A recently completed study at the University of Columbia, found that COVID-19 poses a significant risk to those suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypertension as a result of the additional stress that the respiratory disease places on the heart.
Thus, heart patients are more likely to develop severe symptoms and complications from COVID-19.
In South Africa, which has the highest incidence of hypertension globally, among people aged 50 and older, this is cause for alarm.
People with heart conditions, despite their age, should take better care of their hearts – now more than ever. One such a way is to drink Rooibos.
Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council (SARC) cites a number of studies which underscores the tea’s therapeutic potential.
“More than two decades of research has been conducted by some of the world’s top scientists to better understand how Rooibos can curb heart disease.
“The beneficial effects of Rooibos are largely attributed to its complex mix of antioxidant compounds. Currently, 59 of these have been identified of which aspalathin is one of the most abundant antioxidants. Aspalathin is also unique to Rooibos.
“It’s also Rooibos’ ability to counter inflammation in the body that makes it so potent. Inflammation promotes the growth of cholesterol-rich plaque in one’s arteries, which in turn triggers blood clots – a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes,” she explains.
Based on studies in both humans and rats, Rooibos can protect the heart in the following ways:
- Antioxidants protect against cell damage, thereby reducing inflammation.
- Lowers pro-inflammatory responses and stimulates anti-inflammatory responses.
- Lowers total blood cholesterol levels by 10% with a significant reduction in “bad” LDL- cholesterol levels, while increasing “good” HDL-cholesterol.
- Supresses the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which is responsible for increased blood pressure.
- Reduces cortisol production and counteracts chronic stress and anxiety. Stress, anxiety and depression contribute to heart disease and heighten the risk of it
- Decreases blood glucose levels and increases glucose uptake into heart muscle cells.
Du Toit says being mindful of what we put into our bodies during the lockdown is important if we want to remain healthy.“Rooibos also supports a healthy immune system and can be enjoyed by young and old as it’s caffeine-free and low in tannins.”
For the moment, she says it’s better to drink Rooibos tea as a “whole plant” beverage rather than taking isolated compounds in supplement form.
“Consuming Rooibos tea throughout the day – will ensure a constant supply of antioxidants, which is one of the healthiest ways to stay hydrated.”