I remember anticipating the closing bell during my secondary school days. There was a woman at the entrance of my school gate who sold zobo, which we all bought and drank. This was my daily routine. Little did I know of all its nutritional and health benefits.
It might interest you to know that zobo leaves probably originated from Africa. It is locally called karkade and the whole plant can be used as a beverage, or the dry calyces can be soaked in water to prepare a colorful drink, or boiled and taken as a hot drink.
The nutritional values of zobo according to Mohamed et al. are 17.8-21% nonedible oil and 20% protein. It is also used in nutriceuticals, pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals. It is widely used for producing jelly, jam, juice, syrup, wine, gelatin, ice creams, cakes, and for coloring and flavoring.
The unique red color and flavor both make it a valuable food product rich in natural nutrients. It is rich in antioxidants, anthocyanins, and vitamin C. The red part of the calyces can be used as a natural coloring agent for preparing drugs, food, and drinks in place of artificial and synthetic coloring agents. The seeds are used for a local delicacy called ‘daddawa’ in the northern part of Nigeria.
Medicinal Benefits of Zobo
Zobo prevent hypertension
- Zobo contains a natural bioactive component called anthocyanins. Anthocyanin is known to benefit the endothelial lining of the circulatory system. Therefore they prevent plaque buildup in arteries and help promote healthy blood pressure.
- Zobo drink contains amylase inhibitors that slow the speed with which a-amylase convert starch to simple sugars and thereby lowers the blood pressure and strengthens the walls of the blood vessels that regulate blood pressure.
Zobo drinks lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- They protect against heart diseases by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, and they enhance capillary strength while inhibiting platelet formation.
It can be used to cure leukemia
- Due to its high polyphenols content, particularly protocatechuic acid, studies show it helps in curing leukemia. It is used in the treatment of leukemia due to its high content of polyphenols. Sepal extract has been used as an effective treatment against leukemia due to its content in polyphenols, particularly protocatechuic.
It promotes kidney functions
- Zobo drinks are recommended for patients with kidney disease and various kidney problems. This drink contains vital bioactive compounds and organic acids that are of great importance to the kidney; they enable the kidney to function effectively. These organic acids are citric acid, acetic acid, tartaric acid, and maleic acid.
- Zobo drinks contain vital compounds that eliminate oxalic acid and uric acid from the kidney. This drink can be taken by people suffering from kidney diseases.
- It also eliminates other wastes from the kidneys to prevent kidney failure and damage.
Zobo help strengthens the immune system
- Zobo drinks are very nutritious and tasty drinks. Regular intake of this drink can tackle nutritional deficiencies and prevent malnutrition. Carotenes, vitamin C, thiamine, calcium, fat, iron, fiber, phosphorous, riboflavin, and niacin are the vital nutrients provided by zobo drinks.
- It strengthens the immune system and improves overall health by boosting the body immunity to diseases and infections, because of the high content of vitamin C it contains, thus helping to reduce fever.
- It improves the functions of various tissues, organs, and systems in the body.
- Due to the high content of vitamin C in zobo drinks, it helps in clearing mucus, soothes cold when taken as a hot tea, and this is helpful in treating cough as well.
It has antibacterial properties
- It fights inflammation and kills bacteria.
- It has a cooling effect that can help reduce high body temperature and relieve fever.
It helps fights against diabetes mellitus
- Zobo drinks do not contain sugar unless added during the preparation. It brings down high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, and it guards against diabetes; thus, diabetic patients can take this drink without any fear or reservation.
Zobo drink aids weight loss
- Zobo drink aids weight loss and maintains a healthy weight. It has a low-fat content, and it contains nutrients that maintain proper weight.
- It also aids digestion
Zobo drink prevents cancer
- One of the amazing health benefits of zobo is the ability to prevent cancer by increasing the levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants fight free radicals which cause oxidative damage and stress which later lead to cancer in the body.
- The antioxidants and anthocyanin present in zobo drinks also boost the immune system and prevent cancer and other chronic and life-threatening diseases by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells in the body. It is advisable not to add any artificial sweetener or sugar.
Regular intake of zobo drinks has so many health benefits and advantages. Moreover, it is available, affordable and refreshing packed with a lot of health benefits. Won’t you rather add it to your menu today?
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