the hand of the ageing clock and assist in preventing disease” Dr Bridgman concluded.
For a taste sensation, allow Vital Organic Rooibos Tea to brew for 5 – 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold with a slice of lemon for a bit of extra zing. Rooibos can also be served chilled as part of a refreshing iced tea or mocktail.