Are you familiar with the refreshing thirst-quencher called zobo drink? Of course as a Nigerian you may have a thing for this sweet, deep red and tart flavored beverage that can be served iced cold or warm. You can see the dried flowers on display in markets especially in the northern part of Nigeria. The zobo drink comes from a part of the hibiscus plant, known as the Roselle Hibiscus native to West Africa well-known as hibiscus tea in other parts of the world.
The origin of the flavorsome zobo drink can be traced to North Africa and Southeast Asia. Unarguably, the plant is now cultivated in many tropical and subtropical climates for local and commercial use.
According to Wikipedia your wonderful zobo plant as a species of Hibiscus can also be used for the production of bast fiber and as an infusion, in which it may be known as carcade. The hibiscus plant is a very economical herb and people around the world use various parts of it as food, food coloring agent, paper, robes, sack, medicine etc.
Personally, it’s safe to say, I have an appetite for this drink, a colleague of mine is even hooked like it’s a prescription drugs. So, if you like this drink or you know a pregnant friend who’s stuck with an unusual addiction to this savory beverage, it should be exciting to read on.
Today’s post promises to explore the possible health benefits or risks of excessive zobo drink (hibiscus tea) consumption both for pregnancy, hypertension and weight management. First, let’s take a close examination at the constituent of the zobo drink. That brings us to the thrilling query.
it might be interesting to know that for every 100g of zobo drink, there’s about 49 calories of energy, 12mg of vitamin C, 960 mg of protein, 1.48 mg of iron just to mention a few.
Aside from the refreshing effect, the zobo drink is packed with loads of macro and micro nutrients including carotene, riboflavin, anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, niacin, calcium and iron. The sweet beverage could be beneficial to your health if you have health issues like high blood pressure, weight management, cholesterol and nutrition.
However, you should not throw caution to the wind and binge off this sweetened revitalizing drink. Too much of anything in your body could not possibly be good for you. Yet, there are controversies following whether zobo drink is okay during pregnancy. As a medical practitioner, I’ve been asked severally if this is true. That brings us to the next mind boggling question.
IS ZOBO DRINK (HIBISCUS TEA) OKAY WHEN PREGNANT?
According to scientific experiments done on rats, reports say that excessive consumption of zobo drink might have an effect on reproduction. Bestowing to the study, there was evidence that the zobo drink plant is an aphrodisiac with estrogen properties and adverse effect on spermatogenesis. This however means that, moderate consumption of zobo drink could help to regulate your hormonal balance. But if you’re trying to get pregnant or if you’re in your first trimester, it’s probably not the best idea to binge on zobo drink.
Allowing your brain to handle hormonal balancing is the best option. But if you’re late in pregnancy or thinking of how to manage your period, you will benefit by relieving hormone related complications.
According to a Ugandan news journal, excessive consumption of zobo drink could potentially harm your pregnancy. The journal maintains that this savory beverage can induce contraction, which could result in a miscarriage or preterm labor especially if you’re in the third trimester. It is not certain how much of it you have to consume for this to occur. Yet, the wisest decision would be moderation or totally avoiding your favorite drink during pregnancy.
WHAT IS ZOBO DRINK (HIBISCUS TEA) GOOD FOR?
On the flip side, as a lady you can smile and say cheerio to the long face days of your menstrual cycle. Your savory beverage can boost your immunity, help you fight against cancer, stabilize your blood pressure, shield your liver, as well as relieve your menstrual pains and cramps.
Did I mention you can prevent complications such as stress, mood swings, overeating, and depression by indirectly regulating your hormone levels? Yes, your zobo drink can do all that for you.
The flavonoids along with carotene are a diverse group of plant chemicals found in almost all fruits and vegetables responsible for the vivid color in your zobo drink have anti-depressant properties. This invariably means that if you are a regular consumer of this beverage as a woman or a man, it can help you calm your nerves. This will ward stress, reduce anxiety and is involved in remedying depression.
Additionally, webmd posits that the fruit acids in zobo drink may work like a laxative. Which means excessive intake might make you purge. Accordingly some researchers think that other compounds in the hibiscus plant might be able to reduce your blood pressure; moderate sugar and fat deposits in your blood; lessen spasms in your stomach, intestines, and uterus; ease swelling; as well as serves as antibiotics to kill bacteria and worms.
Just like any herbal medicament, the exact dosage at which your zobo drink does all these wonders is not stated on the label. Again moderation is the key to avoiding interaction with other medicine you might be using to manage other terminal illnesses.
