All you need to know about revered rooibos

29 April 2014

A lot has been written about the health benefits of rooibos tea, but is it good for kids too? We speak to dieticians Carla Smith and Robyn Rees to find out what the nutritional value of rooibos is for children from babies to teens.

A lot has been written about the health benefits of rooibos tea, but is it also good for kids? We speak to dieticians Carla Smith and Robyn Rees to find out what the nutritional value of rooibos is for children from babies to teens.

Rooibos for babies

The World Health Organisation and South African department of health recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. But what can you give your older baby to drink?

“Rooibos tea is a better choice than regular tea and cooldrinks as it’s caffeine-free and high in healthy antioxidants that are good for both the immune systems of children and adults,” Rees says.

But she warns that despite its health benefits, rooibos should never be used as a substitute for milk as it doesn’t contain the same nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.

A healthy drink for older kids

Rooibos is a good alternative to sweetened cooldrinks because it hydrates without adding extra calories. You can also dilute fruit juice with cold rooibos tea.

Avoid using sugar when making the tea and add milk only if your child is older than 12 months and not lactose intolerant.

The benefits of rooibos tea

Smith says rooibos increases a child’s energy levels but unlike caffeine it isn’t harmful.

“It can reduce and prevent allergies in young children and adults. It’s also used to boost the immune system; it reduces stress and fights insomnia. It’s also great to use after sport activities to refuel the body.”

She adds that rooibos is also good for ailments such as stomach cramps, restlessness, stress or colic.

“Children who suffer from allergies can drink it as a natural preventative measure. Rooibos is also great for children who struggle to follow healthy sleeping patterns or who are suffering from a sore throat or the common cold,” Smith says.

She recommends no more than three to four cups a day for teens and one cup for smaller children.

- Haseenah Aboo

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