MOST of us start the New Year immediately regretting an indulgent festive season of good food and lapsed gym memberships as we try to squeeze into post-Christmas boardshorts or bikinis.
Inevitably we deal with it by coughing up the penalty fee to re-join the gym, resolve to drink six glasses of water a day and cut out just about everything we enjoy eating.
The bad news is that there’s no substitute for exercise – you have to sweat to get into shape. But there’s good news too – healthy eating doesn’t mean flavourless food or expensive supplements.
"What so many people overlook is that instead of resorting to a diet of dry crackers and lugging a bottle of mineral water everywhere or trying imported, often unproven diet supplements, in South Africa we’re lucky to have some amazingly beneficial, affordable and tasty options readily available,” says Professor Jeanine Marnewick of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Rooibos is a case in point. Research has proved that it can help prevent heart disease and cancer, protect the liver, boost the immune system, relieve allergies and treat digestive disorders.
Add to this the fact that it contains no fats or carbohydrates, can be consumed as a hot or cold drink and is a flavour enhancer that can be used in anything from roasts to desserts.
Incredibly, despite South Africa being the only place in the world where it grows, nearly half of what is produced is exported.
Part of the reason may be that many South Africans tend to think of rooibos only as a hot cup of tea, while consumers in other markets drink unfermented rooibos as green tea, use it to make iced teas or even cocktails.
Rooibos is incredibly versatile. So next time you need to rehydrate after a gym session, are planning a day on the beach, entertaining or looking for something healthy for the kids to drink, try one of these rooibos iced teas. Easy rooibos iced tea
Rooibos is a natural thirst quencher and drinking up to six cups a day – hot or cold – will provide a sustained health benefit. Making a simple rooibos iced tea is straightforward. You can then elaborate, adding spices, fruit and fruit juices or combinations depending on your taste.
Make one litre of rooibos tea (four to six teabags)
Sweeten with honey, stirring until dissolved
Leave in the fridge overnight
Serve as is, with mint, lemon, orange or with your favourite fruit juice.
Rooibos carries flavours well, which is why it is a popular ingredient in commercially manufactured iced teas.
You also can adapt this recipe to make a similar drink for children. Simply mix 180ml of honey with 750ml of cooled rooibos and add 500ml of strawberry juice. Slice fresh strawberries into ice-cube trays, top up with water and freeze. Pour the iced tea into glasses and top up with strawberry cubes.
Cold rooibos can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.