The first one thousand days of a baby’s life starts with conception and lasts until around the second birthday. This is a time of rapid growth and development during which nutrition plays a critical role. The first one thousand days are the most important time in a babies’ life to ensure they have good health for life. Mothers can influence their babies’ health through what they consume during pregnancy, making good maternal nutrition essential. The body will always put the baby first, meaning that if moms’ diet is suboptimal, her body will sacrifice herself to give the baby the best nutrition. This means that nutrition is not just critical for the baby but also for the mother. All foods and beverages can either help or hinder the developing baby so making well informed nutrition choices will contribute to babies’ overall health, even later in their lifetime.
Rooibos is a staple drink in many households and can be enjoyed in many different ways. It is also completely safe to drink during pregnancy because it does not contain any caffeine. During pregnancy, excessive amounts of caffeine is not safe for mom or baby. Too much caffeine may lead to conditions such as preterm labor, birth defects or low birth weight infants. Iron is an essential micronutrient for mom to consume while she is pregnant as it is important for the baby’s development. Iron needs are much higher during pregnancy for this reason. Tannins are a compound found in many teas, wines, coffees, and chocolates. Tannins are known to block or inhibit iron absorption. Even if mom is consuming enough iron through her diet and supplements, if she has a high intake of tannins, she may be at risk of iron deficiencies. Rooibos tea has a very low amount of tannins compared to other teas. This makes it a great alternative to black or green teas while pregnant.
In addition to being caffeine and tannin free, Rooibos also contains many beneficial compounds. By drinking Rooibos during pregnancy, mom can share these benefits with her baby. Rooibos is copiously rich in antioxidants which protects against damage in the body by free radicals. Free radicals can harm the body and lead to conditions such as diabetes and even cancer. Rooibos also has a unique antioxidant called Aspalathin. Aspalathin fights against inflammation in the body which can lower your risk of heart disease and gives Rooibos the deep red colour it is known for.
After baby is born, it is recommended by the WHO to breastfeed exclusively for six months. This means that breastmilk must be the sole source of nutrition for the first six months of babies’ life. While breastfeeding, much of what mom eats or drinks will pass through the milk to baby. Again, nutrition is particularly important in order to ensure mom is well nourished, so she is able to nourish her baby. Excessive caffeine is still not advised while breastfeeding as it can pass to the baby. Rooibos is also safe to consume while breastfeeding and many of the beneficial properties will be transferred to the baby as well. Breastfeeding moms have to stay hydrated and need up to three or four liters of fluid a day! This is because about eighty eight percent of breastmilk is composed of water. Rooibos can definitely help to keep mom hydrated and healthy, while offering a safe and delicious alternative to water.
Raspberry leaf, peppermint and ginger teas are other herbal teas that are considered safe to drink while pregnant and breastfeeding, if not consumed in excessive amounts. If a mother enjoys Rooibos, however, it is important to note that as researched by the Antioxidant Research Unit at INFRUITEC in Stellenbosch, South Africa, one shot (60ml) of red espresso® Rooibos is the equivalent of drinking 5 cups of green tea, 6 cups of beetroot juice, 10 cups of traditionally-brewed rooibos tea or 20 cups of carrot juice in terms of how many antioxidants it contains.
This is due to the way red espresso® is made: from 100% Rooibos tea leaves. Whole tea leaves are ground which means you get the benefit of the whole plant. By using the whole tea leaves, red espresso® ensures that more of the powerful antioxidants and polyphenols are in the final product.
red espresso® has made it possible to have Rooibos tea as a café-style beverage. This makes it delicious and convenient for coffee lovers to also enjoy these beverages. It is possible to still have quality time with friends while having a red espresso® latte or cappuccino during your pregnancy or while breastfeeding. By opting for a red espresso® beverage, you can cut down on your caffeine intake while introducing all the benefits of Rooibos!
red espresso® is a quality drink that can be enjoyed various ways. For example, hot or cold lattes can be made, depending on mom’s craving and the season. A great way to have red espresso® in the summertime is to make it into an iced tea with a lot of fruit and lemon added to it! This way, it is super refreshing but still low in added sugar since the fruit will lend its’ sweetness to the drink. For some mothers, red espresso® helps keep morning sickness at bay because it has a mild flavour and does not contain any caffeine. The sweet and earthy taste reminds you of the mountains that it is grown in- fresh and organic! Adding a touch of sweetness (such as a date syrup) makes this the perfect early morning pick me up. Another option is adding red espresso® to baked goods - such as Rooibos muffins or pancakes. It lends its herbal flavour to the final product which gives it a unique taste and gorgeous colour.
Pic credit: Meg Lagerway @the_good_gut_guru
red espresso® is a great drink to enjoy while pregnant or breastfeeding. It is low in tannins, contains no caffeine and has a host of beneficial antioxidants that make it both tasty and a healthful drink. In addition to this, the product was developed in such a manner that there are many different ways to have it and everyone can find a style they love.
Disclaimer: The information on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.
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Mia Smith is a consultant dietitian at The Green Dietitian. She specializes in plant based health for people of all ages!
For more information and inspiration follow @miasmith_rd