Zobo drink is a popular drink in Nigeria and it is loved by many; this common drink is made with hibiscus flower and it is very nutritious. The many health benefits of zobo include:
- Reducing high blood pressure
- Rich sources of antioxidants
- It treats nausea and fatigue
- It relaxes the body and relieves stress
- It keeps the intestines healthy and aid their functions
- It calms the nerves and muscles
- It reduces cholesterol
- It helps the body absorb iron from meals
- Boost fertility and improve sex drive
- It increases the amount of hemoglobin in the body.
- It fights infections because it is rich in antimicrobial properties
- It improves the flow of bile
- It aids weight loss
- It strengthens the blood vessels and make their walls stronger
Above are some of the health benefits of zobo drink; but why are pregnant and breastfeeding women discouraged from taking this drink?
A study published in the African Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine revealed that when pregnant women take zobo, it increases the risk of them giving to babies with low birth weight. Babies are said to have low weight when they weigh less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, (that is less than 2,500 grams). Low weight babies look smaller than babies of normal weight; their head may be bigger than the rest of the body with little body fat.
Remember that zobo is used in losing weight; this can also affect an unborn child. There are many risks involved in giving birth to a baby with a low weight; they can be born with lots of health problems than babies with normal weight. This can even make them to be placed in the neonatal intensive care unit to gain weight and to treat health problems the babies have.
Some of the health problems that affects low weight babies are respiratory distress syndrome caused by immature lungs, inability to maintain body temperature, low levels of oxygen at birth, infection, bleeding in the brain, difficulty feeding and gaining weight, patent ductus arteriosus (a common heat problem in premature babies), necrotizing enterocolitis (an intestinal problem that premature babies suffer from), eye problems like retinopathy which affects the blood vessels in the eyes and sudden infant death syndrome.
They are prone to some diseases later in life than babies born with a healthy weight. Some of the health conditions babies with low birth weight are at risk of are heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.
It is not even safe for a breastfeeding mother to consume too much zobo; because it decreases the appetite of the woman and make it difficult for her to eat much food. Remember that zobo is used to control weight gain; when this happens the woman is unable to eat much and this affects her nutritional status and that of the baby.
This will affect the baby, even up to his/her puberty level; it can delay puberty which is dangerous to the growth and development of the individual.
Although some women praised zobo for helping them through their pregnancy; this can be true as zobo is used to treat morning sickness, fatigue, weakness and nausea. For those women who need zobo to help them through the disturbing signs and symptoms of pregnancy, the key is to take it in moderation, at least a cup of zobo a day is OK. Don’t go above two cups a day.
I believe if taken in little quantity, it won’t cause problems and it will help you manage the symptoms of pregnancy as some women have attested to. The same applies to breastfeeding mothers; at most two cups of zobo a day is enough, do not go above that.
During the first trimester, care should be taken with the amount of zobo consumed; during this period, it is highly advised not to go above one cup of zobo a day. Also women who want to get pregnant or are on fertility treatment should not take excess zobo because it will reduce the amount of estrogen in the body. It can even prompt menstruation in some women which can lead to miscarriage.
After the first trimester of pregnancy, which is the most delicate period of pregnancy; at most two cups of zobo can be consumed daily because the pregnancy is now established and it will also offer some health benefits to pregnant women.