In the wake of the rampaging coronavirus pandemic, a group of researchers at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) led by Nathaniel Fagbemi a Professor of Food Science Technology , has recommended the regular consumption of a blend of cocoa-zobo-ginger beverage which has the potential to boost immunity of people against communicable diseases and viruses.
The cocoa-zobo-ginger beverage with high antioxidant potential was developed by the FUTA researchers from blends of Hibiscus sabdariffa (zobo) and ginger blends and natural cocoa powder. The cocoa–zobo–ginger beverage possesses high antioxidant activities and shows potential as a health security beverage that can boost immunity against diseases and viruses.
The researchers say though oxidation reactions are necessary for life especially during respiration, complex electron transfer and incomplete reduction of oxygen can result into generation of highly reactive and damaging reactive oxygen species leading to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been associated with the cause of significant damage to biological molecules such as lipids, proteins, DNA and development of chronic diseases such as cancer, arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorder and weakening of immune system.
They said research has shown that though the human body has physiological defense mechanism, which produces antioxidants to reduce oxidative damage, additional antioxidants may be necessary during severe oxidative stress and for constant maintenance of oxidative balance. Functional beverages that are high in antioxidants like the zobo-ginger-cocoa drink can adequately protect against oxidative stress and boost immunity in case of stress or diseases. They said a better immunity helps to fend off diseases and also improves chances of survival of ill persons. The cocoa-zobo-ginger beverage could be made in cold or hot water extracts making it vital in the hot tropical climate as well as in the cold harmattan seasons obtained in Nigeria. They said its ingredients are easily available and can be made and enjoyed by all strata of the society.
The university has the cocoa-zobo-ginger beverage blends in sachets which has been developed and exhibited in many NUC organised university trade fairs and scientific exhibitions and would be ready to enter into partnership with Government agencies and other interested stakeholders for mass production. The Vice Chancellor, Joseph Fuwape, said FUTA will continue to respond to emerging national and global trends and challenges through relevant researches and product development.