Additionally, your zobo drink could be compared to anti-hypertensive like hydrochlorothiazide and captopril in property and works like these drugs if not better. So, if you’re already on these drugs you might want to watch your appetite and as it could cause a synergistic interaction that could crash your blood pressure. Secondly, consuming diuretics (water letting agents) in the night is not a good idea.
IS IT OK TO DRINK HIBISCUS TEA DAILY?
Too much zobo drink can’t be possibly good for you. So, how much of it can you drink a day? Well, aside the nutrient, zobo drink is likely to contain aluminum; this is because aluminum is a natural soil constituent which is concentrated in the leaves and flowers.
However, the presence or concentration depends on various factors such as acidity in the ground, method of cultivation, growing conditions, fertilizers and the specie of the hibiscus plant.
According to Michael Greger M.D. FACLM ‘In that case, based on scientific studies and the World Health Organization weekly safety limit, you should not take more than 15 cups or 2 liters of zobo drink a day’, especially if you’re pregnant.
According to Michael, aluminum levels may reach a level twice as high as other herbal tea or antacids. It is no longer news that high levels of aluminum can cause certain diseases like Alzheimer’s. More if your kidneys are not functioning optimally, it wouldn’t be wise to further inflict more harm on your kidneys by giving it more work.
IS ZOBO DRINK (HIBISCUS TEA) POISONOUS?
Considering how useful your favorite beverage can be, could it also be possible that zobo drink is toxic? Well, do not extinguish your appetite just yet. Agreeing with the University Of Arkansas Division Of Agriculture, zobo plants are classified as “toxicity category 4.” This invariably means that the plant and its blossoms are well-thought-out to be nontoxic to humans. So, you can keep using this wonderful beverage to hydrate your body as well as benefit from the wealth of its nutrients.
IS ZOBO DRINK (HIBISCUS TEA) GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Hibiscus tea is also a healthy beverage that can help improve weight loss and boost the immune system. According to Us National Library of medicine research publication in 2014, constituent of your flavorsome beverage can also help inhibit chemicals in your body that store carbohydrates. This means it can help your body regulate metabolism. The research demonstrated that, people who took hibiscus extract had a lower body mass index and also a significant reduction in waist to hip ratio.
Similarly, Stine  Mari who writes for ginger and spice maintain that your zobo drink contain 4 main components which are; organic acids, anthocyanins, polysaccharides, and flavonoids. These chemicals work in synergy to balance your metabolism and make weight loss possible. zobo drink is also packed with anti-inflammatory properties. As mentioned earlier, constituent of your savoury drink can hinder the way your body processes glucose, therefore indirectly curbing weight gain and diabetes.
DOES HIBISCUS INTERACT WITH ANY MEDICATIONS?
Zobo drink might be able to lower your blood pressure, that’s the more reason you should inform your doctor or nurse about your consumption of this beverage especially if you are taking medications used for lowering high blood pressure for example captopril, nefidipine and some diuretics like thiazides. This is partly because while consuming your favorite zobo drink, the last thing on your mind would be crashing your blood and going into hypotension which might even be worse than hypertension.
Secondly, if you are taking any medication to control your blood sugar level, consuming excessive amount of this drink can interact with your enteral and par enteral hypoglycaemic drugs.
Thirdly, due to its estrogen properties, while taking birth control pills, you should be wary of excessive consumption of this savory. This in essence can mess with your menstrual cycle.
Certain medications like quinine or chloroquine, used as antimalarial for treatment of resistant malaria are known to burn and deplete your body’s sugar. Excessive consumption of zobo during such treatment can further drain your calories and maximize side effects associated with the treatment.
Consumption of zobo drink is one way to stay hydrated. The savory beverage contains numerous nutrients that could be beneficial to your body. Naturally, since zobo plant grows from the soil, it’s likely to contain aluminum, higher doses of this metal circulating in your system can cause Alzheimer’s disease so if your kidneys are not functioning well, reducing your daily intake would be a wise idea.
At least 2 liters of zobo drink a day is not toxic to humans, however, due to estrogen properties of this plant. Excessive zobo drink is not recommended during pregnancy or if you’re trying to get pregnant. The savory drink can help you manage your high blood pressure, weight, diabetes, constipation, inflammations, depression and anxiety. Excessive consumption as a man could affect spermatogenesis and therefore could contribute to infertility.
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